Simon's Town is named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony. For over 200 years it has been an important naval base and harbour, first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy. The Roman Rock Lighthouse is a true Simon’s Town landmark and is South Africa’s third oldest; it is the only one built on a rock!
The Martello Tower was built by the British in 1796, it was used as a navigational beacon for ships entering Simon's Bay. The tower was restored in 1972 by the Simon's Town Historical Society and it houses a small museum, The South African Naval Museum, which portrays both British and local naval history.
The Simons Town Museum based in the old governers residence depicts the history of the Simon’s Town community, with an emphasis on the town’s diversity of origins, cultures and religions and also includes a display on Just Nuisance. While The Heritage Museum includes displays of the Muslim coloured community who were forcibly removed during the apartheid era.
Jubilee Square has a statue of Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a great dane dog, the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy, that befriended the Royal Naval sailors during World War 2 and was buried with full military honours. He has become a Simon’s Town mascot.
Boulders Beach is a swimming venue with a difference, this is the beach you share with the African penguins. A couple of hundred metres away is Foxy Beach; it is the main breeding colony of penguins where South Africa National Parks have erected a boardwalk that takes you to within a few meters of the penguins. Both these venues are pay on entry and buying a ticket gives you access to both beaches and the visitor centre. A Guest House in Simon's Town, near the penguin colony, could be noisy at times as the penguins will occasionally wander into the nearby streets.
Seal Island in False Bay is home to over 70,000 Cape Fur Seals, and is a favoured place to view the Great White Shark. Here you can do shark cage diving or just viewing boats leave from Simon’s Town Harbor (seasonal). Boats from the Simon’s Town jetty also cover harbour tours, whale watching, pelagic birding and trips to Cape Point.
Art galleries, book shops, antique shops, curio shops, craftwork and clothing are all found in Simons’ Town. For those staying in Simon's Town Bed and Breakfast, there are numerous great places to eat from Sushi bars to simple fish and chip shops. The waterfront is a small and tasteful centre which boasts an interesting variety of shops.
If your interests include gem stones, take a tour through Mineral World, a gemstone tumbling factory. Gather your own gem stones at the scratch patch and browse through the jewellery at the gift shop.