Navy Museum opening, SAAF Museum still locked down


The SA Naval Museum in Simon’s Town is the first military history facility to take advantage of level two lockdown regulations and will open – on a limited basis – tomorrow (1 September).

By contrast, the SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum remains off-limits to military aviation enthusiasts and historians hoping to use the extensive library at the museum’s Air Force Base Swartkop headquarters. SAAF Museum branches at Air Force Bases Port Elizabeth and Ysterplaat are also still not open to the public.

On a slightly brighter note as regards South Africa’s military aviation history and more so in the year the SAAF marks it centenary, is development of “a phased plan for aircrew currencies” to resume SAAF Museum flying from 1 October. If approved, spectators will not be allowed at the popular first Saturday of the month flying training days where pilots put airworthy historic aircraft through their paces.

Announcing re-opening of the Naval Museum, Commander Leon Steyn said visits would be by appointment only to maintain, among others, the social distancing demanded by national state of disaster regulations, now at level two.

“Initially, the museum will only be open on weekdays between 10h00 and 15h00 with limited numbers. Visitors have to wear face masks, sanitise hands on entry, submit to temperature taking and complete a questionnaire,” he said adding the Simon’s Town attraction was hoping normal visiting hours, including weekends, would be back come October.

Booking can be done telephonically on 021 787 4686 or electronically on [email protected].

On accessibility to the three sites housing South African military aviation history, the Air Force’s Directorate: Corporate Staff Services said: “The SAAF Museum and its satellite activities are under the control of Officer Commanding AFB Swartkop (Colonel Trish Schoeman). The Museum is in compliance with COVID-19 (Level 2) directives to apply a reduced personnel footprint and restrict employment of personnel over 60 and restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people. SAAF Museum satellite bases are subject to the relevant Officers Commanding’s decisions with respect to the COVID-19 directives.

“Given the operational requirement to support national efforts in the COVID-19 campaign and reduce exposure or spread of the infection, SAAF Museum activities are temporarily suspended.”