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The little seaside village of St James lies just past Muizenberg en route to Kalk Bay, set against the mountain with incredible sea views and one of the prettiest little beaches. St James’ beach – of the colourful beach huts – also has a large tidal pool, is very popular with locals, and in summer holidays is packed with a variety of people and their children. This is largely because the beach is so well sheltered from the notorious winds of Cape Town, but also because it offers safe swimming and is conveniently close to the Simon’s Town train line.
The residential suburb, very close to Rhodes’ cottage, is much sought after and many of the homes date back to the time when the Cape was a colony of the Victorian empire. St James is named after the St James Roman Catholic Church, built in 1858 for the Filipino fishermen of Kalk Bay, just up the road.
Danger beach, the other little beach of St James, was used in the whaling industry during the early 1800s, as a place to haul carcasses.
Kalk Bay is within walking distance and offers a further delightful ambling opportunity, through cobbled streets and a main road lined with an eclectic mix of antique and bookshops, restaurants, coffee bistros and clothing boutiques. Boyes Drive, which runs up above St James, offers further magnificent views over False Bay and is a wonderful spot from which to spot whales in season.
Kalk Bay, the unpretentious bohemian fishing village of Kalk Bay lies between the mountains and the sea, just 25 minutes’ from Cape Town.
Home to one of the last remaining working harbours in South Africa, not only can you meet the returning boats for the catch of the day at noon, but the little cobbled streets, appealing shops and at least 20 restaurants make this an easy place to while away the time and forget the fast pace of city living. Antique stores, second-hand book shops, art galleries and a thriving theatre have given rise to a real sense of community in Kalk Bay. Originally inhabited by shipwrecked seamen and deserters, the lively village takes its name from lime-burners, who used kilns to extract lime from sea shell deposits to use in building construction.
The 72-seater theatre/restaurant, built in 1876, on Main Road is housed in the old Kalk Bay Dutch Reformed church – a national heritage and protected building. The homes here are built on the mountain with sought-after harbour and False Bay views. Ambling through the noticeably English lanes is a treat all of its own as a number of famous South African families lived in the area or had holiday homes here, and timely renovations have revived the historical village.
The Simon’s Town train line stops right in Kalk Bay and there are four tidal pools for safe swimming. Continue on from here to Fish Hoek, or turn right sharply after driving through Kalk Bay from Cape Town, and head off up Boyes Drive for some spectacular views and whale watching.
Lakeside lies between the suburbs of West Lake and Muizenberg, with the rugged Steenberg, Mountain of stone, towering in the backdrop and the Zandvlei (sandy lake) in the foreground.
This is a highly sought after residential area and caters for a range of income levels, the upper end of which occupy homes along Bunker and Leicester Roads with superb views of the lakes, sea and the Hottentots-Holland Mountains in the distance. As you enter Lakeside, the Zandvlei trust has established a pavement garden that has not been without blooms since it was planted, and which indicates the edge of the wetlands. A quiet pathway passes a pond and there is a bench that overlooks the Nature Reserve.
Below Lakeside, the Zandvlei Lake offers a number of activities – yachting, windsurfing and canoeing – and there are glorious beaches within moments of Lakeside – Muizenberg and Boulders, home to one of Africa’s few land-based penguin colonies, provide some wonderful swimming opportunities – whilst Clifton, on the Atlantic side of the peninsular, offers wonderful people-watching opportunities when not swimming or sunbathing.
The Rondevlei Nature Reserve in Grassy Park is a wetland conservation area surrounded by coastal dunes, just minutes away, and there are great bird watching hides and various walks. You can even spot hippos and small wild animals in the reserve. And the M3 to the city centre is only moments away, offering a quick route into Cape Town where one can explore the avenues, bohemian stores and restaurants of Long Street, the V&A Waterfront, and trendy Kloof Street or take a guided walk or open-roof bus trip through the city.
The eclectic beach-side suburb of Muizenbergis a colourful mix of history, architecture, fantastic beaches and culture. Set in the heart of the southern suburbs of Cape Town, Muizenberg lies up against the mountain of the same name, en route from Lakeside to Kalk Bay.
False Bay’s beaches are synonymous with surfing and many of the fraternity would have cut their fins at this birthplace of surfing, so to speak. The colourful changing rooms grace many a postcard and the beaches stretch for miles – popular with families and one of the few beaches that demonstrates a noticeable integration of the different people of South Africa. Above Muizenberg there is a line of rugged, steep cliffs offering some superb rock climbing opportunities, although at certain times these cliffs are off-limits to protect birds’ nests.
There is a coastal walk from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay that includes the historical mile. This part of the walk features some wonderful historical buildings including the SA Police Museum, Natale Labia, Het Posthuys, which dates back to 1742 and is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa built by the Dutch East India Company as a toll house, and Rhodes Cottage. This is where Cecil John Rhodes spent his last days.
Muizenberg has her own theatre, in a similar fashion to Kalk Bay, and the Masque Theatre puts on a range of shows from ballet, through comedy, to jazz. Muizenberg’s Palmer Street is the heart of the old village, with small colourful homes, organic shops and restaurants and is an ideal spot to while away a Saturday morning.
Marina da Gama
Reminiscent of a Greek village, with its white homes and perpetually blue days, Marina da Gama is built on the eastern banks and the waterways of the quiet Zandvlei Lake – an inland salt water lake, connected to the sea.
Marina da Gama, built in the 1970s, is an enclosed residential area close to the popular beaches of False Bay to take advantage of the wonderful setting. Lying in the suburb of greater Muizenberg, in the shadow of the Muizenburg Mountain, Marina da Gama is practically self-sufficient. There are shopping centres just across the road from the development and the beaches of Muizenberg are within walking distance – providing some of the safest bathing in Cape Town. Rather like a mini Venice, it’s not unknown for residents to drop in on one another by boat at the marina development.
Views from Marina da Gama are beautiful and hours can be whiled away on the vlei’s banks, watching the bird life. If you must get away then there are many varied mountain walks and wild flowers to explore and the quaint little village of Kalk Bay is only a short drive away, where you can sample one of its many restaurants, trawl the antique and bookshops or buy fish at the harbour.
Cape Town’s city centre is about 25 minutes’ drive from Marina da Gama or you can alternatively catch the Simonstown train line. Visiting the Cape Point Nature Reserve involves a wonderful drive along the peninsula – the wild life and floral kingdom is worth the trip alone, and the beaches there are one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets.
For more information on Kalk Bay, St James and surrounds, consult with our Kalk bay office where you’ll be referred to a Property Specialist in every area.