Muizenberg, Looking Back

Muizenberg, Looking Back

The village of Muizenberg was established by the Dutch in 1743 as a military post on the road between Cape Town and Simon’s Town. It was named after Wynand Willem Muijs, sergeant in charge of the post in 1844, and later commander of the Cape garrison. The railway line from Wynberg reached Muizenberg on 15 December 1882.

Muizenberg was initially merely a halt on the long road between Table Bay and Simon’s Bay, a turnpike/toll (the first in the country) and a military watch. The small, rather shambolic, but historically pivotal Battle of Muizenberg in 1795 led to the British taking initial control over the Cape from the Dutch (finally cemented at the Battle of Blaauwberg).

The remnants of the fort of that battle can still be visited. But it was only in the 1820s that the establishment of an inn of rather dubious repute began the transformation of Muizenberg to the holiday resort it became. Called Farmer Pecks Inn, it became an important stopover for travellers on their way from Cape Town to Simon’s Town, and raised the entertainment profile of the area. They put up the first bathing box. Other private bathing boxes began to appear (the strict social codes of bathing were a far cry from the casualness of today) and, with the arrival of the railway by the late 1800s, land was sold for residential development and people were thronging to the white sands of Muizenberg, immortalised by regular visitor Rudyard Kipling in his poem ‘The Flowers’: “Buy a bunch of weed/ White as the sand of Muizenberg/Spun before the gale”.

Added impetus was provided by Cecil John Rhodes, who built a house there and encouraged his friends and colleagues to do the same. The arrival of the new mining magnates from Kimberley and Johannesburg provided a shimmering seal of approval, and many of their mansions can still be viewed along what was then known as Millionaires Row.

After the Anglo-Boer War, the area was considered a good tonic for soldiers, and the town began to pay proper attention to its popularity with new bathing boxes, pavilions and a handsome new Edwardian railway station befitting its status. In 1911, the first aeroplane to deliver mail in South Africa made its maiden voyage to the postmaster at Muizenberg. The village was transformed.

Although Muizenberg lost its premier resort status in the 1970s, the sand and sea are as attractive now as they were then. The village retains much of its charm and many historic buildings have been restored. A major Muizenberg attraction is surfing: considered a very long, mellow wave, and especially good for those learning to surf as well as for the longboarding fraternity, it follows the traditions of being the birthplace of prone surfing on wooden belly-boards in South Africa in 1910, and then the first stand-up surfing in 1919. Mystery author Agatha Christie visited the beach in 1922, surfing in her green wool bathing suit. Famous Irish playwright and author George Bernard Shaw was photographed surfing at Muizenberg in 1932, at the age of 75.

For More Information

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

 

The Fish Hoek Story

The Fish Hoek Story

Author –Joy Cobern

Imagine living in the southern suburbs of Cape Town in the 1870s, where would you go for a day out and how would you get there? There were no cars and horses were expensive to keep unless you needed them for your business. Perhaps you knew someone with a horse and cart so, as a great treat you could go to Muizenberg beach. Then, in 1882, the railway was extended from Wynberg to Muizenberg and suddenly it became easy to have a day at the beach.

In those days Fish Hoek was a farm in the country with a beautiful but remote beach. In 1883 the railway line reached Kalk Bay but it was not until 1890 that it was extended to Simon’s Town passing along Fish Hoek beach. The owners of the farm, having seen Muizenberg become a fashionable resort after the arrival of the railway, could not have been pleased when the railway authorities wanted to purchase land for the line but they could not refuse. A station was built opposite what is now Windsor Lodge. This was just a wooden platform with no shelter from the south easter and it was not until about 1910, after many complaints from travellers that a small waiting room was built at each end of the platform.

At that time the owner of the Fish Hoek Farm was Hester de Villiers who lived in the farmhouse, on the site of the present Homestead Naval Mess, with her husband Izaak de Villiers. She had bought the farm in 1883. She was then fifty one years old, a teacher who, with her sister, had run a small school in Cape Town. For an unmarried lady of her age to buy property was very unusual, but she came to Fish Hoek and ran the farm on her own. At the age of sixty nine she married Jacob Izaak de Villiers who had a farm at Noordhoek. He left one of his sons to run his farm and came to run the Fish Hoek Farm with her.

