Featuring places to visit in Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay, St James, Kommetjie, Noordhoek, Ocean View, Masiphumelele, Glencairn and Clovelly
Meandering about the Scenic South Peninsula
Roaming Ron’s blog
20 Jan – Muizenberg
Woke up at 5.30 this morning with the sun just rising over the Hottentots Holland Mts, looking crisp and clear over False Bay. Oh what a beautiful morning! Meandered down to the beach for a swim. What a beach! Miles and miles of golden sand – early morning dog walkers throwing balls for their pooches, fit young surfers jogging into the warm waters with their surfboards under their arms.! Were even guys with metal detectors wandering along the sand looking for hidden treasures while the fishermen poked around in the sand for theirs- white mussels for catching that big musselcracker later today. After a filling breakfast on the balcony of this first rate B& B overlooking the sea I sauntered around the village, chatting to patrons sipping coffee at some of the beach front cafes. Nice relaxed vibe. Thought I should catch up on some history so tootled off to the Het Posthuys Museum and Rhodes Cottage and to round off my enculturation I had an elegant tea at the Joan Lindbergh Foundation – good local art on exhibition. Sorry to have missed the classy classical musical performance this week. Anyhow, went to the Masque Theatre instead. Such fun – there are real talented folk at in this scenic south end of the peninsula!
22 Jan- St James and Kalk Bay
Another glorious sunrise. Had a pre breakfast swim at Dalebrook tidal pool along with a number of locals then wondered over to a super little place overlooking the sea where I had a good breakfast while watching the surfers getting stoked at Kalk Bay Reef. Had thought of catching the water taxi over to Simon’s Town but there are still so many interesting little shops that I did not have the time to browse through yesterday that this is what I did. Picked up some delightful unusual pieces. Could not resist a walk along the the Kalk Bay harbour wall to see what the locals were catching. Not much on the lines today but the brightly coloured fishing boats did come in later with loads of snoek. Such a buzz at the harbour – fish sellers, tourists, people working on the boats while great big seals gyrate in the water. Very colourful language…I learnt a whole new vocabulary! Spoilt my appetite for tonight’s dinner by enjoying a great plate of freshly fried fish and chips al fresco…the ambience under the summer sun was irresistible. Got my daily dose of culture wandering through the numerous art galleries. How differently artists interpret their surroundings! Meandered back to Muizenberg along the seafront path below the stately mansions of St James, enjoying the salt spray on my face and a sense of a day well spent.
23 Jan. Fish Hoek
Today just chilled! Took a good book and plonked myself down on Fish Hoek beach, the sky above me a cerulean blue, the crystal clear waves lapping gently on the beach. So much for reading! I spent the day watching people enjoying themselves- the Nippers and lifesavers training in the water and on the beach, body boarders weaving between the swimmers, surfskiiers and kayakers blissfully stroking through the water way beyond the waves. Wished I could be out there too! Highlight of the day was helping the treknetters to pull their nets in. What a crowd drawer! A great shoal of yellowtail was caught and those lucky enough to have money on them were able to buy a fish to take home to braai or fry. What fun the kids had rescuing the crabs and smaller fish and throwing them back into the ocean. Quite a spectacle! Decided I had to walk off my slothfulness so found my way to Peers Cave and then Tunnel Cave above it. Quite a slog up the sand dunes behind the Fish Hoek Sportfields but it was worth the effort. Wonderful views over the entire valley to Noordhoek, Kommetjie and False Bay from on top. Tomorrow I will visit Fish Hoek Museum to see what more I can found out about Fish Hoek Man and the original strandloper inhabitants of this area.
25 Jan. Fish Hoek
Spent yesterday at the Fish Hoek Museum, browsing through the shops at the Sun Valley and Longbeach Malls, saw a movie and had a wonderful massage. Took a walk up Elsies Peak from where I had a birds eye view of the entire Fish Hoek valley, the coastline to Muizenberg, Glencairn beach and valley and beyond to Simon’s Town and Cape Point way. All this from one little mountain! White horses played across the ocean but I found the strong south easter pleasant and refreshing. If the wind blows tomorrow I will walk up the mountain behind Clovelly and explore Boomslang Cave and Echo Valley.
26 Jan. Simon’s Town
Museum and the Naval Museum and enjoyed the walking tour along the Historical Mile. The visit to the Heritage Museum was most insightful and I could not help feeling a sense of loss for what could have been and should have been. Having had my fill of cerebral activity it was good to get out onto the water once more – this time kayaking along the coastline to Windmill beach with a group from Paddlers. Great to see Simon’s Town from a different perspective and enjoyed the antics of the seals that accompanied us along the way. Was hoping to see dolphins and sea otters but out of luck today. Still, the porky little penguins strutting up and down the rocks near Boulders Beach and swimming in inquisitive little groups past us more than made up for that. Also fascinating were the great granite boulders strewn along the shore line creating hazards for unwary boaters in deeper water. Tomorrow I will take my snorkel and goggles and mosey out from one of the small bays – I could see that there was a great diverse colourful world below the surface that called for closer scrutiny! Where to replenish my energy levels in a gastronomic manner was difficult- too much of a choice! Ultimately settled for a very nice meal at the little restaurant at the False Bay yacht club – most beautiful setting and great value for money. Tomorrow I shall make sure that I get a ticket onto the SAS Assegaai, a submerged submarine museum which I unfortunately was too late for today.
