South Africa Maritime Museums In Cape Town

Travel & LeisureTravel Tips

  • Author Richard Bann
  • Published April 28, 2010
  • Word count 668

The SA Maritime Museum is situated in the well known Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Table Bay Harbour. The influence of the sea on the people of South Africa and particularly Cape Town is depicted in various displays, such as:

The history of Table Bay and ultimately South Africa . Shipwreck artifacts as well as an actual shipwreck in the process of being displayed . Trade and industry Fishing and exploitation of Marine Resources . Passenger and shipping lines . South African Navy . Merchant Naval Training . The Discovery Cove for children as well as the Ship Model workshop are popular attractions.

The SA Maritime Museum also offers the following services: The use of the John H Marsh Research Centre for research . Professional researchers will answer your maritime related queries, eg. on subjects such as shipwrecks . Copies of various plans for model building . Restoration of ship models . Model workshop for children during the school holidays.

The Museum Ship SAS Somerset

The SAS Somerset was taken over form the South African Navy on 24 May 1988. She is the only Boom Defence Vessel left in the world. A diorama showing exactly how boom defence vessels protected harbours during World War II can be seen in the SA Maritime Museum, which is a few metres from where she is berthed. While the SAS Somerset was in commission in the South African Navy her operational duties were restricted to salvage operations.

Also part of the museum are a number of old ships, moored in various parts of the harbor, which are open to visitors. In front of the comfortable Victoria and Alfred Hotel is the "Alwyn Vincent", a steam tug launched in Venice in 1859. The SAS "Somerset" is the only surviving submarine guardship in the world.

The Iziko Maritime Centre features an overview of shipping in Cape Town, and the earliest existing model of Table Bay harbour, completed in 1885 by prisoners and warders of Breakwater Prison, forms part of the exhibitions. Images depicting Table Bay from the 17th to 20th century give an idea of the development of the harbour. There is a collection of ship models and objects associated with shipping in Cape Town, in particular the era of mail-ships. Large and medium-sized images support the exhibitions, with the emphasis on the Union-Castle Line.

A key part of this resource centre is the John H. Marsh Maritime Research Centre. The Marsh collection consists of various collections including an important archive of nearly 20 000 photographs, depicting 9 200 ships dating from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. It also has an online service for the answering of queries regarding the ships and for ordering images of these ships at

Contact Details

Enquiries: Thys van der Merwe


Tel: 021 405 2884 / 021 464 1261

During the school holidays sleep overs for children are held aboard the SAS.

The Simmons Town Musum (SO. AFRICA)

The Simon’s Town Museum was established in 1977 by the Simon’s Town Historical Society (Friends of the Simon’s Town Museum) to collect and preserve the history of the Simon’s Town community, past and present, with emphasis on its immense diversity of origins, cultures and religions and to highlight the significant role played by the Simon’s Town community in maritime and global history and their connections to the VOC; Royal Navy and other nations around the world.

Simon’s Town Museum is housed in "The Residency" which was built in 1777 as the winter residence for the Dutch East India Company Governor at the Cape.

Simon’s Town Museum was established in 1977 by the Simon's Town Historical Society. The Museum was originally housed in the old Simon’s Town Municipality complex, but moved to "The Residency" in 1982. The building has a long history, having been used as a hospital, post office, school, customs house, police station, gaol and magistrate’s court.

The Simon’s Town Museum collects and exhibits the cultural history of the people of Simon’s Town and their connections with the Dutch East India Company and the Royal Navy.

A Freelance Editor. Happy to help you if you would like to explore Cape Town, South Africa. Planning to Visit Cape Town? Then you should know travelers essential before you reach there. Here are Worldwide essential travelers data going abroad - country data, weather, airports, health risks, Passport, Visa, Embassy, Authorized contact Info and more.

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