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.

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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.

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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

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

 

Take a Closer Look at Kalk Bay

Kalk BayCape Town is a melting pot of different cultures, unique areas and amazing people. To highlight this, Cape Town Tourism have gone and continued to go to the heart of different neighbourhoods in and around this amazing city to discover what the locals love, what hidden gems lie beneath the surface and to uncover the true nature of each area.

In this video, they invite you to take a closer look at the quirky seaside town of Kalk Bay.

Original Source: The Love Cape Town Neighbourhood Series

Increased shark activity with the arrival of spring

Shark WarningThe City appeals to all beach and ocean users to be aware of the expected increase in in-shore shark activity over the spring and summer months. Typically, shark sightings start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings being reported in mid-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.

‘Please always remain alert while enjoying the ocean. I thank our City staff and our partner, the Shark Spotters, for all of the hard work that is currently underway to ensure that our residents can enjoy a safer beach experience,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

The Shark Spotters Information Centre at Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner is open to the public from 08:00 to 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 emergencies, storage of valuables and lost property.

In addition, the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will again be deployed for the annual Fish Hoek Spring Splash on 6 September 2015.

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 2015/2016 summer season.

On days that the exclusion net is deployed, the operating hours will be from 09:00 to17:00 and may occasionally be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events. The Shark Spotters will keep beach users informed about the deployment of the net via Twitter and Facebook, and signage is displayed when the net is deployed.

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).

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Fill a Bag, Win a Board

It’s that easy to win a surfboard in the Tuffy Beach Clean-Up competition. Fill a Tuffy bag with litter collected from your favourite beach and send the evidence to comps@zigzag.co.za, which will put you in line to win a brand new board sponsored by Firewire and Share the Stoke Foundation each month until the end of January 2016.

Chas Everitt False Bay will be keeping stock of Tuffy bags whilst the initiative is running at their Fish Hoek office for those that need them.  Contact Scott Tait on 076 156 2619 for more information.
TuffyAdFind out more about our Tuffy Beach Clean-Up competition – in which you can get rewarded for your good enviro-deeds by winning big.

Win

 

Dogs to be reined in on these 14 Cape beaches

Cape Town, renowned as a sun-worshiping hotspot, has become a hotbed of conflict between beachgoers who want a dog-friendly beach environment and those who complain about the negative impact of dogs on the city’s beaches.

The areas under consideration are detailed as follows:

Kommetjie – proposed change at Long Beach, Kommetjie from free-running to no dogs

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