Muizenberg has a long history, most notably being where Cecil John Rhodes had a holiday home and, in fact where he died in 1902. Rhodes, a British born South African was a politician, gold mining magnate and founder of De Beers, the diamond company that still markets 40% of the world’s rough diamonds.
You could say that Muizenberg is actually a bit of a “rough diamond”. In its heyday, the rich and famous built their holiday homes here, it boasted luxury hotels and was “the resort” to go to.
Unfortunately, the area fell into disrepair somewhere along the way but there are still many beautiful architectural buildings along the promenade reflecting Edwardian and Victorian styles.
More recently, Muizenberg has cleaned up its act and it is slowly coming back into fashion. There are new buildings, old ones have been renovated, restaurants have popped up and there are now numerous surf shops and smaller boutiques all vying for attention.
As far as I can remember, the Muizenberg beach was the place to go if you wanted to learn to surf – it still is, even though sharks, and in particular, the Great Whites also like to share this stretch of paradise. In 2004, the Shark Spotter initiative was started where spotters watch out for sharks and alert the surfers to any danger. This project is working quite well at present, but one must still be aware of the dangers.
Personally, the Muizenberg beach is my “walking” beach, it is the closest beach to my home, about a 12 minute drive away and I love to go for long leisurely walks either along the beach which stretches for about 20kms.
Or one can walk along the coastal pathway which goes all the way to Kalk Bay. This also includes the historical mile where you will find one of the oldest building in South Africa, the Het Posthuys built in 1742, also the SA Police Museum and as mentioned Rhodes house amongst others.
The red-bricked Muizenberg station, with its wonderful teak clock tower overlooks the beach – built in 1913 the station has been beautifully kept, just be careful about being caught taking photographs by the over-zealous security guards. For some reason they told me it was not allowed….
The Muizenberg beach is most probably most famous for its colourful rows of “changing rooms” – you can find a photograph of these on most postcards bought in Cape Town.
Although there are many other words beginning with “M” that spring to mind when thinking about South Africa, as this is my personal version, Muizenberg came out tops. On the weekends in the summer months, the place to find me will be down at the Muizenberg beach taking a stroll with hubby.
Sometimes the wind will be howling (not so pleasant) and then we retreat to Knead Bakery, Empire Cafe or Gaslight Cafe for breakfast but most times, its perfect.
Have you been to Muizenberg and taken a stroll on the beach? What words would you as a South African have chosen for the letter “M”?