The South African Navy’s earliest beginnings can be traced to the Port Elizabeth Naval Volunteer Brigade that was raised in 1861, but seems to have merged with a volunteer artillery unit in the following year. On 30 April 1885 a part-time unit named the Natal Naval Volunteers (NNV) was formed in Durban.

The SA Navy replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg and two strike craft. All three were built in Durban.

These men manned the six-inch guns that were to defend Durban from Russia, should she decide, as was feared, on a programme of expansionism. They served ashore in the South African War (1899 – 1902) and the Zulu Rebellion of 1906. The SA Navy has an unbroken link with the NNV, which later became the reserve unit SAS Inkonkoni. A similar unit, the Cape Naval Volunteers (CNV), later SAS Unitie, was formed in Cape Town in 1905, and on 1 July 1913 the two units formed the South African Division of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR).

During the First World War, South African Naval Volunteers served in the German South West African and German East African campaigns. South Africans served in the Royal Naval Air Service and contingents in British warships.

In 1921 a new RNVR base was established in Port Elizabeth (later SASDonkin) and in the following year another base was commissioned in East London (later SAS Port Rex).

SAS Inkonkoni, SAS Unitie, SAS Donkin and SAS Port Rex were four of the seven Naval Reserve units of the SA Navy. The others were SASRand in Johannesburg, SAS Magaliesberg in Pretoria and SAS Yselsteinin Simon’s Town. The Naval Reserve is being integrated with the Fleet as part of the new SA Navy force structure. The last reserve unit to close, in 2005, will be SAS Unitie.

South Africa’s first Permanent Force Navy, the SA Naval Service, was established on 1 April 1922. The first ships, a hydrographic survey vessel renamed HMSAS Protea and two minesweeping trawlers, renamed HMSAS Sonneblom and HMSAS Immortelle, were purchased by South Africa and they were to form the nucleus of the fledgling force.

HMSAS Immortelle, formerly HMS Eden of the UK Royal Navy, along with her sister HMSAS Sonneblom (ex HMS Foyle) and HMSAS Protea (formerly HMSCrozier), formed the nucleus of the fledgling navy.

Between 1933 and 1934, however, the Great Depression forced Government to return the ships and pay off all but two SANS officers and three ratings who were retained for survey work. The Royal Navy retained three officers, nine ratings and ten civilians to continue the training and supply of the RNVR (SA), which continued to operate.

In January 1940 South Africa established a new naval unit, the Seaward Defence Force, which was commanded by Rear Admiral G.W. Halifax, CMG. The Seaward Defence Force took over responsibility from the Royal Navy for operating the minesweepers, anti submarine services, and the other examination and signaling duties in South African waters.

During the Second World War, South Africa’s “little ships” earned an enviable reputation in the Mediterranean. It was said that “the discipline, morale and above all, the marksmanship of the 22nd Anti-Submarine guys, were unequalled in the inshore squadron.”

In South African waters our ships patrolled the entrances to our ports, escorted convoys between them, swept enemy mines and rescued more than 400 survivors from ships torpedoed by the many submarines operating in the area.

On 1 August 1942 the Seaward Defence Force and the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (South Africa) were amalgamated to form the South African Naval Forces (SANF) in which 10 332 officers and ratings served during the Second World War. At the peak period of the Second World War in 1944, the South African fleet consisted of 87 vessels. A total of 329 members of the SANF were killed in action or died in service and 225 awards for gallantry or distinguished service were bestowed on South African sailors.

Twenty-six battle honours were confirmed on our ships, three of which served in the Far East.

The SA Woman’s Auxiliary Naval Service was established in October 1943. About 280 “SWANS” served as harbour defence operators and in administrative posts.

A total of 2 937 officers and ratings were seconded to the Royal Navy, so that our sailors took part in nearly every major naval operation in the Second World War, as well as performing all manner of obscure duties from minesweeping off the Faroe Islands to hydrographical surveying in Chinese waters.

