Simon’s Town – Laid-back living Cape Town’s navy base

Step into an old-worldly, laid-back seaside town with a harbour and naval base when you plan your vacation to Simon’s Town.

Simon’s Town has much to offer visitors and vacationers.

It is home to the South African Navy’s Naval Base and the suburb has a harbour where impressive battleships and even submarines drop anchor.

As a holiday destination, Simon’s Town is a popular choice for couples and families who seek laid-back seaside living.

Simon's Town is laid-back and friendly

Simon’s Town gives holidaymakers a laid-back and friendly welcome. It has a population of fewer than 6 000 people. Holiday accommodation in Simon’s Town is plentiful.

The suburb’s name originated from the Dutch Governor Simon van der Stel, who presided over the Cape Colony in the late 17th century. It is a historic area and has been a naval base and harbour for more than two centuries.

Simon’s Town is the last and southernmost suburb of Cape Town on this eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. It lies in a bay, which forms a natural harbour facing north into False Bay.

It will take about 45 minutes to reach Simon’s Town from Cape Town’s CBD by car. Noordhoek on the Atlantic Ocean side is an easy 20-minute drive from Simon’s Town. Constantia, with its historic wineries, is half an hour’s drive away. Add another 10 minutes to the journey and you will reach Hout Bay on the Atlantic Oceanside.

Simon's Town on the Cape Peninsula

Attractions in Simon's Town

Simon’s Town has much to offer holidaymakers to the Western Cape. Visitors can look forward to a variety of activities and sights. Check out our holiday planning guide and make sure these special spots are on your itinerary:

  • Visit the South African Naval Museum.
  • Take a selfie with Just Nuisance. This statue of this large dog on Jubilee Square is the only dog to ever be enlisted in the Royal Navy.
  • Do not miss Simon’s Town Museum, which preserves all aspects of the history of Simon’s Town community.
  • The African penguin colony at Boulders Beach is a great drawcard for visitors. It forms part of South African National Parks’ Table Mountain National Park.
  • The suburb has many quaint shops and cosy restaurants. There is a craft market every second Saturday of the month at Jubilee Square.
  • The British built the historic Martello Tower at the end of the 18th century. The tower became a navigational beacon for ships entering the harbour. Following its restoration in 1972, it is a provincial heritage site with a small museum.

Activities in Simon's Town

Active people and families on holiday in Simon’s Town will enjoy a myriad of things to do. There are also a handful of good restaurants.

Visit the Scratch Patch to look at their magnificent gemstone collection. Purchase some jewels, play cave golf and indulge the kids as they select semi-precious stone treasures from the outdoor area.

Have lunch at one of the harbour restaurants in Simon’s Town, then visit the penguins at Boulders Beach.

Jog, cycle or stroll along the scenic coastal road. There is a convenient pedestrian path along the road with benches where you can rest along the way.

Play a round of golf at Simon’s Town Country Club. The club started in 1913 and is the only 9-hole club on the Cape Peninsula.

Simon’s Town is home to the Cape Boat and Ski-Boat Club. They have paddle skiing and kayaking facilities for a memorable paddle in False Bay.

Nearby Fish Hoek beach is a great family swimming beach with lifeguards on duty all summer.

For a local experience, take the Metro Rail train during daylight hours to the Kalk Bay station. Stop off for lunch at the iconic Brass Bell restaurant. Browse the quirky shops before heading home to Simon’s Town.

Visit the picturesque Smitswinkel Bay on the coastal drive between Simon’s Town and the Cape Point Nature Reserve. There is no road into the Bay. Park on the coastal drive and take the steep footpath down to the beach.

Scuba diving is popular in the area. Smits reef offers five wrecks of ships deliberately sunk by the Navy in the 1970s.

Go for a swim at Millers Point tidal pool. It has a great waterslide for the kids. Only 5km south of Simon’s Town, it forms part of Table Mountain National Park.

While at Millers Point, have lunch at Black Marlin Seafood Restaurant.

Offshore Sportfishing Charters will help you land a big catch. It is one of the best areas in the world to catch Yellowfin Tuna.

There is plenty to see and do in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve:

  • Visit Cape Point. Take the Flying Dutchman funicular to see where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.
  • There are various short walks and hiking trails around Cape Point.
  • Pack a picnic and visit Bordjiesrif Picnic Site and Tidal Pool.
  • History lovers can visit the Dias Cross and Vasco da Gama Cross. The crosses commemorate the two Portuguese seafarers who were first to explore the Cape.
  • Buffels Beach is one of the five best beaches at Cape Point. It is a beautiful picnic spot and has tidal pools nearby.
  • Dias Beach is at the tip of Cape Point, offset against 200m high cliffs. Access is a 20-minute walk down via a wooden walkway.
  • Walk to the Cape of Good Hope Old Lighthouse from the Reserve’s parking area. It has been there since 1860 to warn ships of the hazardous waters around Cape Point. It offers spectacular views from all directions.

Accommodation in Simon's Town

Simon’s Town has luxury self-catering accommodation options available to suit your needs. Spacious apartments and homes can accommodate couples to large families and groups.

This suburb has all the necessary amenities nearby for easy self-catering.

B&Bs and hotels are also available for short-stay visitors. These would suit guests who do not require much space and the privacy and flexibility afforded by self-catering rentals.

Weather in Simon's Town

In Simon’s Town, the climate is warm and temperate. With an average of 20.0 °C, February is the warmest month. July is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 12.8 °C. Over a year, the temperature averages 16.3 °C. The winter months are much rainier than the summer months with an annual average rainfall of 749 mm.

Sunny days

Simon’s Town as a holiday destination is lovely in summer, from November to February. However, the Cape Peninsula gets a strong South Easter wind which often howls in summer. The sheltered Boulders Beach is a good spot for swimming with penguins on a hot summer’s day. The Indian Ocean seawater is warmer than the icy Atlantic Ocean.

Temperate weather

Autumn, from March to May, is a good time of year for activities such as hiking, biking and exploring. Simon’s Town will not be busy outside of the South African school holidays. March often produces beautiful warm and wind-still days – perfect beach weather.

Moody days

The colder autumn and winter months, from June to August, can be special times in Simon’s Town. The whales come out to calve in the sheltered False Bay. Whale watching is a popular winter month activity. It is also a great time of year to enjoy red wine in front of fireplaces. Simon’s Town is within easy reach of Cape Point Vineyards, where wine tasting is the order of the day.

Time for new life

While it is still cool in springtime, from September to November, penguin babies hatch. Parents usually feed them in the late afternoon. Watch out for nests with fledgelings when visiting Boulders Beach. Spring is glorious because it is flower season. Spring blooms will adorn every open stretch of field.

Escape to Simon's Town

Simon’s Town is a great getaway. It offers a “small-town” type of Cape Town experience. It is still within easy reach of regular Cape Town highlights. But, life is slower in the Deep South.

Discover a place where there are no shopping malls or big-city noise. Enjoy watching the twinkling lights around the beautiful bay at night. Be at peace in this holiday destination with a difference.

If Simon’s Town sounds like your type of vacation destination, Nox Rentals can take care of your self-catering needs: browse and book your accommodation today.

Ready to start planning your trip? Find the answers to your travel-related questions in our handy, one-stop Cape Town holiday planning hub – complete with info-packed guides and resources that will make planning your visit a breeze.