Section Header The Mast House

and Sail Loft

The Mast House and Sail Loft, where the SA Naval Museum is located, were built by Sir Jahleel Brenton in 1815, soon after Simon’s Town became the Naval Base of the British Fleet. The length of the masts to be stored determined the building’s dimensions of 36,5 x 7,3 meters. The Clock Tower (the clock is still functioning) was later added and the Sail Loft was partitioned to accommodate the St George’s Dockyard Church.

What is

on display

The South African Naval Museum displays the history of the South African Navy from its early origins in 1922 when the South African Naval Service was established, and shows its involvement and expansion during and after the Second World War (1939-1945) with the establishment of the Seaward Defence Force and South African Naval Forces. The displays also show the historical ties with the British Royal Navy, the age of sail and South African involvement during the First World War (1914-1918). The Transformation Display details the important events of the 1990s which culminated in the establishment of the new South African National Defence Force in 1994 and transformation of the South African Navy through the years.

  • The Dockyard Clock
  • Sail Loft & Mast House
  • Hydrographic Display
  • First World War
  • Labour Corps Display
  • Second World War
  • SWANS Display
  • Mine Counter Measures
  • SAS President Kruger
  • SA Marines Display
  • Communication Display
  • Gunnery and missile
  • Anti-submarine
  • Submarine display
  • Sailing Display
  • Firefighting Display
  • Diving Display
  • Training Ship
  • Hydrographic and Printing
  • Russian Arctic Convoy
  • Chiefs of the SA Navy
  • Transformation
Martello Tower and

Middle North Battery

Section Header SAS Assegaai


In November 2003 the South African Navy decommissioned the last of its three DAPHNE Class submarines, the SAS ASSEGAAI (formerly the SAS JOHANNA VAN DER MERWE), in preparation for the introduction of the new Type 209 Submarines. A submission was made to the Chief of the Navy and the Naval Board to preserve the SAS ASSEGAAI as an exhibit of the SA Naval Museum in Simon’s Town.
Approval was duly given and during December 2010 the submarine (still in the water) was opened to the public on a trial basis. Africa’s first submarine museum was officially opened in Simon’s Town on 1 March 2011 by Chief of the Navy, Vice Admiral Mudimu. The project managing team consists almost entirely of retired Naval personnel and volunteers who provided guided tours through the submarine on a daily basis. The main purpose of the project is to preserve the submarine as a museum of technology and to promote technology and science among the youth. The official opening marked the first step towards the Assegaai’s eventual placement ashore. The submarine was taken out of the water for maintenance (currently on the syncro-lift) and plans are afoot to relocate the SAS ASSEGAAI ashore and to reopen to the public in future. Currently closed to the public.