Muizenberg

Muizenberg, a popular resort even in the 1600s, is still famous for its beach. A nostalgic reminder of its gracious past is the colourful bathing boxes on the beach and the stately Victorian and Edwardian buildings in town. It is also famous for reputedly being one of Rudyard Kipling’s favourite places. Zeekoeivlei and Sandvlei are ideal venues for water-sport and Rondevlei has an excellent bird sanctuary.

Adventure And Sport

Beaches: Muizenberg Beach is a very safe bathing beach and is very popular with families, as it has a children’s amusement park, a cluster of swimming pools and a pavilion. The beach, with its white sands and gentle breakers, is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and water-sports. Muizenberg Beach is admired for its rows of coloured bathing boxes and its beach is the start of a long Beach running 40 km to Gordon’s Bay.

Imperial Yacht Club: The yachts lie on the western banks of Zandvlei, which is fed by many small streams. Board-sailors, yachtsmen and canoeists make use of the facilities.

Walkway: Because of the beauty of the area a walk is always a good idea. The walk between Muizenberg and St James provides a number of architectural highlights and the Muizenberg-St James Walkway offers great ocean views.

Art And Crafts

Joan St Leger Lindbergh Arts Foundation: The establishment hosts art exhibitions and musical performances and also houses an Africana reference library.

Masque Theatre: The Masque Theatre stages at least 12 productions annually.

Natale Labia Museum: Positioned in Main Road, Muizenberg, the museum functions as an art museum and cultural centre and satellite gallery of the South African National Gallery. Its permanent exhibitions range from furniture to works of art, while temporary art exhibitions of jewellery, interiors, art glass and fine art and lectures and music recitals are often hosted here. The building was erected in 1930 on the site of an old British military fort.

Fauna And Flora

Rondevlei Bird Sanctuary: The sanctuary in Fisherman’s Walk, Zeekoeivlei, just off Prince George’s Drive, was established for the protection of waterfowl. The sanctuary has shady

waterside paths and hides from which to study the birds and the small population of hippopotami. There are also small mammals such as mongoose, otter, grysbok and steenbok. The Gill Field Museum is a natural history museum and is well worth a visit.

Silvermine Mountain Reserve: The Silvermine Reserve off the Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road) is part of the South Peninsula National Park (SPNP). Silvermine features many species of fynbos (proteas, ericas and reeds), and several species of indigenous trees. Included in this section on the eastern side of the Peninsula are the Muizenberg and Kalk Bay Mountains. A mountain-bike route and several hikes lead to Noordhoek Peak and Noordhoek Ridge that has picnic and ablution facilities. The Sunbird Environmental Recreation Centre is on Silvermine Road in the reserve. It has accommodation for some 42 people and offers guided walks, adventure activities, wetlands, hiking trails, night-time exploration and art and craft sessions. The Cape Peninsula National Park (CPNP) is one of Africa’s conservation icons and protects such diverse areas as mountains, coasts and marine reserves. It lies at the south-western tip of Africa and encompasses the Peninsula Mountain Chain that stretches for approximately 60 km from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south. Cape Point is the southernmost point in the Cape Peninsula and not, as many mistakenly believe, the most southerly point in Africa.

Southern Black-backed Gull Sanctuary: This bird haven lies east of Muizenberg on Road R310. The Swartklip (“Black stone”) Hills provide one of the last breeding colonies for the black-backed gull, also called the kelp gull. These birds breed in the summer months and are easily observed from the road.

Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary: Visits to the sanctuary are only allowed in the company of a ranger. The marsh provides many of the 132 species of birds that have been identified here with an ideal breeding ground.

History And Architecture

Historical sites: Muizenberg has a rich historical heritage and some of its most important historical sites include the South African Police Museum, the Magistrate’s Court and Carnegie Library, and Het Posthuijs. Het Posthuijs (the Post House) in Main Street dates from the late eighteenth century and is considered to be the oldest structure along the False Bay coast. The Dutch East India Company originally used it as a policing post. These museums also contain exhibits of the Battle of Muizenberg. The Post Office in Main Road, completed in 1911, is considered to be the first post office in South Africa to receive mail by air.

All Saints Anglican Church: The modest T-shaped building dates from 1890 and is situated in Main Street.

Muizenberg Railway Station, completed in 1913 in red-brick and sandstone, is a typical example of Edwardian architecture.

Muizenberg Synagogue: Located in Camp Street, the synagogue was built exactly where the original wood and iron building once stood.

Muizenberg Toy Museum and Collectors Shop: Experience the joys of childhood again! The Muizenberg Toy Museum and Collectors Shop at No 8 Beach Road, Muizenberg offers a display of toys from turn-of-the-century toy factories, including early steam trains, pedal cars, rocking horses, dolls, clockwork figures and Dinky Toys – the variety is amazing. The museum is housed in an historic mansion designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Rhodes’ Cottage: Cecil John Rhodes, the empire-builder, retired to Muizenberg after the events that led to the Anglo-Boer War and died here in 1902. Rhodes was Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 until 1896. Today, Rhodes’ Cottage in Main Road is open to the public as a museum and displays some period furniture and some of Rhodes’ personal possessions.

Rust en Vrede House: The renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker also left his mark in this area when he designed Rust en Vrede, which is still a private residence. The house is regarded by many as one of his best works.

South African Police (SAP) Museum: Situated at 186 Main Road, the establishment is the first museum of its kind in the Western Cape. This museum tells the story of our brave police force and relates some of its members’ heroic deeds.

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