South Africa's third-oldest settlement, Simon's Town is named after Governor Simon van der Stel, who selected its harbour as a safe alternative to Table Bay during the stormy Cape winters.
The town is amazing! It is 42km from Cape Town, which is accessible by road or train. The Metrorail service is well worth taking as it is one of the world's great suburban train rides, offering a giddying series of beachfront views across False Bay when you can often see whales en route to Simon's Town Victorian station.
This coastal town has a strong historical feel, reflecting its 160-year tenure as Britain's main regional naval base, prior to being handed over to the South African navy in 1957. The concentration of old buildings in Simon's Town is most dense along the so-called Historic Mile - Victorian façades that run along St George's Street. A stop by the quaint bar at the Lord Nelson Inn, built in 1802 is recommended.
But far from being the boozy sailors' hangout one might expect, Simon's Town comes across as oddly subdued and genteel. It is lent a distinct character by its wealth of Victorian architecture and lovely location on the steep slopes of the Cape Peninsula above a string of sandy beaches.
The most famous of these is Boulders Beach 3km south of Simon's Town. It is a picturesque area with a number of large boulders and small sandy coves. This amazing setting is also home to a colony of 3000 Jackass (African) penguins. The small public beach is set apart from the main penguin breeding colony, but that doesn't stop the penguins from sitting on your beach towel or darting around your legs while you take a refreshing dip in the Ocean. It is truely one of a kind, which makes it an amazing destination.
Simon's Town harbour
Bolder’s Beach where you can swim with the Penguins