Muizenberg Cape Town – a surfer’s paradise….and a slightly eccentric spot to explore
Boasting over 36 km of white sandy beach this has got to be one of the prettiest spots in Cape Town. It is also home to the oldest Surf shops in out city. So, if you are into surfing, or learning to surf, or simply watching others surf……..this is the corner of Cape Town to head to. For those who are interested in surfing lessons check out www.learn2surf.co.za or www.garysurf.com. Note that the water is warmer here then on the Clifton/Camps Bay side of the mountain – making it a good stop for a dip in the ocean en route to Cape Point.
Muizenberg was originally a cattle farm and later become a VOC military outpost. The railway finally reached Muizenberg in 1822 leading to more development in the area. In 1795 the British invaded in Simons Town and this would lead to the Battle of Muizenberg in 1795 – a battle that the British won. After the discovery of Gold in the Witwatersrand in 1886, Muizenberg become a famous holiday resort for the wealthy Rand Lord. It is really interesting to visit Muizenberg to check out the architecture. Much of which today is a slightly faded grandeur. In more recent times, Muizenberg become quite a mixed area with many immigrants. Crime moved in and prices dropped. Today the prices of property in the area have been steadily rising and with it has come a reclaiming of the properties – renovations, painting, new stores, new restaurants…..etc. It is still one of the most cosmopolitan areas of Cape Town, it is still mixed, still quirky and attracts quite an artistic community to it. Yes, it is still slightly eccentric which is what makes exploring the area really fun. On the left is a picture of one of the gardens in the area around the main village.
Another reason to visit Muizenberg would be to explore the many quirky eccentric shops in the area and to stop for a bite to eat or simply to have a coffee, relax, watch the view and watch the people. Some ideas for places to have a bite would be:
The Empire Cafe – This is a quirky little cafe just across the railway lines from the sea. The secret is to secure a table upstairs so that you can enjoy the view of the ocean while you enjoy your coffee. To me this little spot sums up the slightly eccentric feel of Muizenberg. It offers a simple setting, with simple and delicious meals that are chalked up on their blackboard each day. www.empirecafe.co.za It is open 7 days a week during the day.
Carla’s – This little restaurant is directly next door to the empire cafe. It is owned by Carla who is only open in the evening and is famous for the most delicious prawns in Cape Town. Don’t take any friends who are not into prawns as her menu does not offer a lot of variety. The Prawns of from Mozambique (you do not find prawns off our coast – and Mozambique has the reputation for the best prawns in the Southern hemisphere) and are prepared in her secret and very delicious sauce. This is a popular local favourite – so it is essential that you book. Never just turn up – you will not get a table. They do not do a second seating – so an attempt to beg to wait for a table will definitely NOT be accommodated. Note that their winelist is limited – so you are welcome to take a bottle of something special along if you would like to. The corkage charge is not very high! Address: 7 York Street, Muizenberg. Tel no: +27-21-7886860
Knead Bakery – this is such an exciting new addition to Muizenberg. There is currently a trend in Cape Town of artisinal bakeries opening up around the city. Knead was born in Wembley Square just above the city and has been one of my favourite haunts for buying bread since it opened. The concept is to sell their bread as well as to present dishes for breakfast and lunch that use their products. The new store in Muizenberg is a wonderful spot to pop in for coffee, breakfast or lunch. The decor is glitzy and glam and lots of fun and the spot always has a vibe. It is located in one of the renovated buildings along the beachfront and is definitely worth a pitstop if you are in the area. Tel no: +27 (21) 788-2909 Location: On the beach in Muizenberg next to the parking lot.
Casa Labia Cultural Centre – Casa Labia was designed for Count Natale Labia as a Cape version of the gorgeous Palazza Labia in Venice. Over the years the family gathered a large art collection which was bequeathed to the City of Cape Town by the family as an art gallery for the people. A few years ago the city closed the museum and discontinued maintenance on the home. As such the Labia family decided to fight to get the building back and to re-open the gallery to the people of the country. After a revamp the building is looking fantastic. As such this is worth a stop on a visit to the peninsula to see the art and to visit the cafe in the building. Friends have all reported that the little cafe is fantastic and that the visit was a real highlight. The venue can be also be used for functions. The cafe runs daily specials that feature Italian classics made with fresh local ingredients. The menu changes regularly based on what is fresh and seasonal. Address: 192 Main Rd Muizenberg. Tel no: +27 (21) 788 6068
Finally – I would advise you to not just stay in the beach area – head off and try and find the little village centre of Muizenberg. Here there are little bars and cafes where you can stop for a beer and mix with the locals.
Enjoy your visit to the beach. A reminder to try and stay away from the area around 26 December and New Years day – it just gets too busy!!
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