Previous owners of the farm had mainly wanted it for the fishing rights, but Hester de Kock, as she was then, cultivated fields of wheat and vegetables and it was probably Hester who built the barn, now Mountain View cottages, this is the oldest building in Fish Hoek. As the farm expanded more water was needed so in 1902 she bought the water rights to the Kleintuin spring at Clovelly and pipes were laid to bring the water to Fish Hoek to irrigate the fields and supply the farmhouse.

The first official grant of land at Fish Hoek was made in 1818, by Lord Charles Somerset. One of the stipulations in that grant was that the beach should remain open to the public but as it was not easy to access the number of visitors was small. However, the building of the railway line changed that. It was now easy for the citizens of Cape Town to get on the train to Simon’s Town, get off at the Fish Hoek station, and walk, and perhaps picnic, on the beach. Izaak de Villiers kept a strict eye on them, any rowdy behaviour or leaving of litter and they would be immediately reprimanded. Talking to visitors it soon became obvious that many of them would like to be able to stay in the area. So Hester de Villiers started letting rooms in the farmhouse and, when this became popular converted the barn and the coach house to rooms. Uitkyk, the building on the site of the old whaling station, was converted to a holiday cottage and camping was allowed next to the barn. So it was that Hester de Villiers became our first Fish Hoek tourist entrepreneur.

Having no children of her own it seems that Hester had come to regard the eight children of Izaak’s first marriage as her own. In her will she left the farm to her husband but asked that on his death the land should be sold and the proceeds divided equally between all her step children but the farmhouse was left to her two step daughters. She left a sum of £150 “to be placed in the savings bank at Cape Town and used for the maintenance of the family cemetery”. She died in 1914 and Izaak in 1916. They are both, with other members of the family, buried in the family cemetery which is now beside the Dutch Reformed church in Fish Hoek, whose members look after it.

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

 

The Best Outdoor Activities in Cape Town 2018

The Best Outdoor Activities in Cape Town 2018

Immerse yourself in the Cape’s wondrous beauty.

As urbanised as our species has become, and as much joy as we get from our devices, we have always felt innately drawn to the great outdoors. It’s where we started, where we’ve spent the majority of our history – and it’s the only place where deep, soul-level relaxation takes place.

The human brain is wired to be outside, and though scientific research supports the notion that being in nature is good for our psychological health, we don’t need the data to know that being outside feels great.

Boasting a diverse topography and natural beauty that is the envy of the world, the Cape is bursting with ways to experience the great outdoors. Here are some of the best outdoor activities in Cape Town.

For more information

Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals alike are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crimes and accidents do happen.

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

MCSI Big Safety Day Out

MCSI Big Safety Day Out

MCSI’s BIG SAFETY DAY OUT promises to be fun for the whole family – so plan an afternoon at the beach and look out for all the action…

It’s the beach AND there’ll be loads of entertainment for kids and grown-ups!
What’s not to love?

MCSI’s BIG SAFETY DAY OUT promises to be fun for the whole family – so plan a day at the beach on
Saturday 16 December and look out for all the action…

Proudly hosted by MCSI with grateful assistance from Lisle (SAM9 EMS),
Grant (GM96 EMS) and Vaughn (NSRI Station 16) and partners…

More Information

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

Shoals of yellow tail in False Bay may attract great white sharks

Shoals of yellow tail in False Bay may attract great white sharks

From: City of Cape Town

13 November 2017

The first large shoals of yellow tail for the summer were spotted in False Bay over the weekend. The City of Cape Town wants to remind beach goers that the presence of great white sharks increases in in-shore areas with the arrival of yellow tail and higher water temperatures.

In-shore shark activity usually increases over the summer months, especially with the current yellow tail sightings.

