Once a term we break away for a weekend. Our cat sitter gets her instructions and off we go. I read about the actress, Ilse Roos, who moved to Cape Town with her family and settled in Simon’s Town. Our family visited Simon’s Town when I was a child and ever since I had a picture of a windswept town in my mind. I could not understand why anyone would even consider living in the town. So off we went to Simon’s Town to explore and to find the reason for living there.
What a surprise it was. The town was named after Simon van der Stel, the Dutch governor of the Cape Colony between 1677 and 1699. The town grew rapidly when it became a Royal Naval Base. Today the locals agree that the best times to visit the town are the early and late winter months. Simon’s Town is one of only a few sea-side towns in S.A. that are north-facing and its bay is sheltered from the strong north-west winds by the Cape Peninsula mountain chain on its northern and western sides.
There are many restaurants, hotels and interesting shops as well as beautiful old buildings. And then there is the Great Dane Nuisance – or a statue of Nuisance, the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He was buried with full military honors when he died in 1944 at the age of seven years. He was a friendly dog and it was certainly not a dog’s life for him, as he was treated to all sorts of treats by the sailors who adored him. He considered that all sailors were his friends. Service men in a different type of uniform were normally ignored by him.
We stayed over at the Simonstown Quayside Hotel, which was an excellent choice, decorated in blue and white. Breakfast was a favourite with all the guests. We enjoyed traditional hake and chips at the harbour restaurant Bertha’s, we strolled through many of the interesting shops and then down to the harbour. We ended a perfect Saturday at the Lighthouse Café Restaurant, a delightful French restaurant. The next morning, after a lovely breakfast, we had a leisurely drive around the amazing coast before we returned home.
I now understand why people want to settle in this town. It is a gem.