Muizenberg was once the country's premier beach resort, and today with the Beach Road area smartened up and the opening of a number of restaurants, people are flocking back
Think Muizenberg and probably the first thing that comes to mind is surfing. It’s one of Cape Town’s most popular places to take to the waves, especially for novices as it’s relatively safe and gentle, ideal for beginners on stable longboards.
Once a stylish holiday resort more than a century ago, the beachfront is now lined with surf shops renting boards and wetsuits – although False Bay water is warmer than the Atlantic, you’ll be grateful for the extra protection if you’re out there for a few hours – and lessons are offered for all ages.
An interesting story is that apparently the queen of the murder mystery, Agatha Christie, surfed here when she and her husband Archie visited the Cape in 1922.
An article on The Guardian website reports: “Christie noted her observations of the sport – and reactions to the odd wipe-out – at the time, writing: ‘The surfboards in South Africa were made of light, thin wood, easy to carry, and one soon got the knack of coming in on the waves.
“’It was occasionally painful as you took a nosedive down into the sand, but on the whole it was an easy sport and great fun’.”
Muizenberg has many places of historical interest, from Sir Herbert Baker architecture and a remnant of the 1795 Battle of Muizenberg to the homes of mining magnates Cecil John Rhodes and Abe Bailey, as well as Bailey’s grave.
A beautiful place to visit is Casa Labia – the former residence of Count and Countess Natale Labia – which was built in 1929 to reflect the spirit of 18th century Venice. It hosts musical events, and houses the Cucina Labia restaurant.
Long-time resident Coleen van Staden says Muizenberg is a cosmopolitan mix that has attracted artists, musicians, actors and surfers. “I love the Muizies vibe. One of my favourite places is the heart of the village, the Palmer Road area. This hidden gem of Muizenberg is charming, quirky and home to creative Muizenbergers.
“The Hive is at the centre of this community. They organise an annual Muizenberg Festival and the wonderful Concert In The Park. It’s a favourite on my calendar, as is the open studio tour that is part of the Muizenberg Festival and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of our local artists.”
Heather Cape, Greeff Property consultant for Lakeside, Muizenberg, Marina Da Gama and Kalk Bay, says: “Muizenberg is home to all walks of life. It’s a family orientated area with homes currently fetching between R800000 and R2million. An interesting trend is 35% of homeowners retain properties for fewer than five years, and 35% for 11 years or more.
“Property in Muizenberg is priced well and compares nationally to Ocean View in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Isandovale in Gauteng. A sub-area of Muizenberg, Marina da Gama, is a hidden gem with many large homes generally on the water.”
Cape says Muizenberg property delivers excellent value for money, and the appeal of the area often sees purchases as long-term investments.
“The area also has growing potential for sectional title buyers with 167 sold last year. Muizenberg is without a doubt a great area to buy and put down roots. If you buy, you tend to stay,” she says.