The SA Navy acquired its first submarines in the early seventies – three Daphne Class boats built in France. These were operated with great success until the late nineties when their maintenance became more difficult due to age. With the acquisition of the Type 209s, the Daphnes were withdrawn from service and disposed of by scrapping. The last to decommission was SAS Assegaai on 23 November 2003.

SAS Assegaai was commissioned as SAS Johanna van der Merwe in 1972 under the command of then Lt Cdr Theo Honiball. She is 57.8m long with a beam of 6.8m and a surface displacement of 870t and 1045t when dived. She carried a complement of 6 officers and 45 crew members. With 12 x 550mm torpedo tubes, she could also carry sea mines.  She was renamed SAS Assegaai in the late nineties

Through the efforts of a small group of serving and retired members, the SA Navy agreed to keep her as a museum exhibit on condition that these enthusiasts funded her preservation and display as an exhibit ashore. In order to achieve this Assegaai has been converted into a floating museum in Simon’s Town harbour for a period not exceeding two years in order to raise the necessary funds from public donations. The ultimate aim is to promote technology and the sciences amongst the youth through visits and projects aboard.

The boat is well preserved and open to visitors for guided tours on a daily basis (closed Christmas and Boxing Day) from 10:00 to 15:00.


Over 10 000 visitors from more than 40 countries have visited the SAS Assegaai in the short time that it has been moored between the Navy Harbour  and Simon’s town Yatch Club.  Going on board a working submarine, albeit a retired one, is a truely out of the ordinary experience and one that is on our doorstep in Simon’s Town.   It is another world being close up to the precision engineering that enables submarines to `see’ in the dark and survive extreme water pressures.  While physically, they redefine cramped living, apparently the cameraderie of the crew made up for many of the hardships of being at sea without a view, fresh air or place to escape to for time out from work or fellow sailors.   Please note that the Simon’s Town Boat Company no longer provides ferry services to the Museum Submarine and that people wishing to enquire about visits should contact the Naval Museum on (021) 787 4686 for details.  A new schedule of visiting times and means of access from the town will be advised shortly.  13 January 2012

Read more about the SAS Assegaai

press enquiries can be addressed to Arne Söderlund  or 082 807 8073

SAS Assegaai on-board enquiries – 021 787 5267