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January 13, 2009

Time Out Tourist with Cape Talk: Sea Kayaking in Simon’s Town


Sea kayaking, photo courtesy Rolf Kleef

We are offering two lucky people and their partners the opportunity to go sea kayaking in Simon’s Town.

Proudly sponsored by Sea Kayak Trips in Cape Town, this is an excellent opportunity to experience the South Peninsula’s great outdoors, discover the magic of the ocean and just get the heart racing again.

Contact details:
Phone: 082 501 8930
Email: tours@kayakcapetown.co.za
Web: www.kayakcapetown.co.za

The value of this prize is R1 000.00 (R250.00 per person)

The trip includes these highlights:

• You leave from Simon’s Town Waterfront and paddle past the civilian and naval harbour, proceeding to Boulder’s Beach.

• You will kayak to a penguin colony – the best way to see it is from the water!

• After visiting the penguins, you will stop on a lovely semi-private beach for refreshments, swimming and snorkelling (snorkels and bottled drinking water supplied by Sea Kayak Trips).

Information on sea kayaking and frequently asked questions:

• How hard is it?
As long as you are fit and can do at least a two hour walk, then you can sea kayak.  99% of our customers have not been in a kayak before, but it does not stop them from enjoying the experience.

• Do you have to be a certain weight?
We do not want to discriminate against anybody, but exceeding 110 kg might be pushing it.

• Can kids participate or are they shark bait?
Generally, kids of 10 years and older are fine, especially if they are accompanied by an adult in the boat.  If the children are younger, adults will have to be extra-strong and fit, as they will have to do all the paddling.

• How easy is it to fall in the water?
Almost impossible because the kayaks are very stable.  On average, about three people a year fall and that is usually because they are messing about.  On the positive side, it is very easy to get back on!
The kayaks are two-man boats, which are great because you can share the paddling.

• Do I dress up or down for the occasion? 
Wear shorts and a t-shirt and don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.  You can go barefoot but sandals are a good idea (but not flip flops as they tend to come off when you walk in water).  Bring a towel and a change of clothes for afterwards.

• What is the best time to go kayaking? 
This is a year-round activity. Summer, of course, has warm sun and warmer water but it also brings many windy days. Winter, on the other hand, is cooler but has many warm, calm days. There is also a good chance of seeing whales during winter.

• Is it endless ocean, or do I get to see something? 
You will have the opportunity to see penguins, cormorants, gulls and oystercatchers.  You will also catch a glimpse of fish swimming under your kayak. 
Seals will often gambol around the kayaks. The chances of coming across a shark are slim.

Simon’s Town

Steeped in history and beautifully authentic, Simon’s Town is blessed with an incredible natural environment and is the home of the South African Navy.

It is named after the governor of the Dutch settlement, Simon van der Stel, who arrived in the Cape in 1679.

Simon’s Town is South Africa’s third-oldest settlement. The governor chose it as a safe alternative to the stormy Cape coast during the turbulent winter months.

Some of my favourite things to do in Simon’s Town include:

• A visit to Simon’s Town Museum.
The Old Residency was built for the governor of the Dutch East India Company and in its heyday included a brothel and slave quarters.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Simon’s Town Museum is a statue of Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a beer-drinking great dane which was adopted by the Royal Navy during World War II.

• Pop in to the South African Naval Museum which celebrates the naval history of Simon’s Town with displays of the inside of a submarine and a ship’s bridge that moves with a simulated rocking motion.

• I love strolling down the town’s Historical Mile along St George’s Street, enjoying the well-preserved Victorian buildings as I wander down.

• Just off St George’s Street, you’ll find Jubilee Square, with friendly cafés and quirky shops. Here, you can photograph the famous statue of Just Nuisance.

• The Quayside Mall overlooks the harbour from which boats depart regularly for trips to Seal Island and False Bay.

• Seaforth is one of the best swimming beaches in Simon’s Town. There is a beachside restaurant – ideal for sundowners.

• The most famous of Simon’s Town’s many attractions must be Boulders Beach with its colony of 3000 penguins!

This exquisite beach contains huge, rounded rocks (hence its name), and there are numerous coves and rock pools that beg to be explored.

The entry fee to Boulders Beach is R30 for adults and R10 for kids. You can use your Wild Card.

It is wheelchair friendly.

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