It’s true- we have a such a soft spot for this seaside town along the False Bay coastline. This was the place we chose to have our engagement shoot five years ago just before getting married. Once you lay eyes on the white sand beaches, clear blue ocean and mountains flanking the colorful town with it’s Victorian-style buildings; you’ll totally understand why.
Often spelled ‘simonstown’, named after the Cape Colony’s early governor Simon van der Stel and the naval base for the South African Navy ( once for the Royal Navy), Simon’s Town is the perfect place to enjoy the delights of the sea, memories of old and as a gateway to explore Cape Point Nature Reserve and Boulder’s Beach. Here’s just a few things we love about Simonstown:
1. Long Beach
In Cape Town we are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, but not all beaches have water as blue or as clear as Long Beach. Great for families and with some of the most magnificent views over the harbour, naval ships and mountains behind, it’s a spot you can’t miss. Pack a picnic, take your loved one and show up on a warm, calm day. There’s a reason why dive schools have set up right here, because of the clear waters, abundance of marine life hidden just below the surface and great visibility on the good days.
2. Aha Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel.
You can’t really find a bed closer to the harbour and the ocean if you tried. We overnighted here for our fifth wedding anniversary and woke up to views of the kayaks leaving on morning excursions with tourists, sailors heading out into the bay and seagulls on our balcony.
There is no better place to base yourself if you want to explore Simonstown and surrounds. Jubilee Square, the town’s restaurants, the harbour and ocean are all a hop, skip and a few steps below. Their rooms have been beautifully redone ( in one of my favourite colour schemes no less) and our seaview room with a balcony was the perfect place for a romantic getaway sans our toddler. To enquire about rooms, visit Aha Simon’s Town Quayside hotel.
Breakfast was served downstairs at the Saveur Restaurant, also boasting the best seaviews, lovely fry-up breakfasts and delicious options for romantic candlelit dinners. Outside is a kid’s play area and jungle gym perfect for those families visiting for breakfast and lunch.
3. Jubilee Square.
This is the central hub of the town, still known as the market square where farmers once came to sell the products around 1880, where celebrations for George IV’s Silver Jubilee ( where it got it’s name) took place in 1937 and where each school from Simontown planted a palm tree in celebration.
Today you will still find the palm trees standing strong in the wind, ample paid parking, splendid views of the bay and the statue of naval hero. Just Nuisance; the great dane and only dog to ever be enlisted in the Royal Navy who was buried with full military honours. Visit their fortnightly market from 9:30-3pm where you can find foods, decor and a pet pub.
4. Salty Sea Dog and The Sweetest Thing Patisserie.
You can’t go to Simonstown and not have a good dose of fish and chips. Salty sea dog is that place. Footsteps from the jetty and nearly always busy, grab your takeaway package or sit down for some of the best fish and chips; in true Cape Town Style.
Internationally and locally known for it’s superb quality pastries, pies and cakes, do pop by for lunch or something sweet. Sit inside or at one of their tables outside. Stroll along this road and find charming little coffee shops and other restaurants to dine at while in town. I Love Waffles has also recently opened up on the quay and has a little kid’s play area for the parents coming out with their kids.
5. Boulders Beach
A short drive from Simon’s Town, this is a beach almost every Cape Town visitor comes too. Definitely for the African penguins who happen to be the cutest fellows around, but also for the lovely, little beach wrapped up between giant boulders. You will have to pay a fee to get onto the beach as it is part of the penguin colony ( free with a wild card). Bask in the sun beside the penguins, but just don’t touch them as they can bite.
6. Ocean Hub.
From Simon’s town harbour you can choose from a plethora of beach activities such as SUPPing, ocean kayaking and harbor boat cruises. So you can choose how adventurous you’d like to be and what the weather looks like before booking your activity of choice.
7. Shop and stroll.
The Victorian-style buildings hold antique clothing boutiques, second-hand furniture shops, art-deco coffee shops and ice-cream parlours. So instead of just visiting the Simonstown Navy Museum, take your time browsing these little shops, most of which have been here for ages. Definitely put the Simon’s Town Heritage Museum on your list and discover the history of the Cape Malay Muslim population of the town before their forced removal when it was declared a ‘white’s only’ area during South Africa’s apartheid years.
What do you love about Simon’s Town?
Thank you to Aha Simon’s Town Quayside Hotel for collaborating with us on this post.