A January 2003 trip
to South Africa by meadowlark
Quote: Simon's Town is a great base for exploring the Cape Peninsula National Park. The Cape of Good Hope offers great hikes and breath-taking views of the Atlantic while Boulder's Beach offers one the chance to swim with penguins.
Hotel | "The British Hotel Apartments"
* Three bedrooms (two with twin beds and one with a double bed)
* Two bathrooms (one with shower and separate tub, one with huge claw foot tub and shower extension)
* A large open kitchen area
* A dining area
* A loft that housed an office area
* Two sitting rooms with a fireplace and glass windows/doors going out onto our second floor verandah where we could sit out and watch the people on the main street and boats in False Bay.
From the two bedrooms on the second floor there was also access to an inner verandah that looked onto the courtyard in the middle of the building compete with flowers and a fountain.
All the bedding, towels, cutlery, pots and pans, dish soap, etc. was included. A small convenience store just two doors down from the hotel had some basic food items for cooking. For a serious chef, a drive to a real grocery store would be necessary, but for those interested in breakfast and snacking, the convenience store was enough. There are many restaurants nearby and a great French one on the ground floor below the hotel.
The only weird part about this hotel (other than the enormous allotment of space) was that we only saw the owners once and that was by chance. I made the reservations via email and they e-mailed me the security code to get in the building--(in case they were out). When we got there, the key to our flat was in an envelope with my name on it. It was only by chance that we saw someone in the office to drop off the key when we left. There were two mobile numbers to call though, if we had problems.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 6, 2003
British Hotel Apartments
90 St. Georges Street
Simonstown, South Africa 7975
021 786 2214
Restaurant | "The Penguin Point Cafe"
Penguin Point Restaurant
4 Boulders Place
Simon's Town, South Africa 7995
021 786 1758
Attraction | "Cape Point Peninsula National Park"
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Town, South Africa 7975
+27 21 780 9100
Attraction | "Boulders Beach"
The jackass penguins didn't appear to be threatened by humans and do not seem to mind people sitting on the boulders with them for pictures. I wouldn't suggest trying to feed or touch them because they are wild, but you can get reasonable close to see the detail of their scale-like feathers. We saw a couple of people swimming in the waters--(which were quite cold) and others playing in the sand on the small beach.
On the little paved path the underbrush is fenced in with a chain-link fence; through this it is easy to see the nesting penguins, who surprisingly dig holes in the ground for their nests. We even got a glimpse at the white speckled--(possibly just dirt) eggs when a few of the nesting penguins readjusted their sitting in our view.
Boulders Beach is also a nice place to have dinner at the Penguin Point Cafe. When we came back to our car after dinner the penguins were up on the concrete to catch some of the remaining warmth. Boulder's Beach is within a 5-10 minute drive of Simon's Town.
Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony)
4 Boulders Place Simon's Town
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (21) 786 1758
Attraction | "Shopping in Simon's Town"
As you stroll south, the shops are on your right and boats in False Bay are on your left. Many of the buildings along the shopping side of the street are multi-story offering shade from the hot sun while the sea breeze keeps the town cool. The only word of warning is to be sure to use the crosswalk (since the road is windy and traffic is often coming very quickly) and not to walk around at night. You can still see the many private security cars on roads that advertise an "armed response" indicating that at least the locals are aware of the crime risk.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 6, 2003
45 km from Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa 8000