Sitting on Table Bay and backed by the iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town is rightfully known as a great city. However, besides that picture-perfect mountain, its gorgeous beaches, Winelands and more, the city has some truly unusual and cool attractions for curious travelers. Here we explore three.
1. Just Nuisance statue, Simon’s Town
Just around the coast from the city of Cape Town is beautiful Simon’s Town. With its pretty harbor and a beach full of penguins, Simon’s Town is a great place to visit. However, there is also an iconic statue, standing in Jubilee Square, of the only dog ever officially enlisted in the Royal Navy.
Just Nuisance was a Great Dane who was born in Cape Town in 1937. The puppy was sold to Benjamin Chaney, who moved down the coast to Simon’s Town, a major naval base for the British Royal Navy.
Just Nuisance was a sociable dog who made friends with the sailors, mostly because they gave him treats and took him for walks. He grew to be large, even for his breed and reached a height of 6.6 feet tall when standing on his hind legs. The friendly mutt became a regular visitor to the naval base and one of his favorite spots was on the gangplank of the HMS Neptune. Due to his size, he caused a blockage, which is why the sailors lovingly called him Nuisance.
Nuisance loved to take the train to Cape Town with the sailors when they had some shore leave, but ticket collectors were not amused. While the sailors would try to hide him, he would often be thrown off at the next station. The Great Dane learned to walk back to Simon’s Town or try to board the next train to Cape Town.
Just Nuisance enlisted in the Royal Navy in Cape Town
Railway officials complained to Nuisance’s owner, Benjamin Chaney, telling him to confine his dog or face him being put down. When the sailors heard this awful threat, they approached their superiors.
Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy started receiving letters from concerned sailors in Cape Town about a loyal dog named Nuisance. Possibly concerned for the sailors’ morale, or maybe just a dog lover himself, the Commander-in-Chief found an unusual solution. Nuisance would be enlisted in the Royal Navy and, as an enlisted member, would be entitled to ride the trains for free.
Nuisance was enlisted on August 25, 1939, becoming the first and only dog to ever enlist in the Royal Navy. The dog was registered with the surname “Nuisance” and given the forename “Just,” as the field on the form couldn’t be left blank. He was even given a trade, “Bone Crusher” and his religion was listed as “Scrounger.” However, out of respect for the Great Dane, this was later changed to “Canine Divinity League (Anti-Vivisection).” After the required medical examination, Nuisance signed the papers with a paw mark and was officially ready for active duty.
Just Nuisance was a morale-boosting mascot for the sailors
While he never actually went to sea, he did serve in a number of capacities in the Royal Navy. On a regular basis, he accompanied the sailors by train to Cape Town. He then escorted them home when they had too many beers. More than anything, Nuisance became a morale-boosting mascot for the sailors and often appeared in parades wearing his own sailor’s hat.
Eventually, the navy promoted Just Nuisance to Able Seaman, a rank that gave him access to naval rations. However, he was discharged from the Royal Navy in 1944 following an accident that left him with a thrombosis. Due to its severity, the Royal Navy had no option but to put the Great Dane to sleep.
Just Nuisance was buried at Klaver Camp on top of Red Hill, where his grave can be seen today. It was later that the statue of the Great Dane was erected in Simon’s Town, where the loyal dog can look along the shoreline forever.
2. Macassar Beach Pavilion
Macassar Beach Pavilion once proudly stood on the beach in False Bay, Cape Town. However, the attraction that was built in 1991 was abandoned following a string of financial mishaps.
Due to the shifting sand dunes and the harsh South-Easter wind, the remains of the water park are now mostly buried in the sand. Meanwhile, there used to be water slides, swimming pools, concession stands and various other buildings, but nowadays what is left is half-buried and scrawled with graffiti.
This pavilion originally formed a part of the Macassar Dunes Reserve, a park that spreads over 2,760 acres. Signs can still be seen in the reserve, warning people of “dunes on the move” and as can be seen in the Macassar Beach Pavilion, those signs don’t lie.
Of interest to note, the Macassar Beach Pavilion and the dunes reserve are named for Sheikh of Yusuf, a Macassar nobleman who died in Cape Town in 1699. His grave lies close by.
3. Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town
The famous Chapman’s Peak Drive is a stunning, winding road that takes drivers around a steep cliff side. Meanwhile, it offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the mountainous coastline. However, anyone that has driven this route knows that you have to keep your eyes on the road at all times.
In fact, back in 1988, a driver on Chapman’s Peak Drive took his eyes off the road while missing one of the hairpin bends. Christopher White’s Mercedes plummeted 30 stories to the rocks below. However, miraculously, he survived the experience.
Meanwhile, some years later, Mercedes filmed a commercial at that spot to demonstrate the safety of its cars. The advert can be seen in the YouTube video below.
The drive starts in the coastal town of Hout Bay, climbing steeply up to Chapman’s Peak, and ends in Noordhoek, Cape Town. Affectionately referred to as “Chappies,” the route offers several lookout points where drivers can stop to enjoy the view. They can also buy local art as souvenirs to take home.
Drivers are recommended to check the Chapman’s Peak Drive website to find out the latest weather conditions, as the Cape’s deadly South-Easter could put a stop to the drive.