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WESTERN CAPE: Our insider’s guide to Marina da Gama

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One may find otters on the front lawn, a seal swimming past, pelicans and thousands of birds in this secure enclosed residential area near Muizenberg, with its whitewashed properties reminiscent of a Greek village. Residents say once you've moved her

Situated in the greater Muizenberg area and made up of four islands, Marina Da Gama is surrounded by water channels that form part of the Zandvlei Estuary. Built in the 1970s, Marina Da Gama is an enclosed residential area close to the popular beaches of False Bay and is practically self-sufficient.

Here whitewashed, waterfront properties reminiscent of a Greek village sell for between R2.5 million and R4m, says Donna Stevens of Harcourts Prestige. 

First-time buyers are able to find apartments from R695 000 in Uitsig Peninsula, which offers a clubhouse with tennis courts and a swimming pool to residents, she adds.

Marina Da Gama is an ideal location, offering value for money compared to locations offering a similar lifestyle. – Donna Stevens, Harcourts Prestige Picture: Supplied

“Although Marina Da Gama is not a gated complex, all access roads into the area have 24-hour security with the latest licence plate recognition at all entrances which gives homeowners additional peace of mind,” says Stevens.

Resident Debbie Owen says once you’ve lived in the Marina, it’s hard to move away: “We should know; we moved away but missed it so much we returned as soon as we could!” she comments.

Several members of her family and that of her husband’s live within walking distance, so their love for the Marina tends to run in the family. “There are many things to love about the Marina – its proximity to Muizenberg beach, the architecture, peace and quiet, abundant birdlife, a caring community and a hard-working and effective residents’ association,” says Owen.

“Best of all is living on the water’s edge and being able to enjoy the area on a SUP or pedalo (paddle boat).” Well-known South African author Helen Brain has also chosen the Marina to live: “The best thing about the Marina is that many areas are virtually crime-free. We lived closer to the city before, and had some kind of crime virtually every month. We’ve been here twoand-a-half years and there has not been one incident of crime in our section of the Marina during that time.

Abundant birdlife, peace and stillness are big attractions of this waterfront area. Picture: Karin Kotze

“We feel safe enough to walk around at night and it is spectacularly beautiful. Our house is on the water, and we’ve had otters on our front lawn once or twice, and a seal swimming past, as well as pelicans and thousands of birds. “It is incredibly quiet, because the water absorbs so much sound. I wish I’d moved here 20 years ago.”

Living in Marina Da Gama was an amazing experience, says former resident Brent Brache. “The area is what I can only describe as an under-appreciated gem in the South Peninsula. “I would regularly walk my dog on Zandvlei common, a favourite stretch of land where popular events are hosted including the Cape Town International Kite Festival,” he says.

“If that isn’t enough, you can stroll to Muizenberg or Sunrise Beach, enjoying what the area offers, including the famous Surfers’ Corner and Bluebird Garage Food & Goods Market.” – Additional reporting by Vivian Warby

Places to go and things to do in Marina Da Gama 

There are many things to love about the Marina: Its proximity to Muizenberg beach, its architecture, peace and quiet, abundant birdlife, a caring community and a hard-working, effective residents’ association. – Debbie Gibson, resident Picture: Supplied

1 Eat

Escape Tapas Bar Restaurant is a great Mexican tapas spot with chilled lounge atmosphere, friendly staff and good food selection in the East Lake Shopping Centre (0217882568).

The sushi spot at the East Lake Shopping Centre, Shin Thai Take Away & Sushi, is highly recommended by locals as real value-for-money food and good sushi. Remember, Muizenberg is on your doorstep, and there you can choose from dozens of eateries in the area, several of which are on the beachfront. Karen Kotze, resident, suggests you try any of the eateries out on Palmer Road.

2 Outdoors

The water in the Zandvlei Estuary in Marina Da Gama is ideal for yachting, windsurfing, kiteboarding, canoeing, fishing and SUP (stand-up paddle boarding). The area offers easy walks suitable for the whole family, as well as their dogs. Helen Brain advises you try Park Island, “no vehicles, fantastic place to walk”.

Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve is on Marina Da Gama’s doorstep – entry through Military Road but well worth the time for bird lovers.

The beach at Muizenberg is famous for its surfing, and rightly so. If you’ve always wanted to try the sport, this is the best place to begin.

People canoeing on the Zandvlei Estuary, which has a reserve protecting the wetland and river system. Picture: Karin Kotze

3 Markets

Marina Da Gama Craft Market happens on the first Saturday of every month and is clearly marked from the main road. Here you will find handmade goods, plants and some food – try Miche Bakery’s carrot cake, but get there early, Kotze advises.

Try also Blue Bird Garage Food & Goods Market which is at an old postal plane hangar in the heart of Muizenberg, where it hosts a local, urban food and goods market every Friday night and the first Sunday of every month.


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