They served in the convoys to Russia, were present at the Normandy landings on D-Day and many of them served in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. During this time, South Africa’s sailors showed that they were as good as the best in the world and established a proud fighting tradition.

At the end of the war, South Africa received three Loch Class frigates: HMSAS Good Hope, HMSAS Natal and HMSAS Transvaal. HMSAS Natalachieved a war record when she sank the German submarine U714 whilst still on trials off St Abb’s Head on 14 March 1945.

On 1 May 1946 the SANF was reconstituted as part of the Union Defence Force with compliment of 60 officers and 806 men. Its fleet consisted of the three Loch Class frigates, two boom defence vessels (HMSAS Barbrake and HMSAS Barcross), one minelayer (HMSAS Spindrift) and 12 harbour defence motor launches. In 1947 the Algerine Class ocean minesweepers HMSAS Bloemfontein (ex HMS Rosamund) and HMSAS Pietermaritzburg (ex HMS Pelorus) arrived, both of which were commissioned in September that year.

In 1951 the SA Naval Forces became the SA Navy (SAN) and had grown to 132 officers and 1 499 men. Around this time, the V&W destroyers SAS Jan van Riebeeck (ex HMS Wessex), SAS Simon van der Stel (ex HMS Whelp) and the Type 15 frigate SAS Vrystaat (ex HMS Wrangler) were added to the fleet.

The Ton Class minesweeper SAS Windhoek, one of ten acquired in terms of the Simon’s Town Agreement, conducts seamanship exercises (light jackstay) with a sister ‘sweeper. The brown nutria worn by the ship’s company dates the photograph to the early ’80s when nutria replaced the traditional action working dress “blues”. Nutria was later to be phased out, to be again replaced by the familiar (and more popular) blue.

During the Second World War, 78 South Africans were also seconded to the Royal Marines. The SA Corps of Marines was formed in 1951 and was composed of coast and anti aircraft artillery regiments. When coastal artillery became obsolete in 1955, the Corps was disbanded.

In 1955 the Simon’s Town Agreement was signed by Great Britain and South Africa. In terms of this agreement, the SA Navy expanded and the Simon’s Town base and Naval Dockyard were handed over to South Africa on 1 April 1957. The SA Navy’s main naval base moved from Durban to Simon’s Town and Naval Headquarters moved to Simon’s Town from Pretoria where it remained until 1976 when it moved back to Pretoria.

In terms of this agreement, the SA Navy was to also acquire three new Type 12 (modified Rothesay Class) anti submarine frigates, ten Ton Class minesweepers and five Ford Class seaward defence boats.

Other acquisitions included the tugs De Noorde (1961) and De Neys(1969) – the first tug in South Africa to be fitted with the then revolutionary Voith Schneider propulsion system – plus the torpedo recovery vessel, SAS Fleur, the first warship ever to be designed and built in South Africa (1969). The Navy’s largest vessel, the replenishment vessel SAS Tafelberg, the former Danish merchant tanker Annam, was commissioned after extensive refit in Durban in August 1967. She had the distinction of being the first ever ship designed in Denmark with the aid of a computer. In 1970, the arrival of the SAS Maria van Riebeeck heralded the birth of the submarine branch with three French-built Daphne Class submarines. The SASEmily Hobhouse and SAS Johanna van der Merwe were to arrive shortly afterwards. Further orders for submarines and corvettes were cancelled as a result of the United Nations led arms embargo against South Africa in 1977. May 1972 saw the arrival of the purpose-built hydrographic survey vessel SAS Protea and, in 1981, the River Class mine countermeasures vessels joined the fleet.

The Marines were re-established as a branch of the SA Navy in 1979 to protect South Africa’s harbours against attacks from land or sea. They were also deployed in South West Africa (Namibia), where they manned the twin-hulled harbour patrol boats and Vredenburg boats patrolling the Zambezi from Katima Mulilo. The Marines served in an infantry role on the Border until 1988 and were employed in counter-insurgency operations in South African townships in support of the South African Army. In September/October 1988 the Navy’s largest and most successful peacetime exercise, Exercise Magersfontein, was held at Walvis Bay. The Navy demonstrated its ability to conduct operations far from its normal bases and revealed its amphibious capability by landing marines in Delta boats from SAS Tafelberg.

