Simon’s Town, the quaint little town located on the shores of False Bay, holds many secrets from days gone by. The town is steeped in rich culture and maritime history, which have been preserved in the buildings and historical landmarks.
A great way to get to know the history of Simon’s Town is to visit the various museums you’ll find around the town, each telling a story of a bygone era.
Here are 4 museums to visit on your next trip to Simon’s Town.
Simon’s Town Museum
The Simon’s Town Museum was established in 1977 by a group of volunteer war veterans called the MOTHS (Memorable Order of Tin Hats), a brotherhood of former South African front-line soldiers and members of the Simon’s Town Historical Society.
The museum houses the history of the community and preserves the maritime past of the town’s important role in “The Cape Sea Route”, like the creation of the refreshment station at Simon’s Bay by the Dutch East India Company in 1743.
One of the museum’s most important ventures has been Project Phoenix, a project started in 1996 to record and preserve the history of the original people of Simon’s Town, who were forcibly removed under the Group Areas Act by the Apartheid government in 1967.
- Location: 4 Court Road, Simon’s Town
- Entry fee: R20.00 per adult / R5.00 per child
South African Naval Museum
Simon’s Town is home to the South African Navy’s largest naval base, so it’s only fitting that a maritime museum is located at the naval base. The museum dates back to 1966, when a naval historical collection was first housed at the Castle of Good Hope Military Museum in Cape Town before being transferred to Simon’s Town in the mid-70s.
The museum displays historical naval artefacts and exhibitions.
- Location: St George’s Street, Simon’s Town
- Entry fee: No charge
Simon’s Town Warrior Toy Museum
The Warrior Toy Museum showcases model cars, dolls, and dinky toys from yesteryear. The museum has over 4000 cars and 500 dolls and teddy bears on display.
The curator, Percy van Zyl, has created a collector’s wonderland of toy aeroplanes, trucks, lead soldiers, ships, cars and buses. The museum has a shop for existing and budding collectors.
There are two fully operational railroads, a Meccano display and even a lead soldier exhibit.
- Location: 1067 King George’s Way, Simon’s Town
- Entry fee: R10.00
The Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum pays tribute to the rich Cape Malay cultural influence on the seaside town. Historical photographs, ceremonial artefacts and exhibits give you an insight into the religion and traditions of the Muslims of Simon’s Town.
The museum was established in the Amlay family’s house. The Amlays are the first residents to have moved back to Simon’s Town in 1995 after being forcibly removed from the area under the Apartheid government’s Group Areas Act in 1975.
- Location: Amlay House, King George’s Way, Simon’s Town
- Entry fee: Donation amount
Picture: Igshaan Amlay