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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Simon’s Town

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Some of the most attractive mountainside homes with views are in this naval town on the False Bay coast, which offers museums, historical sites and the largest colony of African penguins

Named after Simon van der Stel, Simon’s Town is the last town along the False Bay coastline before one heads through to Cape Point.

“It’s a naval town with lots of maritime history. The main road is lined with shops, museums and restaurants,” says lifelong resident Perry Ann Coon.

The neighbourhood offers visitors and locals diverse entertainment, such as guided walks exploring varied architecture in cobbled lanes, sailing, deep sea diving, kayaking, golfing and bowling.

Maritime museums put the past and present into context, from Simon’s Town’s origin as a naval base, to the current seat of the South African Navy.

For an informal slice of history, stroll around Jubilee Square with its tall palm trees and admire the statue of Able Seaman Just Nuisance, the famous Great Dane who served in World War II.

The yacht basin is a hive of activity at weekends and a favourite destination for holidaymakers who also enjoy the beaches, mountains and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Frolicking southern right whales visit False Bay waters during their calving season in spring, which is now, while nearby Boulders Beach is home to the world’s largest colony of African penguins.

The sheltered bay offered refuge to the Dutch and then the British naval fleets, which over time gave the town with its Victorian-style architecture a unique character which has been carefully preserved, says Seeff agent Eloise Day.

“The extensive Harbour Bay development recently opened with retail stores, restaurants, shops and offices; a medi centre will follow soon,” she says.

The Simon’s Town and nearby Glencairn areas offer a broad range of property to suit different buyers and budgets, with two favoured areas being the central town and the mountainside homes above the dockyard and further north, says Day. 

With the possible exception of the Atlantic seaboard, no other Cape Peninsula suburb, other
than certain Fish Hoek mountainside properties, has such attractive mountainside sites
with such good views. – Seeff Agent Eloise Day Picture: Supplied

“Simonskloof is perhaps most popular, being virtually wind-free. With a possible exception of the Atlantic seaboard, no other Cape Peninsula suburb, other than some Fish Hoek mountainside properties, offers such attractive mountainside sites with such good views.”

According to Day, buyers range from those aiming to downscale to a seaside lifestyle from areas such as the southern suburbs, to those moving from farther within the Western Cape, Gauteng, and even KZN.

Just Nuisance, the naval dog on Jubilee Square, was a Great Dane which befriended sailors during World War II and was buried with military honours. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“We also have a few buyers from overseas looking for investment and lock-up-and-go houses and apartments.”

Prices of apartments range from R850000 to R950000, but Harbour Bay apartments have sold from R1.6m to R6m. Bayview Heights apartments have sold from R1.8m to R3.5m.

“Freehold family houses can still be found for R2.2m, but the average price is R3.5m in both Simon’s Town and Glencairn. However, there are properties priced above this, especially larger properties with stunning views.”

Perry Ann Coon’s favourite places and things to do

“I love the community spirit and being surrounded by some of my favourite spots –
tidal pools, restaurants and beaches.” – Perry Ann Coon
Picture: Supplied

1 Eat

We have a number of lovely restaurants from Glencairn to Simon’s Town with stunning views. Dixies Restaurant and Pub (021 786 2106), is well known for its reasonably priced Sunday lunches. The Harbour Bay Mall is a welcome shopping destination with a few restaurants: Saveur (021 786 1919), One Three Six (021 180 4776) and Cattle Baron (021 712 9905), to name a few. The eateries in the area offer everything from fish and chips (Salty Sea Dog, 021 786 1918) to fine dining (The Lighthouse Café 021 786 9000, Bertha’s 021 786 2138).

2 Beaches

Simon’s Town has the most beautiful and pristine beaches all the way to Cape Point. Boulders Beach must be the most well known and beautiful; it’s sheltered from the south-easterly winds; of course the penguins are the main attraction. 

The popular Bertha’s restaurant is on the waterfront, while a variety of eateries and pubs stretch from Glencairn to Simon’s Town. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

3 Things to do

Simon’s Town offers much from whale watching, Seal Island boat trips, seal and broadnose sevengill shark scuba diving, shark cage diving and kayaking. We have museums, a golf and yacht club, a fishing club and the Scratch Patch Mineral World (021 786 2020), plus some unusual, crafty shops. There is also the iconic Just Nuisance statue on Jubilee Square which pays tribute to the great Dane which befriended sailors during World War II. He was given official rank in the Royal Navy and buried with full military honours. 

4 Maritime Heritage

Ships, boats, yachts, sailors and all things maritime are part of Simon’s Town’s heritage – we even have a dedicated maritime school the Lawhill Maritime Centre at Simon’s Town High (021 786 2106).

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