The Border conflict ended in April 1989 and was followed by comprehensive rationalisation programmes in all arms of the South African Defence Force. The Navy’s tiny share of the defence budget had dropped even further, but with the need for new ships now critical. To retain a new ship procurement programme and effect the financial cutbacks, the Navy elected to disband the Marines, some of its shore establishments and retrench 23 percent (2 258) of its personnel.

The Strike Craft Flotilla (based at SAS Scorpion in Durban) was commissioned in 1980 with missile-carrying fast attack craft. Based in Durban, these small, fast and lethal ships, armed with surface-to-surface guided missiles, two 76 mm guns and smaller close-range weapons, formed the backbone of the Navy’s surface strike power.

Three strike craft were to be purchased from Israel with the remaining six being built at the Sandock Austral shipyard in Durban.

Sandock Austral was also to build what was the largest, most sophisticated vessel ever designed and built in South Africa, the replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg. She was launched in August 1984 and arrived in Simon’s Town in November 1987.

A subsequent major purchase was that of the Ukraine built Juvent, renamed SAS Outeniqua on commissioning in the SA Navy in 1993. The Outeniqua replaced the by then decommissioned SAS Tafelberg, but in turn decommissioned in 2004.

On Freedom Day, 27 April 1994, the SA Navy and the rest of the South African Defence Force (SADF) became part of the new SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and its personnel assisted with South Africa’s first democratic election. The need to reduce defence expenditure and improve the effectiveness of the SANDF resulted in the transformation of South Africa’s armed forces. In 1999 the much smaller Navy Office of the Ministry of Defence replaced the Naval Headquarters. The operational head, formerly Chief of Naval Operations, became Flag Officer Fleet and shifted his flag to Simon’s Town. All the flotillas were disbanded and placed under his command. Their administration and logistic functions were entrusted to a general support base, Naval Base Simon’s Town. All but one of the Strike Craft names were changed to honour famous South African warriors and the names of the submarines were changed to SAS Spear (previously SAS Maria van Riebeeck), Umkhonto (previously Emily Hobhouse) and Assegaai(previously Johanna van der Merwe).

Today the SA Navy recalls its origins with pride and confidently provides a professional and cost-effective maritime deterrent in times of war and a large variety of tasks in time of peace.

The South African Navy is currently rebuilding its fleet with the procurement from Germany of four new patrol corvettes and three new submarines. Three strike craft, three mine countermeasure vessels, an auxiliary vessel and several smaller craft are still in service.

 

Source credit: www.navy.mil,za

Clear, blue skies and long, warm evenings is a standard feature of Cape Town’s long summer that stretches from as early as October and into March. It’s the sort of summer that you’d think wouldn’t require much preparation at all, save an extra pair of flip flops and perhaps, a fancy swimsuit. But, there’s plenty more to know about summer in the Mother City. Such as that the average daytime spans a glorious 15 hours and that the South Easter – the prevailing summer wind – can sometimes gust at 60 kilometres per hour at its strongest. Here are a few ways you can truly prepare for your visit:

Your checklist

The temperature

Cape Town’s summer is something akin to Mediterranean, meaning it’s dry and often fairly windy with breathtakingly blue skies to admire and which lasts from November through to March. The average day temperature during summer is a balmy 23 degrees Celsius, but it can often get as high as 35 degrees Celsius and if a Berg wind blows (from the inland Karoo desert), you’ll see temperatures soar closer to 40 degrees Celsius.

On your checklist: Pack summer clothes and that swimsuit

The wind

Wind is certainly a feature of summer in Cape Town. The prevailing wind direction comes from the the south east, blowing off the cool ocean and making the hotter days in Cape Town more bearable. Known as the Cape Doctor, it blows most during January and February and is well-loved by wind sports enthusiasts, such as kite surfers. The Cape Doctor can have you reaching for a cardigan or light jacket, even when temperatures are on the hot side, so be sure to keep one handy when you head out. If you’re looking to spend time outdoors out of the wind, then head over to Hout Bay beach, or one of the Clifton beaches.

