Simon's Town - Home of the Penguin

Simon's Town is one of the cutest towns on the Cape Peninsula. And there is quite a lot to do too!

Simon's Town - Home of the Penguin

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by MiriamMannak on November 9, 2005

One of the highlights of the Cape Peninsula is definitely Simon's Town. This cute seaside town, once upon a time one the most important Naval base in South Africa, boasts many attractions: The penguin colony of Boulders Beach, the monument of Just Nuissance, the harbor and of course - just down the road Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope and the surrounding Nature Reserve.${QuickSuggestions} In Simon's Town, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve which embraces Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope, is just a 30 minute drive away. While most people only visit Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope, the reserve is absolutely worth it. For one thing for the stunning and practically deserted beaches; a great place for a (skinny?) dip. From Simon's Town, you can drive there yourself or book a Rikki taxi. Don't forget the monument of Just Nuissance on Jubilee Square!${BestWay}

The best way to get to Simon's Town is hiring a car. You can also take the train from Cape Town. The penguins are in walking distance from the station.

From Simon's Town, there is a special taxi service - the rikki taxi - that shuttles between Simon's Town and Cape Point. A Rikki is a great way to get around, reliable and cheap too!

Topsail House

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by MiriamMannak on November 21, 2005

If you want to go to Simon's Town, and you want to go budget, then Topsail House is your best bet. This travelers lodge in between Boulders Beach and the town's harbour used to be a convent which was completely revamped by its owners.
The rooms are clean, the surroundings beautiful (except for the extremely ugly naval base building across the road), and the hosts most friendly.
Want to make your stay special? For R350, you can spend the night in which was once the chapel, which was revamped into a so-called honeymoon suite.
Topsail House
176 St. Georges Street
Simons Town, South Africa, 7995
+27 21 786-5537

Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by MiriamMannak on November 10, 2005

In the 15th century the Portuguese, who were the first Europeans to sail along what we now know as Cape of Good Hope, called her Cabo Tormentosa (Cape of Storms) or Cabo de Bon Esperanza (Cape of Good Hope), simply because sailing along Cape of Good Hope without getting into trouble was a mission from hell.
The Dutch, who arrived more than a century later, probably agreed with the Portuguese, as they called the "fairest cape" Kaap de Goede Hoop. And the British? They must have felt the same.
A visit to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point (yes, there are two Capes) is almost mandatory when you are in Cape Town. But please don't skip Cape of Good Hope National Park. This beautiful nature reserve boasts plenty of possibilities to spend the day: hiking, walking, beach walks, and of course, swimming. The beaches are unspoilt, whiter than white and deserted. Between September and December, Southern Right Whales are a regular sight.
The nature reserve is home to several animal species, amongst a few troops of baboons. Be careful, tough: These animals have sharp teeth, even the little ones. Plus, they tend to be quite protective and assertive. Don't feed them, don't touch them, don't try to cuddle them, and don't piss them off in any kind of way. Just take some pictures and let them be.
Those who hope to see the romantic place where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet... sorry. For that, you need to go to Cape Agulhas, which is a 3-hour drive up the coast. The reason why False Bay is slightly warmer than the other side of the Peninsula has to do with the fact that the warm Indian waters flow farther than Agulhas and mix with the cold Atlantic. ENTRANCE FEE: R35 per person
Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope
Cape Peninsula / South Africa
Simons Town, South Africa

A Tribute to Just Nuisance

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by MiriamMannak on December 22, 2005

One of the most unique and heartwarming monuments I have seen in Cape Town so far stands on Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town, overlooking the harbor. It is a bronze tribute to Just Nuisance, probably one of the most loved dogs in South Africa. Seeing the live size bronze statue of the beloved Great Dane and reading about this apparently wonderful dog, the lump in my throat grew bigger. It is a feel-good story, but also a sad one. Here it goes.

Just Nuisance moved with his owner to Simon’s Town for career purposes. Here, this Great Dane, which had another unknown name, was introduced into the world of sailors. Simon’s Town was, and still is, a very important navy base in South Africa. The dog made a lot of friends at the harbor, especially amongst the sailors, and soon the harbor of Simon’s Town was the dog’s second home.

The story goes that the Dane got it’s name because he:
a. followed the sailors, who used to feed him and give him treats, everywhere they went and b. because of his size. Great Danes are enormous dogs, and as most dogs do, he often obstructed the way--quite a "nuisance" for the sailors working in the harbor or on the ships.

Everywhere the sailors went, Just Nuisance went, even on the train to Cape Town. Contrary to many of the passengers, the train conductors weren’t keen on the presence of the four-legged traveler: as many dogs, Just Nuisance preferred to spend his time on the train sleeping on the benches and couches. They even asked the Royal Navy to put him down. To prevent their beloved dog from being hurt, the Royal Navy enlisted Just Nuisance in 1939 so he could travel the train, as he got a free pass.

Just Nuisance’s career in the navy was cut short after he was involved in a traffic accident in 1944. Soon after, Just Nuisance was discharged from the army, and on his seventh birthday on April 1, 1944, the beloved Great Dane was put to sleep. To honor Just Nuisance, he was buried with full military honours at Klaver Camp on top of Red Hill, which included a firing party of Royal Marines and a lone Bugler.

Tribute to Just Nuisance
Jubilee Square
Simons Town, South Africa

The Penguins of Boulder's Beach

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by MiriamMannak on January 6, 2006

One of the highlights of the Cape Peninsula is the penguins of Boulders Beach, close to Simon's Town. I have been to Boulders on a couple of occasions now, but every time these black 'n white creatures manage to capture my full attention.

Surrounded by massive boulders (what is in a name?), Boulders Beach is a safe haven to a colony of over than 3,000 African penguins. The colony is doing fine and slightly growing, which makes the penguin population at Simon's Town unique: most other colonies along the African coast are declining because of for instance over fishing and oil spills.

In 2000 the MV Treasure sank 8km off Table Bay. More than 1300 tons of fuel leaked into the water, causing the world’s worst crisis for coastal birds. The oil affected thousands of African penguins on Dassen and Robben Island and threatened still tens of thousands more, including the colony of Boulder’s Beach. Six years before this tragedy, almost 10 000 African penguins near Cape Town were oiled after the Apollo Sea sank near Dassen Island.

The pictures of these poor birds, covered in a thick, sticky layer of oil are simply heart breaking. The problem isn’t only the large oil spills due to accidents: many ships cause small oil spills as well, for instance when cleaning the engines. Every year the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds treats a few hundred oil-affected penguins per year.

My favourite thing to do in Boulder's beach is to sit on a rock and - without disturbing - watch these little critter swim and waggle by, in their own clumsy but oh so cute way. Something that is still on the agenda is swimming with the penguins. In summer, a restricted number of people is allowed to use the beach for leisure purposes. To me, swimming with penguins seems almost just as fun as swimming with dolphins.
Boulders Beach (Penguin Colony)
4 Boulders Place Simon's Town
Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (21) 786 1758

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