‘Shark sightings typically start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings being reported mid-summer. With the school holidays around the corner and warmer days ahead, I want to urge Capetonians and visitors to please take extra care when going into the ocean. Shark spotters and the Fish Hoek exclusion net are important safety measures, but the best precaution is to be alert and aware when in the water,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

As we are approaching mid-summer, the City appeals to all beach goers to familiarise themselves with the following safety tips:

  • Use beaches where shark spotters are on duty
  • Take the time to speak to the shark spotters on the day you visit the beach
  • Use the shark spotters signs to familiarise yourself with the four-flag warning system and warning siren – the green flag indicates that spotting conditions are good; the red flag indicates that there is a high risk of in-shore shark activity; the black flag means spotting conditions are poor; and the white flag with the black shark indicates a shark has been spotted (a siren will sound and all should leave the water immediately)
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski where trek-netting, fishing or spear-fishing is taking place
  • Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
  • Do not swim if you are bleeding
  • Do not swim near river mouths
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
  • Obey beach officials, lifeguards and shark spotters if told to leave the water
  • Be aware that the rate of encounters with white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ºC or higher) and during new moon, due to increased opportunities for feeding
  • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area where no shark spotters are present, consider using another beach for the day
  • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea, please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
  • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
  • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches

Surfers must be especially vigilant in the areas between Sunrise Beach and the Macassar Beach during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that shark presence in these waters is extremely common at this time of year.

The Shark Spotters information centre at Muizenberg Surfers Corner is open to the public from 08:00 until 18:00 seven days a week. The centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and help with emergencies, and storage of valuables and lost property.

Shark spotters are present at the following beaches:

Beach Summer (October-April) Winter
Muizenberg Surfers Corner Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
St James/Kalk Bay Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Fish Hoek Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:45
Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Caves, Kogel Bay Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
Noordhoek (The Hoek) Monday- Sunday
08:00 – 18:00
(September to May)
N/A
Cloverlly Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
08:00 – 18:00
N/A
Glencairn Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
08:00 – 18:00
N/A
Monwabisi Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
08:00 – 18:00
N/A

The Fish Hoek exclusion net has proven to be an effective shark safety measure by creating a physical barrier preventing any sharks from entering the bathing area. The exclusion net is in operation during the summer season as follows:

October 2017 School holidays and weekends
November 2017 – March 2018 The net will operate on a daily basis, depending on the weather. Weekends, public holidays and school holidays will be prioritized
April 2018 School holidays, public holidays and weekends

The exclusion net will not be deployed if weather conditions – wind and swell – are deemed unsuitable. Conditions are assessed on a daily basis. If weather conditions deteriorate after the net has been deployed already, the net may be removed as a precautionary measure. The net is not deployed when there is a high presence of whales or other marine mammals in the area.

On days that the exclusion net is deployed, the operating hours will be from 09:00 to 17:00. The operating hours may be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events. The Shark spotters will inform beach goers as and when the net is deployed via Twitter, Facebook, and the Shark Spotter mobile application (app).

Residents and visitors are urged to download the Shark Spotters mobile app to access the latest shark safety information, including what flag is flying at each beach, the latest shark sightings, net deployments, and much more. The app is available free of charge for Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded by searching for ‘Shark Spotters’ on the app store.

For more information on the latest shark sightings and research, please visit www.sharkspotters.org.za or follow the Shark Spotters on Twitter (@SharkSpotters) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SharkSpotters).

‘We encourage the public to report sightings of white sharks to the Shark Spotters. White sharks are present in our waters all year round and beach goers should be aware that there is always a small possibility of encountering one of these animals. Please remain vigilant while enjoying the ocean,’ said Councillor Herron.

More Information

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

 

Surfers Corner beach clean-up

Surfers Corner beach clean-up

Guidelines on cleaning the intertidal zone at the Corner:
We have been cleaning the intertidal zone at Muizenberg Corner every new moon since March 2015. The upper sandy shore/grass fringe is NOT part of the intertidal zone; we only want to collect litter from the rocky area that is usually under water when the tide is high.

