Cape Town’s history is always going to be linked to European powers arriving at different times and assuming a role on the bottom of Africa. The English played a major role in the history of the country, but more so in Cape Town. If you head out to Simon’s Town on the false bay, this British style neighbourhood is a great example of Colonial South Africa. Home to the Naval base of South Africa, the most popular penguin colony at Boulders Beach and right by the Cape Point National Park, there is much to see and do in Simon’s Town.
Under Dutch rule in the 17th and 18th Century, Cape town saw very little fighting action. But when the British wanted to try and take the Southern tip of Africa in 1795, the first battle happened not far from Simon’s Town, in Muizenberg. Not long after that, the Cape became a British colony and everything would change going forward. The British took over a small dock that was already erected in Simon’s Town, and over the years grew it to become the naval base of South Africa. Simon’s Town is named after one of the most famous Dutch governors of the Cape, a man called Simon Van Der Stel.
Simon’s Town has a warm and temperate climate. Winter as always will have more rainfall and cloudy days, but the summer days can be long and warm. These long summer days are perfect for exploring some of the local trails in the area or for spending the day at the beach, taking a swim with some African penguins.
Nearly every visitor to Cape Town has an activity right at the top of their to-do list, and that is going to see The Penguins. Simon’s Town is home to the most famous local penguin colony of African penguins. A truly astounding sight to see hundreds of penguins, on a warm sunny beach and not in the snow, Boulders beach is a must-do. There are plenty of great swimming beaches right by the penguin colony, so make sure to pack a costume for a nice refreshingly cold swim (water temperature is generally below 20 degrees centigrade).
Simon’s Town is home to the Naval base of South Africa. This large harbour has served as the Naval base of South Africa since before the country’s actual inception. If visiting the area make sure to stop at the Naval museum of South Africa, there is much to learn and see for visitors and locals. Any dog lovers should visit the museum and learn the “tail” of the most famous dog in Cape Town’s history, “Just nuisance”.
Cape Point National Park is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Cape Town and offers visitors majestic views of the most South-Western point of Africa while giving them a chance to enjoy the local fauna and flora that Cape Town has to offer. Not just a birder’s paradise, wildlife abounds here. Some very famous baboons call this place home; try to avoid consuming snacks and drinks around them as they are known to snatch food from passers-by. You’ll also find ostriches and the largest antelope species found in Africa, the Eland. Keep an eye out for the odd tortoise crossing the road too.
More important to many would be the plants you find in the area. Fynbos is a unique plant and is only really found in Cape Town. These rugged plants have made this area famous for its biodiversity. It is said that there are more species of plants on the foothills of Table Mountain than the entire United Kingdom and viewing them in Cape Point provides vast views of a truly unique landscape.