On your checklist: Pack a light jacket or two

summer in cape town

The sun

It’s no secret that the African sun can be harsh, so don’t forget to apply a layer of sun block before spending any amount of time outdoors and be sure to reapply half way through the day. A hat and of course, keeping well hydrated, will also help those unaccustomed to the persistent heat to cope more effectively.

On your checklist: Buy sun block, a hat and some water

Water scarce

Cape Town is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history. The city is open for business and welcoming visitors, and this year’s winter rains brought much-needed relief, but the region is still water-stressed. We need everyone to help by being water-wise when visiting Cape Town. We need you to save like a local, and keep your usage to under 70 litres per day.

On your checklist: Stay waterwise.

The outdoors

One of the best things about Cape Town is its range of amazing natural spots in which to picnic, enjoy the glorious views and explore. Whether it be on one of the many pristine beaches in Cape Town or at a mountainside stop, be aware that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

On your checklist: Always keep your belongings safe when visiting the beach

Boyes Drive hiker

Giving tips

Every city has its own rules. Luckily in Cape Town, these are straightforward. When tipping your waiter at a restaurant, a tip of about 10% of the bill is considered fair. Official car guards in the CBD will charge R3.40 for the first 15 minutes, and a flat hourly rate thereafter. Tipping car guards outside of the city centre is also acceptable, and usually at your discretion.

On your checklist: Carry loose change and smaller notes

Getting from A to B

If you’re moving around in the CBD, take in the sights and vibe of Cape Town’s city bowl by setting out on foot. This will mean a fair amount of walking, so make sure you have a comfortable pair of shoes packed. And when it comes to longer distances, there are several transport options including  Uber, MyCiti Bus, railway services and bus systems.

On your checklist: A pair of comfortable walking shoes

Safety first

We know that Table Mountain looks easy to scale and who could resist taking advantage of an easy hike on a beautiful day? However, it’s important to take heed that the climb up – and down – calls for proper planning especially as the temperature is always a few degrees colder and that weather is prone to sudden changes at the top.

On your checklist: Good hiking shoes, plenty of water and a jacket.

 

Source Credit: www.capetown.travel

Conversation about Africa’s Big Five centers on the 5 most iconic species of the continent: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. But did you know that the vast ocean surrounding the southern tip of Africa is home to its own flagship species?

The Marine Big Five are the whale, shark, seal, penguin and dolphin. South Africa offers exceptional oportunities to view these animals all across the Western Cape Province from the Garden Route to Cape Town itself. These are the most popular sea animals of Southern Africa and ticking all five off your list is a must-do for any holiday to this beautiful country.

The Marine Big 5

  1. The African Penguin
  2. The Cape Fur Seal
  3. Dolphins
  4. Southern Right Whales
  5. The Great White Shark

Atil

5. The African Penguin

This diminutive creature, dapper in black and white plumage, has recovered from the brink of extinction. There are a few well established colonies dotted around the Western Cape of South Africa; Dassen Island, St Croix Island, Robben Island, Bird Island, Dyer Island and Boulders beach.

While St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay boasts the largest population in the world, and Robben Island is perhaps the most famous habitat for these birds, Boulders Beach is undoubtably the most memorable.

Paul Mannix

The penguin colony at Boulders Beach boasts almost 3000 birds so, whether walking the board walk or heading down to the beach, you are guaranteed sightings year round. Located in Simon’s Town roughly 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, Boulders has been rated as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Unique Beaches.

In addition to the spectacular views across False Bay, visitors to this sheltered cove can not only get close to the penguins but actually swim with them! And if this kind of close encounter with the avian kind leaves you hankering after a more intimate experience, Sanccob, a penguin rehabilitation centre in Simon’s Town, offers private tours and voluntourism opportunities.

4. The Cape Fur Seal

John Mason

The Cape Fur Seal, famous for its soft brown fur, can be seen from Namibia, all the way down the west coast and past Cape Town as far as Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town they are a real tourist attraction at Hout Bay and Kalk Bay harbours and get a fair bit of attention at the V&A Waterfront too.

There is something comical about these lugubrious looking sea giants, sunning themselves and flumping about on their clown-shoe flippers. But its as they plop off dry-land and into the water that you get a sense of the playfulness, agility and speed of these aquatic mammals.

David Stanley

With this in mind I was thrilled to learn that you can actually go snorkelling with seals. Diving with Seals happens on the Atlantic side of Cape Town at Duiker Island in the Karbonkelberg marine protected area (part of Table Mountain National Park). The cooler waters of the Atlantic, shallow kelp forests and comparatively low number of seals (only 5000) mean that this is the perfect spot to interact with these wild animals.

While cautious on land, seals are famous for their curiosity under water.  They are known to approach humans and even swim alongside scuba divers. The trip from Hout bay is short and easy and the area, i am assured, is shark free! What better way to get to know these aquatic acrobats?

Tim Sheerman-Chase

If you’d rather not get into the water with the seals there are boat trips to many of the seal colonies dotted along the coast. Gansbaai is popular as a hub for all marine viewing and Geyser rock adjacent to shark alley is home to roughly 60,000 Cape fur seals. If that is a little small for you then you need to head for Kleinzee on the West Coast. Just north of Kleinzee is the largest on-land seal colony in South Africa boasting over 350 000 seals!

Jolene Thompson

3. Dolphins

Dolphins are synonymous with the ocean space and no trip is complete without at least one dolphin sighting. Luckily with the rich marine biodiversity along South Africa’s coastline you are sure to tick this one off your list fairly quickly! These aquatic mammals can be seen in both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, jumping in and out of the surf or on a specialist dolphin tour.

While South Africa is home to over ten dolphin species, the ones that you are likely to see swimming close to shore are the famous Bottlenose Dolphin, the Long-Beaked Common Dolphin and the shy Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin.

No other marine mamal inspires as much excitment and joy as they cavort through the water. The sardine run, which takes place between May and July, is a great time to see dolphins as they gather en mass to take advantage of the abundance of food. You can see pods of dolphins working together to herd the sardines into a “baitball”, which they push to surface and then feed on, a lot like sheep dogs herding sheep.

A less season specific option is to take a trip out to Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route. Plettenberg Bay has plenty of land-based viewing options but also opportunities to get really close by taking a boat cruise or, for those feeling a little more adventurous, a kayak tour into the big blue.

Jolene Thompson

South Africa has some of the best regulations controlling interactions with sealife and because human interactions adversely affect them, swimming with dolphins is strictly firbidden.

2. Southern Right Whales

Mazzali

At 16 meters in length, the shear size of these ocean giants is enough to drop anyones jaw. All along South Africa’s Western Cape coastline, between June and December,  whales can be seen as they move into the warmer  shallow waters to calve. The Whale Route includes various bays along the Garden Route and stretches from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas.

Sheltered bays like False bay and Hermanus are nurseries to the endangered Southern Right and Humpback Whales who can be seen playing, often a stones throw away from the shore.

Rolf Kleef

Southern Right whales, so named because they were considered to be the “right’ whales to hunt, migrate up from the cold waters of the antarctic to the warmer conditions of South Africa’s beautiful coastline. Here they can be seen playing just off shore, nurturing their young, waving their fins or bobbing their tails and, if you are lucky, you migt even get to see one of these 60 ton giants breaching out of the water to make a tremendous splash.

South African Tourism

Just over an hour and a half from Cape Town is the coastal town of Hermanus. It is one of the best places in the world for land based whale watching and boasts over 12km of cliff path walking where in places, whales can be seen from only a few meters away.

Hermanus is also host to the now famous Whale Crier, who announces the arrival of whales in the bay by blowing on his kelp horn. Considering that these gentle giants were once hunted to the brink of extinction it is a marvel to see them flourishing.

1. The Great White Shark

Isabel Sommerfeld

Top of the marine foodchain the Great White Shark unquestionably holds the number 1 spot. The largest fish species on earth, adult sharks reach between 4.5 and 6 meters in length, weigh about 2 and a half tons and can swim at almost 25km and hour … did I mention the several rows of ever regenerating serrated teeth?

The combination of speed, agility and raw power of the Great White make it a fearsome and feared predator AND a hot favourite for any sea safari.

Seeing the apex predator of the marine kingdom up close is without a doubt one of the most thrilling and humbling animal encounters on the planet. The Western Cape is one of the best places to see Great White Sharks at daringly close range, with hotspots including Seal Island in Mossel Bay, Dyer Island and Geyser Rock near Gansbaai, and the infamous Seal Island in False Bay, which is home to the “flying” Great White Sharks.

With impeccable ‘safety first’ regulations it is now more accesible than ever to get below the surface and into the sharks natural environment.

John Mason

Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list very little is known about these predators. Public opinion towards sharks is changing and companies like Marine Dynamics, operating out of Gaansbaai, run eco-tourism oportunities where conservation is at the heart of all activities. This means that your adrenaline pumping experience with the Great White contributes directly to the science of keeping them sfae and protecting white shark populations.

 

Source credit: www.africanbudgetsafaris.com

Book your accommodation now for the annual Penguin Festival in Simon’s Town on Saturday, 10 November, to celebrate African Penguin Awareness Day!

Get 10% discount on Bed & Breakfast: give reference – “Penguin Festival” to claim.

From kids and foodies to birders and conservationists, there’s something for everyone.

General admission is FREE and entry into the Kids’ Zone is R50.

This special day is dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin, the only penguin endemic to the African continent. All proceeds go to SANCCOB’s year-round African penguin conservation work.

More information: www.sanccob.co.za

More about the African Penguin:

African Penguin

Spheniscus demersus

African penguinWhen you think of penguins, you may picture them surrounded by snow and ice. However, there is one species of penguins that is acclimated to warmer climates. African penguins live in colonies on the coast and islands of southern Africa.

Also called jackass penguins, they make donkey-like braying sounds to communicate. They can dive under water for up to 2.5 minutes while trying to catch small fish such as anchovies and sardines. They may also eat squid and crustaceans.

The African penguin averages about 60 cm (2 ft.) tall and weighs up to 3.6 kg (8 lb.). Their short tails and flipper-like wings that help them navigate in the water, while their webbed feet help propel them.

To keep dry and insulated in cold water, African penguins are covered in dense, water-proof feathers. These feathers are white on the belly and black on the back, which aids in camouflage. Their white belly will blend with the light when predators look up at them from below, and their black backs meld with the darker seas when predators look down on them from above.

African penguins breed within their colonies; they do not travel to give birth. The penguins nest in burrows they dig out of their own excrement, called guano, or in areas under boulders or bushes. Recent removal of the guano for fertilizer has forced the penguins to change their habits and nest primarily under bushes and boulders. Their nests protect eggs and chicks from the sun and from predators like cats and seagulls. Eggs are laid in pairs and both parents help incubate them. Both parents also feed the newly-born chicks. After 2-4 years, the chicks will mature and lay their own eggs.

African penguins

Conservation Status

African penguins can live for an average of 10-15 years, however many do not reach their full life span, and populations have been steadily decreasing. The loss of nesting places due to guano removal has contributed to the population decline as well as a decrease of food due to overfishing and pollution. As such, African penguins are now considered endangered by IUCN’s Red List. This means there is a high risk they may become extinct.

What You Can Do to Help

If you would like to help the African penguin, you can volunteer, donate, or adopt a penguin through the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.

African Penguin Distribution

African penguin distribution map

African penguins live in colonies on the coast and islands of southern Africa.

Source credit: animalfactguide.com

 

 

 

 

Muizenberg is a small town outside Cape Town and one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. A largely untapped tourist spot, it’s hard to believe Muizenberg is best known for being one of the most popular beaches with one of the most active surfing communities in South Africa. This beachside suburb supports crowded streets and a bustling beach during the holiday season as locals flock to enjoy this little shoreline town. Though the beach is the main attraction, there’s  more to Muizenberg than just sand and water, there’s plenty of surf shops, restaurants and coffee shops located just along the main beach. With a strong colonial history, Muizenberg has great  historical attractions along with local hotspots for the travelers who are looking to veer off the tourist map and get the most authentic experience. Here are 9 things to do while visiting Muizenberg Beach.

9. Karaoke at The Brass Bell

The Brass Bell is a nearby restaurant and pub located in the trendy harbor of Kalk Bay. Easily accessible by train and located right next to the Kalk Bay train station, it is a must-do for Muizenberg travelers. The Brass Bell has a unique setting as it sits right up along the water, nestled in the tidal pool walls. During the day, visitors should head to the outdoor terrace dining area for an enjoyable meal, take in the views of water and listen to the sounds waves crashing up along the shore. At night the bar below has large windows looking out onto the rolling waves creating an atmosphere unlike any other! For the best experience, go on a Wednesday night as the restaurant attracts a rowdy crowd for karaoke. Be sure to sign up early because on busy nights the wait to get up on stage can be long. It’s a great spot to meet locals and backpackers who stop in for the night while passing through to neighboring towns.

Photo by: Brass Bell Restaurant

8. Het Posthuys

Located on what is known as the ‘historical mile’ along Mainroad in Muizenberg, Het Posthuys is the oldest standing building on the False Bay coastline. It is a must-see for those who are interested in South Africa’s early colonial history. This place has a unique story you’ll want to hear. Built in 1962 by the Dutch after Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Cape Town, Het Posthuys means “post house” in Dutch and has served many purposes throughout the years. In the early days it was a lookout post to prevent illicit trading, then later a naval storage facility, ale and eating house and finally a personal residence. In the 1980’s the building was restored, but still retains many of its defining historical characteristics now operating as a museum. Decked out with old memorabilia from the Battle of Muizenberg and historic photos from the past, it’s a great place to go on a rainy day or even fulfill a morning venture. The museum operates from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 2 pm and here’s the bonus: admission is free! It is now run by volunteers so it’s best to call ahead before visiting.

Photo by: Debbielouise via Wikimedia Commons

7. Rhodes Cottage Museum

This building was built as a tribute to Cecil John Rhodes and is located just down the road from the Het Posthuys museum on the historical mile. As a British empire-builder, Rhodes was a prominent figure in South Africa’s early history, a jack of all trades involved in the mining industry and local politics. This cottage served as his private retreat where he spent his last days before he died in 1902, when he was one of the richest men in the world. This seaside cottage sits upon a hill overlooking False Bay with a beautiful English garden full of items commemorating his life, the house even still contains some of his old furnishings! The volunteers that run this museum are well versed in its history and happy to answer the questions of visiting tourists. You will even be greeted with a hot cup of tea. Hop from one museum to another and see both in one day. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm with admission by donation.

Photo by: Lennon Fletcher via Wikimedia Commons

6. Hangout at Knead Bakery & Cafe

Knead is a chic cafe located on ‘surfer’s corner’ along Muizenberg beach. This cafe and bakery stands out from the surrounding rural surf town, but is a great spot to stop for lunch while hanging out at the beach. It’s also one of the best spots to grab a cup of coffee. With a luxurious interior, there’s a glass enclosed patio offering direct views of the beach and surrounding mountains. It’s a popular spot to stop in for a quick meal, or pick up some tasty freshly baked goods, either way you’re sure to be satisfied. The food is well presented and carefully prepared, here visitors can feast on cheap, but fancy artisan food. You can’t find a meal like this anywhere else in Muizenberg!

Photo by: Knead Bakery & Cafe

5. Mzoli’s Place

Mzoli’s place is one of the biggest and best secrets on this list of things to see and do in Muizenberg. You won’t find a high dollar meal here, this open air restaurant serves various grilled meat options to visitors at plastic tables and chairs. This place is actually a butchery, but has become somewhat of an entertainment venue supporting vibrant parties and live music for locals and international visitors. You’ll want to go on a Sunday because that is when this place comes alive attracting an average of 250 people by mid afternoon. This is the place to come for a true local experience. Known for its meat which is braaied (barbecued) right on the spot with signature spices and herbs. Patrons must bring their own cutlery and beverages. It is not recommended to travel here alone, Mzoli’s is located in a township in Guguletu where poverty is rampant and there is potential for crime, so travel safely and with others.

Photo by: Cape Town

4. Visit the Blue Bird Garage Market

The Blue Bird Garage Market is the cornerstone of the community. Known as the ‘Friday market’ because it kicks off each weekend, open only on Friday evenings from 4 pm till 10 pm. This old postal plane hanger comes alive with vendors from nearby towns and their locally made goods. It offers a collection of fresh food from various cultures that is cooked right in front of you! Talk about great service. There is live music, an array of decadent homemade desserts and pastries for sale, along with handcrafted jewellery and clothing. You’ll get a real local experience at this market and a chance to take home some truly one of a kind gifts and goods. You’ll find great gifts and memorabilia for yourself or loved ones back home that can’t be found in any tourist gift shop. There’s no entry fee to this market, so make sure to check it out!

Photo by: Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market

3. Go to Muizenberg Beach

There’s more than one reason Muizenberg beach was deemed one of the best swimming spots in Cape Town. For beginners, its turquoise waters are surrounded by a towering mountain creating the most majestic scenery. Also, because of its location within a secluded bay, the waters here are much warmer, ideal for swimmers and surfers. Muizenberg beach is located on False Bay, a curved coastline that is so large that sailors used to mistake it for Table Bay, the harbor front on the Atlantic seaboard in Cape Town. The beach is lined with brightly colored Victorian change houses which act as a reminder of Muizenberg’s long history as one of Cape Town’s best beach spots. It should be noted that False Bay is a popular spot for Great White sharks, although few incidents have occurred, there is a shark spotter program in place to protect swimmers and surfers who flock to the beach in the summer months. The program is supported by color coded flags that are changed based on the ever-changing water conditions to inform swimmers about their safety. With generally calm waters, and a flat open beach this is the ideal spot for families with children.Muizenberg Beach

2. Hike Up Muizenberg Mountain

There are a few different hikes to choose from when climbing Muizenberg mountain, each offering something different, from forest walks to gentle inclines, steep slopes with beautiful views and even rocky walls for experienced climbers. Muizenberg mountain is not as challenging or well known as Table Mountain in Cape Town, but still offers hikers a breathtaking view all the way up to the peak. The shortest climb takes about one to 1.5 hours with the longest taking up to five hours, but this all depends on the amount of breaks needed along the way and how many times you want to stop and gaze, taking in the beautiful scenery below. At the top, hikers are privy to a bird’s eye view of False Bay and views of the longest beach in Cape Town. This hike requires some physical exertion, so dress accordingly and always bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There are some steep climbs, but the gentler routes are kid friendly, so pack a lunch and have a picnic at the top with the best view in town!Muizenberg Mountain

1. Surf in False Bay

False Bay is one of the best spots to surf in the world, so it’s no wonder Muizenberg beach is home to one of the most thriving surfing communities in South Africa. This beach offers the perfect launching point for surfers into the bay. Warm waters is one of the reasons this beach is so popular, but you’ll still want to wear a wetsuit when heading out to surf away from shore as the water temperature can still be quite chilly, especially for beginners. If you’ve never surfed before, but always wanted to learn, Muizenberg is the perfect spot to do so. The waves here are big enough to surf, but small enough for beginners. Before getting into the water be sure to educate yourself of the shark safety regulations posted on the beach. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry, there are plenty of shops to purchase lessons and rent equipment so it’s easy to get started.Surfing in Muizenberg

Source credit: www.escapehere.com
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