Simon’s Town is one of the most beautiful places in Cape Town. With its magnificent position perched in a sheltered cove on the edge of False Bay, this charming town is just 40 minutes from the centre of Cape Town en route to Cape Point. And yet you feel as if you have disappeared into another time as you enter the busy harbour streets.
Simon’s Town is one of the oldest towns in the Western Cape. Steeped in shipping history, there is no shortage of fun things to do in close proximity to Tintswalo at Boulders; from museums to sea life, restaurants and the famous penguins right on our doorstep, here are some of our favourite activities and things to do.
Paddle to the Penguins
The penguins of Boulders Beach is one of the top attractions in the whole of Cape Town. With numerous visitors coming to see the famous black and white water birds, one needs to find creative ways to get close to the penguins without the crowds or disrupting their natural habitat.
One such way is by canoe. Jump on one of the canoe expeditions leaving from the Simon’s Town harbour, and enjoy a relaxed paddle around the point and past the penguin colony. This way, you can see the vast numbers of penguins on the beach, from your own private perspective. If you are lucky; some of the penguins might swim out on one of their fishing expeditions, and dart right by the boats.
For a close up view of the penguins, head down to the amazing Boulders Beach just out the front gate of our Villa. Here, you can laze on the sand and enjoy the quirky black and white birds waddling right by you on their way to the water. Watch them hop on the rocks, and slip into the sea on their fishing trips.
It’s worth bringing a set of goggles and jumping in the water with the penguins, giving you an underwater view of their antics as they fly through the water.
Snorkelling in the Kelp Forest
A brilliant way to enjoy the sea is to immerse yourself in the strange and rich underwater world of the kelp forests. Pisces Divers is based in Simon’s Town, and they offer day trips to dive in the kelp forests where you might have the opportunity of seeing various species of sharks that make this coastline famous.
Most of these species are harmless; such as the shy sharks, gully sharks, and cow sharks. There’s also a tiny world of anemones, shrimps, shellfish and many other fish to enjoy. If you don’t enjoy scuba diving, you can simply swim out and snorkel through the kelp that fringes this dramatic coastline.
Jubilee Square is a buzzing little harbour market with all kinds of crafts, souvenirs and trinkets to buy. Travellers can pop by the Little Shops on the Square for more unique African items.
There’s also a great selection of vintage, second-hand and charity stores along the main road, so keep your eyes and ears open for a bargain or ten.
A Fresh Fish Meal
Simon’s Town is famous for its fresh fish. Relax at one of the harbour-side restaurants and enjoy a seafood platter, oysters, prawns or the catch of the day. Stop in at the local favourite Bertha’s as you look out onto the harbour. For classic fish and chips, check out the Salty Sea Dog just across the way in Wharf Street.
If you’re heading towards Cape Point, stop over at the Black Marlin for great views and a relaxing atmosphere as you enjoy some fresh seafood.
Boat Trip into the Bay
False Bay is full of marine life both under and above the water. A boat trip from Simon’s Town harbour is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of this coastline leading out to Cape Point. Massive flocks of black cormorants fly along the coast and settle on the rocks, chirping Oyster Catchers flit between the muscles, swimming penguins dart through the water, and large pods of dolphins surf the coastal swells.
A cruise to Cape Point with Simon’s Town Boat Company offers everything from whales (in season) and exploring ocean caves, to stunning cliff faces and the most spectacular view of Cape Point from offshore.