Simon’s Town

Simon's Town, the beautiful port that sits close to the foot of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, owes its founding to a particular quirk of nature. When the Dutch settled at the Cape of Good Hope in the 1600s to develop a refreshment station for their ships trading with the East Indies, they soon discovered that Table Bay, beneath the shadow of the famous Table Mountain, was a dangerous place in winter. Fierce north winds could drive a sailing ship ashore and wreck it before there was a chance to escape. So the search was on for an anchorage that could provide safe shelter in the winter, not too far from Cape Town. Simon's Bay, with its encircling mountains and protected waters, proved the ideal choice.

And so, from small beginnings in the mid 1700s (a tiny garrison, a bakery, a slaughter house, a carpenter's shop and a smithy) the town grew to be the home of the Royal Navy's South Atlantic Fleet, complete with an Admiral in Admiralty House. During World War 2, Simon's Town dockyard repaired over 300 warships and merchant vessels and played host to thousands of sailors and soldiers who, like those earlier seamen, relished its shelter.

Today, Simon's Town is the home of the South African Navy and still welcomes seafarers and visitors to its beautiful shores. You can visit the town's excellent museums to learn about its history (Nelson called, did you know that?), go and see the penguins at Boulders Beach, take a dip in the azure sea or simply soak up the glorious air. It's a little bit of paradise close to the tip of Africa...