Simons Town at a glance
Simon’s Town, named after one of the early governors of the Cape colony, Simon van der Stel, is a town approximately 40km outside the Cape Town city bowl. Simon’s Town is the home of the South African Navy and is nestled on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula on the False Bay coast. Simon’s Town is a suburb of greater Cape Town and the quaint village is boxed in by majestic mountains and cliffsides that are a hallmark of the Cape coast. With cobble stoned streets that lead you past restored homes and cottages Simon’s town hosts a wondrous array of restaurants, coffee shops and general stores.
St George's street which is arguably the most historic stretch of Simon’s Town boasts 21 building that are over 150 years old. This strip of real estate features the naval museum, a toy museum as well as a local museum. If this is not enough to quench your thirst for history then there is the Church of St Francis which is said to be the oldest Anglican Church in the country, the Dido Valley Cemetery as well as a Mosque that was built in 1926.
Simon’s Town’s harbour is protected from dangerous swells by a breakwater that comprises thousands of sandstone blocks that were quarried out of the adjacent mountainside. Access to Simon’s Town by road can be via the coastal M4 or the inland M6. The alternative route being through Kommetjie using the M65 and M66. Railway transport in and out of Simon’s Town occurs via the Simon’s Town railway station, with Simon’s Town being the terminus of the southern line.
The weather in Simon’s Town is generally mild and rarely experiences temperature extremes. In summer while Cape Town central can experience excessive heat Simon’s Town is cooled by a refreshing onshore breeze, which ranges between moderate to quite strong winds. This south easterly wind is famously known as “The Cape Doctor” In winter the temperatures rarely drop below 12-14 degrees Celsius during rain and on dry days Simon’s Town experiences temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius with clear blue skies. Usually the weather alternates between these two states every 3 or 4 days.
The main attraction of Simon’s Town however are its beautiful beaches. Boulders beach is a great swimming spot and is fairly calm and sheltered. It is also home to an African penguin colony and one can easily frolic in the water in close proximity to these amazing little creatures.
Seaforth beach is a wonderful spot for swimming and snorkeling and is a great spot to picnic with the family. Seaforth beach also has a restaurant available as well as some beautiful shaded spots under trees for those summer afternoons. Fishermans beach is located between the Simon’s Town Golf Course and Boulders beach and offers grassy lawns rather than sand.
The warmer water means that water sports are more popular and one can experience body boarding and kayaking without needing the added insulation of a wetsuit. Glencairn is a brilliant spot during whale watching season and local shark spotters keep visitors aware of any potential shark activity. Glencairn is also quite popular with the kids as there is a tidal pool that offers a close look at marine life. Smitswinkel Bay Beach is perfect for an afternoon of quiet seclusion and is right next to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. This hidden gem offers stunning views of the bay as well as the mountain and is a popular spot for diving, snorkeling and fishing. Water’s Edge Beach is one of the best kept secrets of Simon’s town and lies between Seaforth and Boulders. This beach is a treasure trove for kids as the rock pools host a teeming ecosystem of marine life.
Miller’s point is a fantastic easy-access bay that one can visit. The bay was originally developed as a whaling station in 1825 by Edmund Miller and ceased to operate as such around 1850 when whaling was banned. Miller’s point has been incorporated into Table Mountain National Park and the two deep pools North of Miller’s Point are a good location to do some whale watching.