To the south of the city and southern suburbs lies the broad sweep of False Bay. So named because seafarers of old returning from the east would sometimes turn north after rounding the cape at Hangklip (hanging rock) thinking that it was Cape Point. The bay, which is approximately 30 kilometres across at the mouth is blessed by much warmer seas than the Atlantic coastal side of the peninsula making for pleasant bathing on its abundant beaches.
False Bay is more laid back and less trendy than the Atlantic coast with plenty of tucked away, character filled pubs and restaurants. Narrow alleys with quaint and dusty shops abound, here you stand a chance of discovering a valuable antique or other rare and unusual treasure.
First stop when connecting with the False Bay coastline when travelling south from Cape Town is Muizenberg. This once which was once the home of Cecil John Rhodes, one time prime minister of the Cape and founder of the still mighty De Beers diamond empire. His cottage is now a museum and can be visited daily during the week. The beach at Muizenberg, which is popular with surfers, is one of the longest and most spectacular on the peninsula.
Kalk Bay is a fishing village which still retains much of its original character and has a vibrant night life as well as interesting shops which are open seven days a week. The town was first inhabited in the seventeenth century by shipwrecked seamen and deserters. The narrow main road is lined with antique shops and although in recent years it has become a bit commercialised and somewhat over-priced, bargains are still to be found.
An experience not to be missed is the Brass Bell restaurant and pub, closer to the sea you are unlikely to get, and the food is excellent. Also worth a visit is the working fishing harbour, fresh fish can be purchased from the boats as they come in with the days catch.
Fish Hoek was until recently the only dry town in South Africa, the land on which the town was built was donated by Lord Charles Somerset in 1818 on the condition that their be no wine house on the property. The town has a bustling seaside village atmosphere with an abundance of high street shops, restaurants and coffee houses. The safe bathing beach beach is popular with families, a decent restaurant is available all year round on the beach and there changing facilities and lifeguards in season.
The end of the line is Simons Town, established in 1743 as a port, the town was taken over by the Royal Navy in 1814, under whose control it remained until finally being handed over to the South African Navy in 1957. The "Historic Mile" (twenty one of the buildings in St Georges street are over 150 years old), is a popular walk along pavements once trodden by Admiral Horatio Nelson and Captain James Cook.
The Simons Town Museum has displays on the early history of the town, and is open to visitors daily except Sunday. The boulders beach penguin colony is one of only two mainland breeding colonies of the jackass penguin and also offers sheltered swimming.