28 Jan. Cape Point
Ah, Cape Point! An extraordinary strip of lands end between two oceans. Was very glad that I had thought to come
here by bicycle – I saw so much while peddling along all the roads leading to the different bays and beaches, avoiding tortoises brazenly crossing my path! Was a little wary of the ostriches but like the many blesbok they paid me no attention. Not so the dassies who gawped at me from their rocky lookouts. Had a swim on the wild Atlantic side- could see why this coast is the resting place of many a ship!- and froze! But after a peddle to Buffels Bay was grateful to be able to plunge into the sea once more, the Indian Ocean a great deal warmer. Drying off on the grass I enjoyed watching the Chacma baboons trying to look unobtrusive as they sussed out the picnickers on the lawn. Luckily they did not cause too much chaos as the baboon monitors were soon hot on their heels. Such a pity that man has spoilt their interaction with these delightful creatures by feeding them. Good thing that there is such a big fine imposed on people caught doing just that. Became quite breathless riding up to the Point itself and then chose to walk to the lighthouse on top rather than take the funicular- so I had a good dose of exercise today.
Standing up at the lighthouse watching the waves crashing into the secluded bay far below I was awed once more by the powerful forces of nature that created this dramatic landscape. I could also see why earlier sailors thought that they were sailing into the Cape of Good Hope– False Bay, bracketed by lofty Cape Hangklip and the magnificent Cape Point with the extensive beaches of the Cape Flats between, still provides safe anchorage for ships in distress.
After a slow peddle back to my homely B&B in Scarborough I enjoyed a cold beer watching the sun dipping down into the restless ocean, fiery red in the evening light.
30 Jan . Kommetjie
Yesterday I cycled over to Kommetjie, the early morning air suffused with the salty scintillating smell of the ocean. Other cyclists intent on their training for the famous Argus Cycle Tour passed me by seemingly oblivious to the glorious scenery surrounding them. Serious surfers waxed up their boards chatting companionably as they prepared for a great session in the water near Crayfish factory while little fishing boats bobbed amongst the swells. Slangkop Lighthouse, the tallest cast iron lighthouse in South Africa stood starkly white against the blue ocean. Life in this little village of Kommetjie is lived at a slow pace, although when the surf is up you certainly see action! The Outer Kom “pumps”, providing an exciting spectacle for landlubbers content to watch their waveloving counterparts cutting back across the fronts of the great waves rolling in. I left my bike at the little restaurant where I had had a refreshing glass of juice and a delicious homebaked muffin and took a walk along the Kom to Long Beach and beyond. The cold current took the edge off the summer heat and it was a pleasant walk along with locals exercising their dogs and catching up on each other’s news. On the way back to fetch my bike I took a detour to visit the little Catholic chapel on the hillside where I was enchanted by the frescoes inside and the superb view over Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak from without. Spent the rest of the day enjoying the unspoilt beach at Scarborough.
31 Jan. Masiphumelele and Noordhoek
Today’s experience was quite unique. Setting off quite early I visited the snake park at Imhoff’s Gift, grateful that there was thick glass between me and the slithering reptiles! After browsing throught the delightful shops at the farm I went on to do a township tour with Veronica at Masiphumele. Despite the poverty, Masi rocks! Loud, vibrant, the narrow streets strewn with electricity wires, children playing, dogs foraging, fowls pecking, men peddling bicycles, women shopping at the small stalls selling basic essentials or seeing to the family’s laundry, taxis hooting, music thumping from their loudspeakers. A very different life from the one I know, living as I do fairly privately and isolated from my neighbours. The next few hours were in total contrast to those I spent in Masi. A brisk walk along Long Beach brought me to the wreck of the Kakapo lying embedded in the sand having stranded on the beach more that a century ago.
Apart from the horse riders enjoying the freedom of a gallop across the broad breadth of beach I was almost entirely alone. Unable to make up my mind as to whether I should stop under the shady milkwoods at the Red Herring Trading Post to satisfy the rumblings of my tum or to go on past the Noordhoek Common, rustic and restful, to the Noodhoek Farm Village, I did both. Feeling very slothful thereafter I decided it was too hot to walk up to the top of Chapman’s Peak but definitely have it on my list of things to do on my next visit to the Scenic South. Instead I took a drive along the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive constructed by Italian Prisoners of War, a stupendous feat of engineering. I pulled off into one of the viewpoints and marveled at the scene before me – towering mountains, crystal clear turquoise ocean, gliding seabirds. It took effort to draw myself away and make my weary way home.
1 Feb. Totsiens!
I packed my bags today, very reluctant to take my leave of the Scenic South, this beautiful southern tip of the Cape Peninsula, But, I will be back. There is still much on my list to see and do…
Catch of the Season – Jan Moran Neil lets us in on one of her best kept secrets – False Bay
There’s a place where two great oceans meet, the sea is only ever moments away, the fish you eat has only been caught hours before and the south east breezes blow the blues away, whilst the north west winds warmly embrace…Read further: