Real People Love These Things To Do In Simons Town
Real people. Yes. People like you who love unique villages like Simon’s town. Today, you’ll be surprised to read about all the cool things to do in Simons Town.
Let me get this out of the way: Simon’s Town spelling; We will be using Simon’s Town (correct), Simon’s Town and Simon’s Town. For this article on things to do in Simons Town, we did not use the correct spelling. Forgive us.
A quaint and picturesque town with all the wonders you would expect from an old coastal village. It’s filled with romantic and small charming seasides. And it’s home to one of the most famous penguin colonies in Africa. If history is your thing then you’ll find some cool museums.
The sights, nature, the whales will delight everyone. From takeaway fish & chips to enjoy on the jetty, to a romantic dinner by candlelight, or a picnic lunch.
If you’re staying for the night, weeks or looking for something fun to do start reading things to do in Simons Town.
We are locals. We know the things to do in Simon’s Town that will make your stay an experience etched into a fond memory:
Let’s get going with these famous odd birds……
A Must-See: The Charming Penguins At Simon’s Town’s Boulders Beach
I’ve seen a lot of beaches, but this seashore is my absolute favourite.
It’s located on the Southern African coast of False Bay a few kilometres away. It’s breathtaking. We have been in Cape Town for 15 years. There are many, but this one is my favourite.
At school ends local families hop in their cars and make the drive down to this here. It gets busy in season-especially during the summer months when tourists are flocking left, right and centre to visit those adorable creators up close!
Kids love getting their feet wet with these odd birds
The kids love getting their feet wet with these odd birds as they waddle by us across the sand. Walking, you’ll pass these birds but in the water they are lightning-fast.
Legend has it that an adventurous bird, at the time he was part of the Jackass family – arrived. He was shipwrecked (if there is such a thing for a tired Jackass) after a horrendous journey around the Cape Of Storms. After months, he returned home and told his mate-for-life about the romantic enclave. He said,
“Simon’s Town is a small coastal town. It’s not known for anything in particular, other than its serenity and beautiful seasides”. She said, “Is that all”, He countered, “Well, what more do you want? Civilization?”
A New Home For The Love Birds
One day, these love birds arrived and decided to settle at “The Famous Beach”. She was happy. Lots of food. Warmer waters. It was protected from the wind. And the massive rocks made them feel powerful.
For years, they were two, but then they had an egg! The next year they had more eggs! And before we knew it there were 3000 of them. All living happily at the New Penguin Beach. Everyone loved them. The village became famous for being the home to these delightful little creatures.
A few residents who hate their braying and smell got involved, politicians got onto pedestals boasting about conservation.
And the old man said to his wife, “That’s human life. Or what? Taking credit for our efforts to start a family.” ?
This is a no-brainer – after all, Boulders is the biggest attraction here!
Accommodation To Enjoy These Things To Do In Simons Town
You can stay in various small hotels in the centre of the village. There are also guests houses throughout the village, and self holiday accommodation that is 5 star rated.
The self-catering holiday accommodation is currently at a discount. Well, you don’t have to pay the extra Airbnb fees.
Romantic Beaches In Simon’s Town
“I’m glad we came,” a tourist said as he walked out of the water. “We’ve been having such a time, snorkelling and free diving with the dolphins.” “You mean African penguins?” his wife corrected him. He had wanted to visit Africa but this was much more than he could have dreamed!
True. You’ll read about these “secret” enclaves and romantic seaside spots. The popular Boulders where you can swim with African Penguins. If you are looking for them, then know, they are not limited by walls or fences. Some spillover to Water’s Edge-, Seaforth- and Windmill Beach.
BTW: If body surfing is on your list of things to do in Simons Town then go to Fishermans
Boulders Beach’s Penguins Is A Must!
Boulders is a must. During the season most tourists flock to the paid area and walk on dedicated paths. But at the eastern entrance, you pay to go to the protected little cove. With sunrise and sunset. In particular, sunrise before all the people arrive. During high season go early. I mean early as you’ll find families queuing to claim the spots. Directions from Cape Town.
Water’s Edge Beach In Simon’s Town
Water’s Edge is one of the most undiscovered places in Cape Town. It offers a secluded bay, stunning views and a private time on the lovely sand. I was told that I can’t tell anyone about it.
I thought “How could this be?”. But we made it there (I don’t know, but they found out about it) and we went to Water’s Edge for the first time. We had never seen anything like this before! You see a lot of sea anemones and other interesting sea creatures like mollusks or rock pools. And while you’re at it; explore all the rocks around because who knows what you might find.
Go early morning as the sun rises, with scattered clouds. You’ll see pretty light, the historic home next to the sea, and the palm tree gives it a romantic feel.
One early morning, dark, I sat on a bench near the exit waiting for the sun. My three small dogs shivering. The next thing my hair raised, the dogs growled. They heard the chattering before me.
Suprise. Surprise. An exquisite family of Cape Town otters trotted by. All of us intrigued by each other.
Check out Gay Road 5 Sleeper just behind Water’s Edge.
“Windmill is the place to be! I love it. This hidden gem has everything you could want for a time of fun and exploration.”
Looking for sea creatures amongst the massive boulders.
Snapshot Area Alert
My Snapshot spot since we arrived 15 years ago. I still have memories of the old tree, it died a few years back. The images from walking here daily to taking snapshots. And see locals soak in the salty water, photographic pros and their models. Even weddings. It became like an old friend.
I am a season, morning person and love the rising sun from here and see as the very active launch their kayaks.
During the season, it’s busy on sunny days, but on high peak public holidays it’s packed.
Seaforth Beach Simon’s Town
Seaforth is a popular place to visit. The water is shallow and grassy slopes, which is ideal for families with small kids. People camp with their families.
You need to start early if you want a spot for yourself. Seaforth is a place where penguins are seen. It’s another place to see them – free.
It’s packed from early on by camping families on public holidays and sunny school holidays.
Unique amongst all these a restaurant. Seaforth Restaurant right there,
It is enclosed by green lawns to picnic with friends. Or if you prefer the sound of the ocean but want to feel grass instead of sand then this is your place.
We love to sit on a picnic bench and listen to the sound of seagulls in the distance. The waves looked inviting. Many arriving tourists will head towards it without thinking about anything else other than getting their wet toes. Or doing body surfing.
The locals love it.
Long Beach In Simon’s Town
Long Beach with the picturesque yacht basin and the Naval Base. A popular place for kayakers, and scuba divers. It is behind the train station.
It is perfect for beginner divers because the entry and exit are easy, and it gets protected from windy days. A proper place to spend a day swimming, bathing or snorkelling during a sunny day.
During windy days it’s exposed.
History Of Simon’s Town
I suppose these guys did not really care about things to do in Simons TownThings to do in Simons Town without going on a history walk is not on.
Walking The Historic Mile
Simon’s Town has a long history, going back centuries. A walk up the Historic Mile will show you this history. The old buildings have been preserved as Heritage Sites. The train station was opened in 1890 by Cecil John Rhodes who was then Prime Minister of the Cape. He performed the opening ceremony at the station, and it had bunting all around it.
Start at the station; walk the length of the town’s main street to see and appreciate it. Just past the station look over a stone wall on your left, and you will see Admiralty House. You can also look at the lawn in front of it, which has a ship’s figurehead. Remember to go early at sunrise or sunset for excellent photos. More info on this street.
Great Dane And Able Seaman Just Nuisance
This Dane was born “A Nuisance”. But the true story follows:
Great Dane Able Seaman was born on Thursday, 1st April 1937 in Rondebosch, a suburb in the peninsula of Cape Town. I am not sure being born on April Fools’ Day and being called Just Nuisance is a coincidence or psychic intervention. But I’ll leave that to the historians.
At an early age, pup Nuisance was sold to Benjamin Chaney. He moved here to run the United Services Institute (USI) The USI was frequented mainly by the Royal Navy sailors.
Massive Dog Growling In The Poor Man’s Face
As he grew up; he would follow the navy men when they went for a run-ashore in Cape Town. He soon became well known on the trains and would jump on and off at different stations. When approached by an angry conductor, he showed how serious he was by standing on his hind legs.
He put his huge paws on the conductor’s shoulders and growling in the poor man’s face. After much thought the Navy decided to enlist him into the Royal Navy – now he could legally travel on the train.
He did much to boost the morale of all those involved in fighting the War from the South Atlantic Station. However, he was no angel, as his Conduct Sheet shows. He was guilty of several misdeeds, such as travelling on the train without his free pass. His most serious offence was fighting with the mascots of other Royal Navy vessels.
The Royal Navy had a meeting and decided that it was time to put him to sleep.
On his birthday, the 7th of April 1944, they sent him on his last ride by truck from Simon’s Town Naval Hospital. Up Redhill where his grave is. You can hike the steep Klawer Steps to his grave. Or take a walk to his statute at Jubilee Square.
It has been a naval town for 250 years. The Dutch East India Company built the navy, later the British Royal Navy and finally South Africa’s Navy. It has been a base since 1957 and is still used as one today. And chosen because it is close to Cape Town. There were many shipwrecks in Table Bay during bad winter storms or southwest gales. They needed a safer area for ships. More on history here, and Martello Tower here.
Ghosts Of Simon’s Town
Looking for things to do in Simons Town, I am sure you did not expect ghosts.
It is said that the ghost of Simon’s Town walks the streets. It is a small town, with narrow lanes, and it seems only fitting. The ocean winds howl through its alleyways, and in between buildings. With the gusts strong enough to slam doors shut on their own accord from time to time.
Do believe this? Well, it’s your choice. But I made it. But then again there are people amongst us who do the ghost walk.
Hiking In Simon’s Town
Hiking and walking are the best way to discover all these things to do in Simons Town.
As a tourist in Cape Town you want to explore the outdoors, but don’t know where to start. Well, it’s time to pack your hiking boots. There are many trails for hikers of all levels. There is no need to worry about getting lost or not being able to find a trail. All you need is some footwear and an adventurous spirit!
Visit Just Nuisance’s Grave Via Klawer Steps:
Go hiking up Klawer Steps (others call it Signal School Steps) in Simon’s Town (about 340 steps). It’s one of the amazing views around!
Besides, you can see his grave when you reach the top. (You can also drive there via the beautiful Redhill Road going to Scarborough)
A Dog’s Life Is Short
As you know, a dog’s life is short. But some dogs, like the honourable “Great”, live to become legend – a hero of the canine kind. And just like any other hero worth their weight in gold. The Navy wanted him to have a final resting place befitting such popularity.
Eventually A Sad Goodbye
Sadly, not all heroes are granted the dignity of an honourable gravestone. Even with words written in bold script on it. Our legendary dog was different though: he had his own grave! It is on top of one of the mountain steps called Klawer Steps.
These steep steps lead up to the Navy Signals area; at the time it wasn’t accessible by car back then. They had a cable car. You’ll see it as you puff your way up the very many steep steps built from local granite.
Don’t try it if you have very little fitness. But if you have a little more than nothing, and can carry a camera and water do it as the sun rises. You’ll be surprised by the seascapes, textures and in-season flowers.
Simon’s Town Admiral’s Waterfall Walk
The hike to Admiral’s waterfall can be short and easy or tough. If you start at the Shell Gas Station in town, you’ll walk up a set of steps north of the Shell garage.
Follow that steep road all the way until it ends– where Barnard Street begins! The path to get there is only about 20 minutes long but if taking this route, will be uphill most of that time.
Or take a drive up to the end-of-Barnard street. Find parking when possible (this narrow little road). Then do an easy walk for less than 10 along the footpath to the waterfall.
The ideal time is during winter when the dams are full after lots of rain. Read more at Geocaching.
Swartkop Mountain Hike
If you want to see more views of Simon’s Town, make sure it’s a nice day. The flowers and vegetation are interesting up there. If you’re looking for something new on your hiking trip around Simon’s town this should be at the top of your list!
The hike is not too bad either. I managed with some breaks. Others might need more time due to fitness level/age etc. Don’t forget that winds can get pretty strong here as well.
The seascapes from the peak can’t be beaten! I like that this hike is so close to town, making your experience hassle-free. More.
Simon’s Town, Swartkop To Smitswinkel Hike
If you’re feeling brave, hike from Simon’s town to Smitswinkel. It will take about six hours. It’s uphill pull at the beginning and a steep downhill in the end; just don’t forget your vertigo-friendly shoes! More here.
Beautiful Penguin Board Easy Hike For The Family And Dogs
You can do this easy route. Early morning, after sunrise always; as I like my sunrise photo opportunities.
I do it from the west of town. I walk either through town, grab a coffee, go east, and turn left into Martello Road towards the sea. Then cross the soccer field, keeping left until past the Maritime Technology building on the left.
You’ll enter via Seaforth. On the left, you’ll see penguins and the cool beach. Keep to the front of the restaurant.
Now cross a few boulders, look out for the rings in the rocks where unfortunate whales must have been pulled to shore.
Continue to Water’s Edge. Here are various birds, infrequent otters, and the pretty setting as the sun rises. At the western end, pass through the little gate. Turn left at the next gate, and you are onto the boardwalk.
Walk past many penguins and Boulders. You’ll love it. At the end of the parking, keep towards the left (sea) and go through another little gate. Here you’ll see many more next to you – for free. Beautiful stretch until you get to the boulders at Windmill.
Spend time at Windmill or hike further west, under the golf course, to Fisherman’s. And if you are still “reading”, walk to the Black Marlin restaurant. Or push one to Cape Of Good Hope. But phone someone to come and fetch you, as you walked way too far.
All jokes aside; the walk is pretty and mostly flat with photo opportunities along the way. And will cost nothing.
Golfing in Simon’s Town
The golf course in Simon’s Town was founded back in 1913 and is only a 9 hole course.
The golf club has some of the friendliest staff. It is a very small course. It doesn’t take long to get around. But even with its size, it has all the makings for an enjoyable time at golf.
Probably my favourite part of this links-style golfing experience is the view from every tee that range between mountains. It’s a nice way to get those pesky blind shots out of your system! The greens might be small (and some difficult) but they have natural slopes towards the water which I find interesting as well.
Address: McFarlane Rd, Simon’s Town, 7975 more.
Kids Things To In Simon’s Town
Take The Kids To Boulders Penguin Colony
I’m going to tell you about a unique place to go with your family. It’s called Boulders Penguin Colony in Simon’s Town, and it’s one of the most popular places in the world for penguin lovers!
You’ll get to see hundreds in their natural habitat. But that’s not all…you can also walk the beautiful boardwalk that leads right into the colony. This is an experience you won’t want to miss out on! So what are you waiting for? Get your shoes on and come explore this amazing destination with me today!
South African Naval Museum
The Naval Museum Simon’s Town is an amazing place where you can learn about the history of sailing and the navy.
Did you know that in 1852, there was only one warship in Cape Town harbour? And now we have over 20 ships! Find out more about this interesting maritime collection at their website now.
Simon’s Town Beaches
Most sea areas are kids friendly; with Fisherman’s the only one with waves. No real currents. And lovely places for kids to have fun. See Simon’s Town Beaches here.
Dog Just Nuisance Is A Story Any Kid Would Love
Yes, a story any kid would love. It’s about a dog named Just Nuisance, who was just as much of a nuisance as his name suggests. He loved to play with sailors. His favourite thing in all the world was riding the train!
But the train was not for dogs. That’s why he became an “Able Seaman”. The title allowing him to be part of the navy. And no train conductor could kick him off. More.
Ideal Walk About For Kids Jubilee Square & Jetty, Simon’s Town
This place is a famous square and pier in Simon’s Town. It has many interesting things, including the statue of Just Nuisance, African curio sellers, restaurants and more.
It also has the departure point for various adventure tours; whale watching, kayaking to the penguins, water bicycles and shark diving within False Bay. Many kids would fish from the pier. This place is for everyone.
Warrior Toy Museum For The Young At Heart
I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. It was like stepping into a whole other world for just an hour or two. And a would that one that my friends and family never could have prepared me for. When we walked in, Percy himself came up to greet us with such energy!
I wasn’t expecting the Warrior Toy Museum to be as incredible as it is – 4000 model cars? 500 dolls? A miniature house village? There are enough things here to keep you entertained long.
Play In The Mineral Garden At Scratch Patch & Mineral World
Scratch Patch & Mineral World are the perfect destination for family fun. The kids will love seeing all the beautiful gemstones, and parents can take a break from shopping to relax in this kid-friendly area!
There is something here for everyone. Inexpensive but nice gifts, even genuine collector’s pieces. Not only does it offer an incredible variety of to play and buy some gems.
Hiking In Simon’s Town For Kids
If you have not read the hiking options in Simon’s Town then read it now. The hike to his grave is tough but rewarding. And the free walk, on the boardwalk past Boulders, is ideal as it’s flat. With False Bay’s blue water and seeing the penguins from close make it a fun walk. You should take the walk all the way to Windmill.
Restaurants in Simon’s Town
The restaurant options in Simon’s Town can be anything from fish and chips to gourmet food. Or go for romantic settings for couples. But beware of the “busloads of tourist” restaurants. For an in-depth write up to read this article.
AdventurActivities & Water Activities In Simon’s Town
With water and mountains dominating Simonstown the list of things to do in Simons Town are endless. But let’s share a few.
Scenic Boulders Beach Penguin Boat Tour
Embark on a 75 minutes boat trip from Simon’s Town and travel around the naval base.
Enjoy snacks and refreshments on board while exploring Boulders, home of African Penguins who are known for their diving skills in cold water. Admire groups as they swim around the boat. Then circling Ark Rock which is home to numerous Cape Fur Seals as well as Cormorants.
Return via Roman Rock Lighthouse.
Adventures Shark Cage Dive & Tour From Simon’s Town
This half-day tour, just outside Cape Town. It allows you to see a variety of shark species throughout the year according to the seasons and other factors. Venture out on Seal Island or Cape Point in order to admire seven-gill cow sharks, blue sharks, and great white ones as well! The location will be determined by where there are more opportunities for viewing these fascinating animals. Make sure your camera is charged up before embarking upon this journey! The tour guides are just well-informed.
