Photo Credit: Supplied

South Africa’s famous submarine museum is coming ashore once again; making it the only one on the continent!


Cape Town, South Africa (15 August 2023)— Nearly eight years since it was closed to visitors, South Africa’s famous submarine museum is coming ashore once again.

The Assegaai Submarine Museum is the only preserved naval submarine on the continent. There are 124 preserved naval submarines in the world, but only six are in the southern hemisphere and the Assegaai Submarine will be the first in Africa thanks to two specially constructed donated cradles from shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT).

The two cradles (which will hold the submarines) are each 3.6m long x 9.1m wide, and weigh 7 tons. They were built using steel salvaged from old Damen ship transport cradles while building them began nearly a year ago.

In August, the cradles were officially handed over the Chief of the South African Navy Vice Admiral Monde Lobese.

Speaking at the unveiling of the cradles and submarine in Cape Town Vice on Monday Admiral Lobese shared:

“Today we also celebrate the hard work, dedication, perseverance and never-give-up attitude of a handful of volunteers who absolutely refused to give up on their dream. That dream was to make sure that we as the South African Navy, can have the first – and only – submarine museum on the African continent. Once the Assegaai Museum is in place, she will be the 125th museum submarine in the world, but only the 7th in the Southern Hemisphere and the first one in Africa! This is indeed a noteworthy accomplishment.”

The submarines will take up their new home next to the False Bay Yacht Club and NSRI Station 10 in Simon’s Town and will reopen once the Naval Heritage Trust has secured the necessary funding.

The static submarine museum will be managed and operated by the combined efforts of the Naval Heritage Trust, the local non-profit Facility Management Company (STADCO), and the South African Navy Museum.

As in the past, guided tours will be conducted by volunteers and ex-submariners and the submarine will also be available for a variety of other events and learning opportunities. In the four and a half years it was open, the submarine had received over 57 000 visitors from 110 countries

As for the fundraising efforts, veterans are coming to the party. Retired Rear Admiral (JG) Digby Thomson is one of several retired navy men who is assisting on the Naval Heritage Trust Submarine Museum Project. Thomson says:

“We have raised about forty percent of the money we need to move the vessel. Once we have moved her, we will cut two holes forward and aft to allow for tour groups. We will use the funds from the visitors to finalise her look and make her more presentable to the public.”

“I personally believe that everybody should at least visit the inside of a submarine once in their lifetime, just for the experience, to have a look at the technology and to be able to say that they have been there and done it. It really is a fascinating world,” Thomson encourages.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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