Here are some tips on how to collect the litter you may find:

1. Get your eyes tuned into looking for unnatural objects – you’d be amazed at how you can overlook the plastic trapped between the rocks – particularly the transparent bits.
2. Plastic bags tend to get trapped between the rocks and are filled with sand. Please try to dig bags out without tearing them. This requires more patience and time but is ultimately rewarding – sit on your haunches and dig in!
3. If you find anything unnatural in an anemone please remove it and keep it in a separate container or pocket to be added to the anemone ingestion pile at the end. We have been scoring the pieces of plastic we find in them separately.
4. Try to wash out the sand and remove most living plants and animals that have settled on the plastic/glass/paper/clothing surface you collect.
5. If in doubt, ask an old hand!

Date: 18 November 2017

Time: 8:00–11:00

More Information

This Post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

Bike Bus from Open Streets on Bree

bike busThe Bike Bus from Muizenberg to Open Streets Cape Town on Bree will take place on the 17th January 2016. Riders will meet at the False Bay train station car park at 9:00am and cycle along main road all the way to town! The total distance is 26km.

Riders will join the Southern Suburb arm of the Bike Bus to Open Streets Bree 2016 at Josephine Mill in Newlands at 10am, and will cycle the rest of the way with them.

Information from Bicycle Cape Town’s Bike Bus page:
What you need to bring
– A bike in working order (take it to the bike shop for a check up if it hasn’t been ridden lately)
– Helmet and lights (if riding at night)
– A lock to secure your bike at your destination
– A pump + tube/repair kit
– A sense of fun and some friends too

* Please note that riders are responsible for their own safety while riding with the group, however one of the best things about the bike bus is safety in numbers. The more people who ride together, the higher the visibility the bike bus has, combined with careful route choice, responsible and alert riding, and the knowledge of more experienced cyclists, a bus can make riding to work pretty safe compared to cycling alone.

Muizenberg Festival

Muizenberg FestivalGrab the whole family (and the dog) and head to Muizenberg from Tuesday, 6 October to Sunday, 11 October 2015, for the annual Muizenberg Festival.
Muiz FestLocated in various spots in and around Muizenberg, the community-drive fiesta calls for all nature lovers, art fanatics and theatre-junkies to come and join in on the fun! Majority of the activities and events are free, but for some a small donation may be required, so bring with a bit of extra cash and support the creative initiative. Here is more on what you can expect at the 2015 Muizenberg Festival.

Yes, it’s shark season again

Warning__Shark_AHEAD_Wallpaper_ot03zThe City of Cape Town wants to make everyone aware of the expected increase in shark activity around the city’s beaches in spring and summer.

White sharks are present in our waters all year round and beach users should be aware that there is always a small possibility of encountering one of these animals.

“However, surfers are asked to be especially vigilant in the stretch between Sunrise and Macassar beaches during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that the shark presence in these waters increases at this time of year,” says Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

The Shark Spotters information centre is open daily to the public from 08:00 to 18:00.

Beach and ocean users should keep in mind that the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net was deployed on Sunday.

The exclusion net has proven to be an effective shark safety measure by creating a physical barrier that prevents sharks from entering the bathing area. It will be in full operation during the summer season.

The Shark Spotters will keep beach users informed about the deployment of the net via Twitter and Facebook.

Signage is also displayed when the net is deployed.

For more information on the latest shark sightings and research visit www.sharkspotters.org.za or the SharkSpotters page on Facebook or follow the Shark Spotters on Twitter (@SharkSpotters).

Earthwave Beach Festival for the Whole Family

Muizenberg Surf‘Earthwave Beach Festival’ is an annual event where fellow ocean-lovers come together and attempt to break the Guinness World Record (GWR) for ‘The Most Surfers on a Wave’.

This year Earthwave have decided to add another angle, one for the whole family to enjoy; they have gone ahead and registered the GWR attempt for ‘The World’s Largest Bikini Pararde’!

Earthwave have partnered with Good Times Events who will be looking after the Pavilion where there will be entertainment, music, a bar, food, exhibits, prize giving, comedians competitions and much much more.

Diarise the 27th September 2015 for the beach-lifestyle event of the year!