Water Biking Tour In Simon’s Town
On this tour, you will often encounter playful Cape fur seals, penguins. other marine life and various seabirds along the way. During whale season, it is possible to come into contact with one of these magnificent mammals. They can be found in all but two countries on Earth!
Simon’s Town Boat Company For Adventure Boat Tours
Simon’s Town Boat Company is the only boat operato1994, anded for whale and dolphin watching in Simon’s Town. All of the skippers have tremendous local knowledge, having spent a lifetime at sea! They offer safe, wheelchair friendly boarding with 100% safety record to help you experience the wonder that lies beneath these calm waters.
“Simon’s Town Boat Co. Inc has been operating since 1994. They are still going strong because of passion. They adhere to stringent permit requirements. These ensure that this tour will be personal as well as exclusive. And you’ll be left with happy memories. Meet Dave you’ll know you have met a professional guide. He is a passionate owner.
The bay is home to a fascinating community of animals that changes with the seasons. All-year-round.
These are just some common sightings!
On a few very rare occasions, killer whales turn the tables
On a few very rare occasions, killer whales turn the tables on their prey and become hunters themselves. The hunting is often done during dolphin feeding time. These unfortunate dolphins are eaten down to the bone in seconds by the powerful jaws of these magnificent mammals!
In winter when all the tourists are hiding the whales arrive;
….gentle northerly winds bring cool, clear water and the bay can be so calm it becomes a lake. This is also the season during which seal pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and must find food for themselves on Seal Island.
In summer these same seals may migrate back out into False Bay. The Southern Right & Humpback whales come looking for some fishy snacks or mates in these waters too!
These whales have had quite an amazing story behind them – but not always one at all as happy as this might sound like.
After centuries of whaling, scientists were able to introduce legislation during the 1930s which saved whales from extinction. These local whales are one of the largest and most successful populations in the world. False Bay is a thriving & secure haven for these marine mammals. It has become recognised by whale fundis around the globe as an excellent spot to see them up close!
If there’s one thing you must pay to do in Simon’s Town then do these tours.
Save With The Cape Town City Pass
This is a general recommendation when looking for things to do in Simons Town.
The Cape Town City Pass is a clever way to see Cape Town in no time.
For example, you can do a 3-day pass and get “everything” included. You will be able to take various hop one-hop off bus routes. These routes cover the entire city for complete exploration of Cape Town. Or head up Table Mountain with just a cable car ride from your hotel! Additionally, there are discounts at restaurants and attractions as well as many other perks come along with this incredible deal.
Road Trips In And Around Simon’s Town
I will do you no good if I don’t include, at least one road trip amongst this list of things to do in Simons Town.
Get the family in the car and drive south-east towards Cape of Good Hope. Go past homes like these 8 sleeper home.
Take it slow. Stop for a picnic and grab a photo.
Then enter at the gate and see the wild animals. Be aware of the baboons. This is at least an 8-hour experience.
Or continue to hippie Scarborough. Here you can go for a swim. Or continue to Misty Cliffs for more surfers and whales. Beautiful. And then continue along the coast to Surfers paradise and crayfish at Kommetjie.
On your way north stop at Imhoff Farm for coffee, fresh produce or wine.
Get going to Noordhoek; visit the farm village and buy ice cream, or go towards the sea or a pub to grab some beer.
Get a taxi home. Or do Chapman’s Peak.
This trip will take you as long as you have. Days. Weeks. You don’t have to start where I start. You can and should also go over Rehill Pass to Scarborough. The views will make you a romantic.
Cape Point & Boulders Beach Full-Day Tour
See one tip of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Of Good Hope Lighthouse – you’ll be able to see the beautiful lighthouse along this tour.
Stop at Boulders. And in town, marvel at historic buildings dating back to the 1700s in Simon’s Town. Just walk around town or enjoy stunning scenic views from a range of points with photo stops for pictures.
All these places are well worth spending time learning about as they each have their own unique qualities that make them special! I highly recommend doing this tour because it will give you so much information on everything surrounding the wild area while being fun too!
This tour is ideal for people staying towards Cape Town central.
Shopping In Simon’s Town
Simon’s Town is a quaint place to go shopping with your friends. You’ll find everything from clothing and art galleries to cafés, gardens, and even museums. The shops are quaint, with all kinds of odds and ends, curios, to modern new malls.
The new Harbour Bay is convenient with many retail shops, like Woolworths and Pick Pay. A liquor store and others are Blue Door Coffee and nice restaurants.
Question About Things To Do Simons Town
A question for you!
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