Simonstown and Boulders Beach
Simonstown, South Africa's principal naval base, lies about 25 miles (40km) from the city centre and is a quaint town cum suburb built around a naval dockyard, with well-preserved Victorian buildings, museums, sidewalk cafes and local legends to learn about. One such legend is about a dog called 'Just Nuisance' who 'joined' the British navy, becoming their mascot, when Simonstown was a British base. A statue of the beloved dog can still be seen on the beachfront. A short distance from the town is Boulder's beach, famous for its protected colony of African Penguins (formerly Jackass Penguin) that can be viewed from the boardwalks and which mingle happily with people on the beach. The penguins are remarkably tame and although you shouldn't try to touch them (they are ultimately wild animals and can give nasty bites) it is possible to get very close and take some wonderful photographs. The loveable birds swim between swimmers in the sea, totally unperturbed. The beach is truly beautiful at Boulders, with turquoise water and, as the name suggests, picturesque rock formations. The water is cold but so alluring that it is hard not to get in. The beach is worth visiting in any season just to see the penguins, and kids will particularly enjoy it.
Transport: Metrorail suburban train from the Cape Town central station
Admission: Boulders Beach Penguin Colony: R40 (adults), R15 (children under 12).