The LXIX ‘slightly biased’ Guide to Cape Town!!!
For visitors who don’t know the Cape, it is very hard to choose which area of Cape Town to stay in, so here is a brief summary of the main spots, starting with Blouberg in the North.
Blouberg has the classic views of Table Mountain, and wonderful long beaches which are popular with Windsurfers and Kitesurfers as the wind howls in the summer. As a keen windsurfer myself, I was very keen to buy in this area when we moved to Cape Town in 2003. Fortunately my Wife, Anita, who grew up in Cape Town, said I was welcome to move there if I didn’t mind living on my own! There has been a huge amount of development in the area in the last few years, with large American style malls and even larger housing estates built along the coastline. Unfortunately much of the property has been bought for investment and is unoccupied, so staying close to the beach can be a bit like living in a ghost town. (complete with tumbleweed!)
Further south is Milnerton which is very industrial, and then the City of Cape Town itself, which includes the areas of Green Point and Sea Point – great to visit (you must do Table Mountain and The Waterfront), but if you want a relaxing holiday on a beach, you wouldn’t want to stay in the City itself.
Moving round the coast, you come to Camps Bay – traditionally the most exclusive part of Cape Town, with modern houses nestled on the cliffside. The beach is small and beautiful, but don’t expect to find a spot for your towel easily! If you like the beaches in Ibiza, this is the spot for you. If not, it is still definitely worth a visit.
Heading south you come to Hout Bay, which has a lovely beach and some interesting shops. Sadly the attractiveness of living in Hout Bay has been badly affected in recent years by the large squatter camp there, and from a tourism point of view, it can take a while to get over the mountain or through the city if you plan to visit other areas of the cape.
Having driven along Chapmans Peak Drive with its stunning views you come to Nordhoek, which is spread out over quite a large area. Nordhoek is set back some way from the beach, but is very beautiful, reminding me of parts of England in the summer with its oak trees, meadows and horses.
A few minutes further on you reach Kommetjie – the last stop before the coastline becomes really wild! ‘Kom’, as it’s known, has become one of the hottest locations in Cape Town in recent years due to its charm and unspoilt beauty – something which has become increasingly hard to find elsewhere.
Kommetjie is surrounded by majestic mountains and is wonderfully rural and unspoiled. Although it is still conveniently close to Cape Town, Kommetjie is a fishing village and the atmosphere is one of peaceful isolation. Unlike Camps Bay, there is a feeling of space, as the village looks towards the mountain, rather than being perched on the side of it. You can see the Cable Car Station on the top of Table Mountain, the Sentinel, below which some of the biggest waves in the world are ridden at Dungeons, Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak, as well as the mountains of Silvermine and The Kom. At night, the beams of light from Slangkop Lighthouse can be seen travelling across the water, the beach and the mountainside as the 41 meter high cast iron light helps passing ships navigate this famous stretch of coastline.
The white sandy beach is perfect for walks, sunbathing, surfing and snorkelling. The beauty and un-crowded nature of the beach has made it “the” place to get married, with several weddings taking place right in front of the house.
On the other side of the peninsular is Simons Town, a lovely place to visit with its harbour, toy museum and wonderful Victorian architecture. Simons Town in the home of South Africa’s Navy, and much of the town is devoted to the Naval Base and accommodation for its Seamen.
Moving back along the False Bay coast one comes to the rather tired villages of Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. The railway line runs along this stretch of coastline between the houses and the beach, but we wouldn’t recommend you use the train! There are some lovely beaches, and the water is warmer than on the Atlantic side (False Bay is the largest breeding ground for the Great White shark in the world). Muizenberg is up and coming, after many years of neglect, and a popular beach with the surfers, but we wouldn’t recommend it as a place to stay.
Above all, your holiday should be as relaxing as possible, and we hope you leave Cape Town with very special memories.