Head out on a day trip along the Cape Point route to historic Simons Town, home of the Boulders Bay penguins, for a day of discovery at the SA Naval Museum. Managed by the SA Navy, the South African Naval Heritage Trust and passionate volunteers, this three story museum is housed in the old Dockyard Magazine/Storehouse on St George’s Street.
Built in 1742, various parts of this building have done time serving as a mast house, sail loft, boat shed, rigging shop, store room and St George’s Church over the years. The church is still there decorated with elaborate military-inspired murals by Joy Collier which beg admiration.
Heavy Machinery and More
The old Boat House contains replicas of the figurehead of HMS Flora, a Royal Navy Cruiser launched in 1893 and displays of military items such as:
- Naval Guns
- an Anti-Submarine Mortar
- Sea Mines
- Mine-sweeping equipment
The Mast house is now filled with a number of small craft, a Westland Wasp Maritime helicopter, and the Fire Brigade display.
Head to the Rigging House to see a life size replica of a ton class minesweeper, a diving exhibit and the inner workings of a submarine’s Ops and Control room. You could also take a tour to board a Daphne Class submarine, the SAS Assegaai- S99.
Bits and Bobs
You could amuse yourself for hours among the hodgepodge of model ships and submarines, navy uniforms, brass bells, naval memorabilia, photographs and paintings found scattered among the large exhibits.
A highlight of the SA Naval Museum is The South African Training Ship ‘General Botha’ collection. This priceless ensemble consists of memorabilia collected by the Old Boys Association who once learned the tricks of their trade on board this old schoolmaster of the seas.
A Rich Heritage
The peaceful waters of Simon’s Town have been first choice for naval pursuits during the stormy season since 1741, when the Dutch East India officially declared that the town would be its winter anchorage. As such, Simon’s Town has always played a major role in the country’s seafaring affairs.
The SA Naval Museum exists solely to preserve and publicise this heritage and is the only one of its kind in Africa. It is located close to the Warrior Toy, Heritage and Simon’s Town Museums and forms part of Simon’s Town’s historic Mile. These historic sites make a great addition to your Simon’s Town itinerary along with the beaches, fishing, kayaking, boat trips and golfing on offer here. The SA Naval Museum is open every day of the week from 10am to 4pm.