I love ……. Simons Town
Simons Town, a jewel in the Cape. This little picturesque town situated in False Bay, and is a real little jem.
Many years ago we drove through Simons Town on our way to Cape Point, and I did not get to appreciate the town as it was such a quick visit. Then three years ago we spent our annual holiday in this town and I fell in love….
The town is picturesque and as you wander down the main street it is clean and the old buildings well looked after, some of them painted in vibrant colours and each with their own character.
For those who love to shop … there are little shops and lots of bits and bobs for you to buy and some of the shops have a real “South African” flair for the foreign tourists.
Eating out – “Salty Sea Dog” – this is a must! Freshly cooked, good quality, fish and chips without all the airs and graces of a fancy restaurant. It has a small area where you can sit down and eat or you can order take-out. The fish is really good and I tried the very British mushy peas, needless to say, I am now hooked on mushy peas! You haven’t been to Simon’s Town if you don’t visit this little fish and chip shop in the heart of the town.
If you want to go to a slightly more upmarket restaurant, then Bertha’s is good value for money and comes with a view of note as they are situated right on the waterfront. The service and food are really good and this is also a restaurant that you just have to visit. We also frequented this restaurant more than once during our short stay in the town. I loved sitting on the balcony overlooking the bay watching the sun go down with a sundowner or two.
The Naval Base has a museum which you can visit, and you can book for a tour on one of the old submarines the ‘SAS Assegaai’ (for those of you who do not suffer from claustrophobia). We booked the tour in town and not at the museum. The SAS Assegaai is a Daphne Class Submarine, 58m in length. I enjoyed visiting both, although personally, the museum felt a bit like a history lesson. I thoroughly enjoyed the excursion on the submarine though and seeing just how confined space is. It is a real eye-opener how those sailors survived in such confined spaces for months at a time. They had to share beds and take it in turns to sleep. Cupboard space was virtually non-existent so keeping personal items was difficult. This is an excursion you have to go on – it makes you appreciate open spaces.
If you love nature and wildlife – you have to take a meander down to Boulders Beach and view the African Penguin colony. Boulders beach is must visit. The ancient granite boulders protect it from the waves. The beach falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine and is therefore clean and not overcrowded – this does come at a small cost but it is worth every penny. The highlight of visiting Boulders Beach is the little fellas wearing their tuxedos, otherwise known as the African Penguins or Jaskass penguins. These penguins are found all around the South African coastline, but at Boulders beach you can really get to see them up close. The boardwalk takes you along through the dunes and vegetation and is a perfect viewpoint to see the little fellas. This boardwalk is also wheelchair friendly. There is a little curio shop where you can purchase trinkets and keepsakes of your visit to Boulders Beach. In season parking is limited in and around the area, but visiting these little fellas is worth the extra walk.
Just Nuisance … Situated at Jubilee Square there is a bronze statue, overlooking the bay for the famous Great Dane, Just Nuisance, who was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the ranks of the Royal Navy (in peace and in war. His official rank and name was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, and was the only member of senior service, from Admiral down to Seaman to be excused from wearing a cap at any time. I, unfortunately, did not get to see his grave at Klaver Camp, above Simon’s Town, where he was buried with Naval Honours in April 1944.
“He had developed a habit of sunning himself, lying full length, in one of the most-used gangways aboard HMS Neptune. Exasperated members of the crew had to walk around his supine body when going about their duties and, although they were all fond of the dog, their language directed at him was certainly not suitable for the ears of females and young children, or any religious person. The epithets all had one basic theme, with four-letter words comprising most of the complaint. “You so-and-so nuisance, why don’t you …… off?” The epithet was used so often by the seamen, and petty officers too, that soon becomes his generally accepted name. It stayed with him all his days”. Excerpt from Just Nuisance AB by Terence Sisson
Till next time Simon’s Town ……..