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Five Fabulous Days in Simon’s Town
contributed by Sue Sturnam

Day one - Tuesday 24 th August Our first day in Simon's Town started with a great surprise! As we rounded the corner approaching the town, we saw two whales and a calf cavorting in the bay just off the rocks. We had a grandstand view and watched their antics for a long while. What a welcome!! The tourist office had booked us into a comfortable B&B with stunning views across the bay. The kids could not wait to meet the penguins, so we rushed along to Seaforth and down the boardwalk at Foxy Beach - where we saw a vast array of African Penguins -swimming, diving, waddling around and sitting on nests. They are also called Jackass Penguins - not surprising as they sound like an army of braying donkeys. The ranger told us that in the summer people swim in among the penguins at nearby Boulders Beach - a sheltered cove set amongst the towering rocks. A great day which ended with sunset and fish and chips on the jetty. aboard an old ship moored in the harbour. Another varied but tiring day.

Day two - Wednesday 25 th
We rose early to join a cruise across the bay to Seal Island - these Cape Fur Seals take up every inch of the rocky island. We all got a tremendous shock when two Great White sharks leapt high up almost out of the sea chasing seals - their favourite snack. As an added bonus on the return journey we were lucky enough to see four whales fairly close up. The wind was rising and we were glad to get back to dry land.
For centuries Simon's Town
has been a safe haven for ships in stormy weather. We visited the Naval Museum, which has fine exhibits recalling this maritime tradition. The kids had fun on the mock-up "submarine". The day ended with an excellent meal offer.

Day three Thursday 26 th
This is the day we met Just
Nuisance, the famous Great
Dane. His statue has pride of place in Jubilee Square
overlooking the yacht basin and waterfront area. Just Nuisance was adopted as a mascot by the Royal Navy during the second world war - he became an Able Seaman. Many a tipsy
sailor was guided back to his ship by this clever dog. Every April scores of Great Danes march through the town to celebrate his birthday. We visited the town Museum which has many exhibits on the history of the town and its
people. There are a number of mementoes of Just Nuisance's Naval career. A delightful hour was spent watching the yachts
and naval craft from the patio of the yacht club while enjoying a delicious light lunch. Someone told us to hurry down to Long Beach for a special event - when we got there we were surprised by a naval exercise - an exciting
mock battle demonstration. After having a very full day we returned to our B&B on the mountainside and enjoyed the panoramic sea
views while sipping sundowners with our friendly hosts.

Day four - Friday 27 th
Today the younger members of the family were allowed to choose the day's programme. This meant
that hours were spent in the Toy Museum. While mom
stood duty here the older boy managed to complete a round on Simon's Town's picturesque Golf course. The range of model cars,
lorries and trains is amazing as is the railway track layout. We only
managed to drag the kids out of there by promising to move on to the local gemstone factory. After
watching gemstones being cut and polished, mum enjoyed selecting a couple of necklaces and bracelets as presents in the factory shop (bargain prices). The highlight was the Scratch Patch - an Alladin' s cave of shining gems. The kids bought plastic bags and
had a great time digging among the stones to choose their own "jewels". A magic day ended with a fine dinner at a fish restaurant at the end of the town. Tired and well-fed, I am signing off.


Day five - Saturday 28th
Sadly this is our last day in Simon's Town - we all wish we had more time as there is so much to do here. With an energetic start, we hiked to the waterfall in the kloof above the town and then tackled the steep one thousand step staircase up the mountain to Just Nuisances's grave. There is a superb view of the town and across the bay the chain of mountains lining the distant shore. We were rescued by a (prearranged) taxi and ferried back to town in time for lunch on Jubilee Square. It was a pleasant rest for the adults to sit on the timber deck overlooking the waterfront, while the younger members were escorted on sea kayaks along the shore - they paddled towards the Boulders and watched the penguins swimming in pursuit of schools of fish. We spent our last afternoon enjoying a spot of culture. The bronze foundry has a splendid sculpture gallery and works of art are cast on the spot. Across the road is the Heritage Museum, which celebrates the history of Simon's Town 's Muslim community. We went to bid farewell at the Tourist Office and collected brochures of the many leisure activities that Simon's Town has to offer. Tomorrow we intend to visit Cape Point (only 20 minutes away) before our return to Cape Town. The whole family agreed that we must return here for a summer holiday to enjoy the beaches and water sports. Simon's Town is an ideal holiday spot - we have to return.

     

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