Walking Tours of Muizenberg & Kalk Bay
If, like me, you love connecting with the locals when travelling to a new city, I encourage you to go walk-about when visiting Muizenberg. This seaside suburb, part of Cape Town’s “South Peninsula”, is full of history, wonderful architecture, quirky neighbourhoods and an expanse of sandy beach that has become its main attraction and iconic feature.
I’m a Muizenberg local. We call our home-by-the-sea, “Muizies” and I imagine there are many of us who live here, together with other Capetonians who visit here, who probably don’t know where the name, Muizenberg, comes from. You’re in luck – I do. Without going into details about how the Cape bounced between Dutch and British rule – the Battle of Muizenberg played a significant role – we simply go back to the Dutch occupation and appointment of Wynand Willem Muijs in 1844 who was put in charge of a small military outpost at Muizenberg. Put his surname with “berg”, meaning mountain, and there you have it.
Visitors flock here for the beach, the mountain, the laid-back surf vibe, and the friendly folk. We get many youngsters who come from all over the world to come and study here. From post-school studies in yacht and boat building, to religious studies, to getting a Masters Degree in Mathematical Sciences. When their heads are not immersed in study, they are taking lessons of a different kind at one of the many surf schools along our beachfront – a mere hop and skip away from the lecture room.
Speaking of schools, both my daughters grew up here and went to school and College here. Some of their friends who are now adults and have children of their own still live here, as do their parents, who like me are now grandparents. Why leave when you live in a place like this?
Morning Muizenberg Walks
My favourite thing to do most mornings, unless the South Easter wind is howling, is a beach walk. I go down quite early and usually walk with friends and their dogs. It’s great company and as it’s early I don’t like to walk alone. This way I get to see all the locals and their pooches and after a walk we have a choice of any number of beachfront coffee places to park off at. I juggle my stops, and the coffee at each one is as good as the next.
Surfers and boogie-boarders are out early too, and the surf schools are really busy on weekends and in the holidays. Muizenberg and its Surfers Corner has gentle waves and is known as an ideal place to learn to surf, whether you’re eight or eighty.
I love walking, so I will grab a friend and we will do the seaside beach walk to St James where we might grab breakfast or take a dip in the tidal pool. Other walks I do will be along Boyes Drive where I can look down at this beautiful place, I call home. Yet another route I might take is into the heart of the village. I love taking photographs and I simply grab my very basic mobile phone and point and shoot – anything from gulls, to seaweed, to a crazy looking gate, or some mural art – the list is endless. When I visited London, New York and Rome, I pretty much walked everywhere. And I stopped and chatted and made friends. When you travel solo, it becomes part of your M.O and I find it the best way to enjoy a city.
I have walked these streets so often and over so many years that I have now done a VoiceMap Tour of both Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. Some visitors like to listen to the tour while watching the route on their phones prior to a visit to this area or will download the App and do the walk in real time, following my narration and directions. I have stories and anecdotes to tell as you walk – stuff I have experienced and seen in my more than 30 years living here. It’s lively, fun and we do some streets less travelled, together.
Covid-19 has seen us retreat into our homes and lose connection. I hope during the next few years we find a way to travel again and hopefully the lessons learned make us mindful, kind, and more appreciative of what we have.