Snorkeling Simons Town

Nestled on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, the seaside gem of Simons Town is a firm favourite for both beginner snorkelers and experienced freedivers alike. The stretch of coastline has an abundance of sheltered bays, small sandy coves, and pristine kelp forests that make for memorable ocean experiences.

Great African Sea Forest
Great African Sea Forest

Due to its protected location within False Bay, Simons Town usually experiences moderate water temperatures, when compared to the snorkeling sites located on the western side of the Cape Peninsula. In the summer months over December and January snorkelers in Simons Town are often treated to water temperatures around 20°C, and many enjoy the water without the need for wetsuits. During the winter the water temperatures fall to around 14°C, and the use of a wetsuit can make snorkelers more comfortable during these cooler months.

Simons Town is revered in the snorkeling and freediving community due to the abundance, diversity, and accessibility of its snorkeling sites. Sites such as Windmill Beach, Seaforth Beach and Fisherman’s Beach offer a gentle sandy entry, perfect for those new to snorkeling. As one becomes more comfortable getting in and out of the water, snorkeling at sites with more technical rocky entries are available, such as those found at A-Frame and Castle Rock.

Windmill Beach
Windmill Beach

The waters around the Cape Peninsula are particularly diverse, due to the mixing of Southern Africa’s two prevailing oceanic systems, the Benguela and the Agulhas currents. The abundance of nutrients carried in these systems allows for a flourishing of marine life in the waters around Simons Town. The moderate ocean temperatures coupled with the availability of nutrients make it the perfect environment for the Great African Sea Forest. Kelp forests can be found all along the Simons Town coastline and provide a sheltered environment for a myriad of other species that live, feed, and reproduce in the safety of the sheltered sea bamboo.

Sections of the Simons Town coastline and the Great African Sea Forest fall within the Table Mountain National Park in what are known as Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). These ‘no-take’ zones are found surrounding the Boulders Beach and Windmill beach area, as well as Castle Rock, and prohibit the harvesting of marine resources. These restricted areas protect marine life and aid in the conservation of species by allowing populations to reproduce and then ‘spill over’ into the adjacent non-protected areas. The presence of these two restricted zones in Simons Town means that marine life in the kelp forest flourishes and makes for excellent encounters while snorkeling.

Snorkeler Exploring the Kelp Forest
Snorkeler Exploring the Kelp Forest

Simons Town is a must for all ocean enthusiasts, and the dynamic underwater ecosystem is guaranteed to provide a new experience on every snorkel. Snorkeling Cape Town without visiting one of the amazing sites in Simons Town, just won’t be a complete underwater experience. And once you’ve had your adventure, be sure to pop into one of the local coffee shops for a warm beverage and a pastry!


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