The Navel Base of Simon's Town, named after Simon van der Stel, the first governor to the Cape, has popular beaches, especially Boulder Beach, highly recommended for safe swimming and diving. The South African Naval Museum is in the Mast House, West Dockyard, and contains ship models and other relics of past times. One of it's most enduring "heroe's" was a dog named Nuisance, a Great Dane adopted by the sailors (or the other way around!) who used to escourt sailors who had over indulged back to the ship before the curfew was over. He was given a military funeral. The Stem Pastorie, where the music for the old National Anthem was composed (to the words of a poem by C J Langerhoven) houses a collection of national emblems.
Simon's Town (also widely written Simons Town and, in Afrikaans, Simonstad), is a village and a naval base in South Africa, near Cape Town. It is located on the shores of False Bay, on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. For more than two centuries it has been an important naval base and harbour (first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy). False Bay is located to the southeast of Cape Town but to the west of Cape Agulhas and Simon's Town is consequently located roughly on the border between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. The town is named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony. The land rises steeply from near the water's edge and the picturesque village is boxed in along the shoreline by the heights above. The small harbour itself is not a particularly good natural harbour and is protected from swells by a breakwater that was built with thousands of huge blocks of sandstone quarried out of the face of the mountain above.
One of the best beaches on the Cape Peninsula, Boulders Beach, is located a few kilometres to the south of Simon's Town. Here small, secluded coves with white sandy beaches and calm, safe, warm, shallow waters are interspersed between huge rounded boulders of Cape granite that form low cliffs and small caves. There has been a colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach since 1985. There is no record of the birds having lived here prior to that date, so their decision to settle in an area already well-utilized by humans is remarkable.
There are only three penguin populations is South Africa.Simon's Town is now in effect a suburb of greater Cape Town. It is the terminus of a railway line that runs south from the central business district of Cape Town. In places the railway line hugs the steep eastern shore of False Bay quite spectacularly and in bad weather foam from some heavy swells will fly up and wet the trains!
Miller's Point got its name when the land was sold to Edmund Miller in 1825, who developed it as a whaling station. However the whaling operations were stopped in the 1850s and, for almost a century, the coast remained unused apart from occasional fishermen. In the 1920s, the land was bought by the Molteno family of Cape Town who used it as a family retreat and closed it off from public access.
In 1961, the Moltenos donated the land to the city for conservation. The land has now been integrated into the Table Mountain National Park and the family's manor is now a restaurant complex.