Simon's Town

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Simon's Town (often incorrectly spelt as "Simonstown") is located at the east side (False Bay side) of the Cape Peninsula near Cape Town, South Africa and is home to the South African Navy.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Follow the Main Road (M4) south from Cape Town via Fish Hoek to the Cape of Good Hope along the east side of the Cape Peninsula.

By train[edit]

There is a regular MetroRail[1] service from Simon's Town to Cape Town via Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Muizenberg, Wynberg and Claremont. Be sure to buy a first-class (metro plus) ticket ; these are not expensive. Although safety on trains has been an issue in the past, in recent times MetroRail has put a lot of effort into improving the situation and now the Cape Town-Simon's Town line is considered totally safe and reliable. It is advisable still however to purchase a MetroRailPlus ticket (1st class). It is a minuscule amount more, the carriages are barely different (graffiti and all) but it is generally considered safer. Avoid using the train if you can after dark. The journey from Cape Town takes just over an hour.

A good option is to buy MetroRail's special "hop on, hop off" tourist ticket. This allows you unlimited travel between Simon's Town and Cape Town for an entire day; you can get off and on at any station. The cost is a very reasonable R30.

The train station is at the north end of Simon's Town, about a 10 minute walk to the centre of Simon's Town. Alternatively you can grab a ride on the back of a Rikki Taxi[2] (see "Getting Around" below).

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is that of Cape Town, a good hour's drive away. You can also go on a trip with Civair[3] from the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town along the Cape Peninsula.

Get around[edit]

Simon's Town is small enough to get around by foot (it takes less than 30 minutes to walk from one side to the other). From the train station to the centre of town is a 10 or 15 minute walk (turn left as you exit the station).

If you really don't feel like walking you can take a "Rikki" taxi. A "Rikki" is a small minibus which usually runs from the train station to Boulders Beach (and beyond if requested). Unlike other minibus taxies, Rikki's do not hoot their horn constantly so you must keep an eye out for them. Their vehicles are unique in that they are obviously a minibus but much smaller in size and painted white (often with an advertisement on the back) and often flash their lights. Also, unlike most other minibus taxis, Rikki's are driven safely and considered safe for tourists.

A Rikki taxi meets every train that arrives at Simon's Town station. It costs R3.00 to go from the station to central Simon's Town and R5.50 to go to Boulders Beach.

Golden Arrow[4] buses travel between Fish Hoek and Simon's Town, going as far as Boulders Beach, Murdoch Valley, Rocklands and Seaforth.

You can also hire bicycles, including motorised and electric assist bicycles to get around and take a trip to cape point or nearby villages.

  • Cycle Cape Point, (60 Saint George's Street, Simon's Town), +27 730 56 6727, [7]. This business is run by Sandy, a friendly British expat who will go out of his way to look after you. From R150 Per Day.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

The Boulders Beach penguin colony is close by.

Penguins[edit]

  • Simon's town is home to a large colony of the endangered African Penguin. The penguins can be seen at a variety beaches along the coast here, the most famous and highest concentration being at Boulders Beach. Access to Boulders Beach and the visitors centre costs R60 for adults, however a smaller number can often be seen for free on the adjacent Seaforth Beach.

Museums[edit]

  • Along the main road through Simon's Town there are a number of museums on the False Bay side, including the Simon's Town Museum, South African Navy Museum and a Toy Museum

Other[edit]

  • Bronze statue of Just Nuisance (a Great Dane and the only dog ever to be enlisted officially in the Royal Navy) in Jubilee Square. Just Nuisance's grave can be found at the top of the hill above the town.

Do[edit][add listing]

Stop in Simon's Town and stroll around the harbour and the little shops along the main road. Then have something to eat, before you leave for Boulders, just outside the town (in the south).

