Visiting the submarine - the latest news:

“SAS ASSEGAAI, the only submarine museum of its kind in Africa, was closed for tours and visits on the 3rd of August 2015. In the almost five years that the submarine was open to the public, as a museum, it drew in excess of 60 000 visitors, from no less than 150 different countries around the world. The visitor book shows that more than 15 000 visitors confirmed their enjoyment in writing! As a part of the SA Naval Museum and supported by the Naval Heritage Trust, the submarine museum was crewed by an eager group of volunteers and ex-Navy personnel and open to the public seven days a week. A big thanks to all the volunteers who gave of their time and showed a passion for the Navy and its heritage.

For the sake of safety and preservation, it has however become necessary for urgent maintenance and repairs to be affected. As a result the ASSEGAAI was successfully docked on the syncro-lift on the 2nd of September 2015. A feasibility study is currently underway for the proposed future placement of the SAS ASSEGAAI ashore, as a Museum. Regretfully and as a result, the ASSEGAAI will be closed to the public and tours until further notice.

Please contact the Officer-in-Charge SA Naval Museum, Commander Leon Steyn at 021 787 4622 or 4635 for any further information.”

SAS ASSEGAAI on syncro-lift


The museum is informative for youngsters and children who have an interest in becoming submariners, as it gives them the opportunity to find out more on the career that they want to follow. The museum is also aimed at influencing the youth through the various technologies represented aboard and thus promote the sciences in education.


Background Information

SAS Assegaai, formerly the SAS Johanna van der Merwe, was one of three Daphne-class submarines acquired from France during 1970 to 1972, which became the first submarines to serve in the South African Navy. She is 58m long and had a complement of six officers and 45 senior and junior ratings. Fitted with 12 x 550mm torpedo tubes, she could also carry sea mines.



She was renamed SAS Assegaai (Assegaai is the Afrikaans word for 'spear') in 1999 and was the last of the SA Navy’s Daphne class submarines in commission and finally decommissioned in 2003. Currently she is preserved as a floating museum but will be preserved ashore at the Naval Museum by 2013.

Visitors arrive by ferry, waiting to go below. The opened  can be seen to the right of the image

The Assegaai museum submarine gives those who have never been on a submarine the opportunity to experience life in a submarine and its intricacies, albeit for a brief visit. All tours are conducted by experienced volunteer guides who explain life aboard as well as how the boat was run and how the systems work. The interior has been perfectly preserved and one is able to see and experience all its equipment in the cramped setting – for example, the tiny galley.

R Adm (JG) Soderland (SAN Ret), enthusiastically conducting a tour

One also get to experience the feeling of being in a boat underwater. An explanation is also given of how the submarine dives and how it surfaces at sea and you get to know many interesting facts about submarines. One of the more fascinating aspects being the generation of fresh air for the crew when dived.

Interesting Facts:

  • The museum is one of about five of its kind in the Southern hemisphere and the first in Africa.

  • More than 20 countries including Germany, United States of America and the United Kingdom have Museum Submarines.

Daphne Class submarine fact file
Length: 57.75m
Beam: 6.75m
Draught: 5.23m
Shafts:  2 (3 blade propellers)
Displacement: 860 tons (Surface) | 1034 tons (Submerged)
Diving Depth 300m
Machinery:   2 x 8-cyl SEMT-Pielstick 8 PA4 185-450Kw diesel generators

2 x 800hp dual armature Jeumont-Schneider electric propulsion motors

Batteries: 2 compartments (80 cells each)
Speed: 13.5 knots (25 km/h Surfaced) 16 knots (29.6 km/h Submerged)
Range:   4300nm (7 963km) @ 7.5 knots (Snorting)
2700nm (5 000km) @ 12.5 knots (Surface)

12 x 550mm (8 forward 4 aft - only reloadable when alongside)
8 Forward (Internal)
4 Aft (External)

Complement:  6 Officers and 45 Ratings
 (+ 6 to 10 trainees)

R Adm (JG) A. Soderlund (Ret) and a team of volunteer guides, some being ex-submariners, with duty experience on this boat

A visiting school group being assisted down the hatch for a tour of the submarine

Be warned: this vessel was designed and built as a deadly warship. She is compact and filled with machinery. She was not designed for visitors. Passages are narrow and you need to be careful where you step. Ensure that children do not fiddle with switches or equipment because some valves control water ballast systems, and high voltages are present in equipment.

Ladies and Gentlemen: "It is clear to go on board the SAS Assegaai ".


Sent email to the Museum Submarine at:

Submarine Depth is its submersion or diving depth and is measured from under the keel to the surface. The calculated crushing depth of the Daphne Class' pressure hull is 575 meters.

There are many depth gauges throughout the interior of the boat. See how many of them you're able to spot when you do the submarine tour.