  • Sea Kayak Trips, Town Jetty, +27 (0)82 501-8930, [8]. Take a sea kayak trip to the Penguin colony.  edit
  • Submarine tour, HGTS office at Simon’s Town station, +27 (021) 786 5243, [9]. Explore a navy submarine  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Bertha's, Quayside Centre, Simon's Town Waterfront, +27 (0)21 786-2138. Right on the water's edge overlooking the harbour. As the largest restaurant in town, you should always be able to get a table here without a booking. The menu is similarly large with a good selection of steaks, fish, burgers, salads etc. Has free WiFi, however this can be temperamental.  edit
  • Cafe Pescado, 118 St George's Street, +27 (0)21 786-2272. As with everywhere in this area you can get a great choice of steaks and seafood here, however where they really stand out from the rest of the restaurants in town are the wood fired pizzas available to eat in or take away. Has free WiFi  edit
  • Harbour View, Quayside Centre, Simon's Town Waterfront. Eat inside or out on the balcony overlooking the harbour. They also have a takeaway counter next door and sell a selection of items such as springbok or crocodile pate. Has good free WiFi  edit
  • Just Sushi, Quayside Centre, Simon's Town Waterfront. Best Sushi in Cape Town.  edit
  • Quarterdeck, Jubilee Square, off St George's Street, +27 (0)21 786-3825.  edit
  • Salty Sea Dog, Wharf Road, +27 (0)21 786-1918. Fish and chips fresh from the sea. The kingklip is particularly recommended  edit
  • The Captain's Table, 88 St George's Street.  edit
  • The Meeting Place, 98 St George's Street, +27 (0)21 786-1986. Excellent (but expensive) food, with great views north over False Bay. There is a restaurant/cocktail bar upstairs and a deli/coffee shop downstairs.  edit
  • The Sweetest Thing, 82 St George's Street, +27 (0)21 786-4200. Coffee shop with fantastic cakes and pastries.  edit
  • Tibetan Tea House, Corner of Harington & St George's Streets, +27 (0)21 786-1544. Restaurant and art gallery, with Tibetan food.  edit
  • Saveur, Quayside centre, Simon's Town Waterfront, +27 (0)21 786-1919 (), [10]. Fantastic food with great midweek specials, very popular so booking ahead is recommended. Tuesday night is 1/2 price steaks, Wednesday is 2 for 1 burgers and Thursday is seafood night. Closed Mondays.  edit

The Lord Nelson Hotel offers the elegant Emily's Bar, Hardy's Club Lounge with comfortable couches, and the Trafalgar Sport's Bar with big screen televisions. [11]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Boulders Beach Lodge, 4 Boulders Place, Bellevue Road, Boulders, +27 (0)21 786-1758 (, fax: +27 (0)21 786-1825), [12]. Situated above the world-famous Boulders Beach. Self-catering units also available. From R395 per person.  edit
  • British Hotel Apartments, 90 St George's Street (Main Road), +27 (0)21 786-2214, [13]. Fully equipped self-catering apartments in the centre of Simon's Town.  edit
  • Central Hotel, 96 St George's Street (Main Road), +27 (0)21 786-3775 (). Ideally situated in the centre of Simon's Town.  edit
  • Lord Nelson Inn, 58 St George's Street (Main Road), +27 (0)21 786-3761 (), [14]. Old-fashioned hospitality in a traditional British inn.  edit
  • Simonstown Accommodation, 29 Penguin Drive, Glen Marine, Simons Town, +27 827845675, [15]. Amazing mountain and sea views with secure parking and DSTV.  edit
  • Miller's point. Camping  edit
Jackass Penguins near Seagetaway.
  • OatLands, Froggy Pond, +27 (0)21 786-1410, [16]. Camping  edit
  • Quayside Hotel, Simon's Town Waterfront, Jubilee Square, +27 (0)21 786-3838 (, fax: +27 (0)21 786-2241), [17]. Luxury hotel overlooking the harbour and False Bay. Part of the Relais Hotels group. From R395 per person.  edit
  • Seagetaway, 10 Rocklands Rd, Murdock Valley Simon's Town, +27 (0)82 855-3180 (), [18]. Exclusive Self Catering Cottage. Magnificent sea views. From R800 for the cottage per night sleeps 5.  edit
  • Simon's Town Backpackers, 66 St George's Street (Main Road), +27 (0)21 786-1964 (), [19]. An easy 5-minute walk from the train station. double R 360.  edit
  • TopSail House, 176 St George's Street (Main Road), +27 (0)21 786-5537 (, fax: +27 (0)21 786-5537), [20]. Budget accommodation in an old convent, which has been converted into a delightful guest lodge.  edit
  • Whaleview Manor, +27(21) 786 3291, [21]. Stunning guest house with overlooking False Bay. Friendly and caring staff. Mentioned in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide.  edit

Get out[edit]

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