Muizenberg has ditched the slump years and is attracting renewed buyer interest and top property prices after major improvements in and around this world-famous spot for riding waves
British poet Sir Rudyard Kipling visited and immortalised the long white beach – and the wind – in his verse: “White as the sand of Muizenberg, spun before the gale.”
Today Muizenberg, after some slump years, is on the up and up, and is home to perhaps South Africa’s most famous and popular surf spots – especially for beginners, or grommets (young surfers). Children as young as seven can be found on boards on Muizenberg’s waves. Surfers Circle Walk at Surfer’s Corner commemorates famous surfers such as Heather Price, who, in 1919 was the first South African to be photographed on our local waves while standing on a surfboard.
High above the suburb, along Boyes Drive, the Shark Spotters keep an eye on predators in the bay. Should a shark be seen near the bathing beach, a siren is sounded, a flag is run up the pole on the beach, and surfers and swimmers stream ashore until the danger has passed.
Older Capetonians will remember the Empire cinema opposite what used to be known as the Snake Pit, a wind-protected patch of beach behind the old Pavilion where teenagers showed off their tans.
Today the Pavilion has been replaced with a new one, and the Empire has been remodelled into sea-facing apartments along the front, flanked by a variety of restaurants offering food ranging from cheap fish ‘* chips to gourmet burgers and hearty dining.
Muizenberg does not have any malls but it does have a small shopping centre, a synagogue, several churches, a Christian radio station, a police station, a primary and a high school. It is also home to the Muizenberg campus of False Bay College.
The suburb offers a diverse choice of properties which range from old to new apartments, from fabulous historic homes in the village and on the beachfront to wonderful homes high against the mountain slopes and offering stunning views across False Bay. Property includes Sir Herbert Baker-designed mansions on the seafront to charming semis in the village area.
Even with all this, Muizenberg offers excellent value for money, says Seeff agent Bonita Lee.
“Historic village properties sell for upwards of R2.5million for a semi and up to R3.5m-plus for a house, generally without a garage or private parking,” she says.
“Beachfront properties attract young professionals and investors, with prices from R1.5m for a 50m² for a one-bed unit and from about R3.5m for a three-bedroom sea- view unit.”
Marine Estate, across the Muizenberg/Zandvlei estuary, offers excellent value in accommodation, parking, garden and home size, but most houses are older, says Lee.
“Smaller three-bedroom homes sell for around R1.6m and large, dual dwellings for R2.2m-R3.5m. In rare cases, a mansion will sell for R5.5m.”
Resident Jane Eagar, who has lived in Muizenberg village with her husband, Tom Cleghorn, for 14 years, describes how the area has improved over the past decade.
“Tom bought his house when the area was still pretty skanky and there were drug dealers on every corner. He paid R140000, and eight years later we sold it for just over R1m. We bought the north-west-facing house across the road, did it up, and now we have a lovely home with a tree, a garden, and off-street parking. We love it here.”
Things to do and places to see in Muizenberg
Blue Bird Garage Food & Goods Market is in an old postal plane hangar in the heart of Muizenberg. It hosts a local, urban food and goods market on Friday nights and the first Sunday of every month, and live music. Buy freshly-baked bread, fruit, veg and flowers. Tuck into steaks, burgers, falafels, pizza, vegan dishes, brownies, cupcakes, doughnuts and more. Buy craft beers, wines and soft drinks at the Bicycle Bar. 0829204285.
Knead Bakery (0217882909) is a great breakfast spot after an early morning surf. Tiger’s Milk (0217881860) offers a menu full of “dude food” with a view of Surfers’ Corner. Live Bait restaurant (0217882705) is on Beach Road with views of surfers, beach walkers and the whole of False Bay.
A firm favourite, The Striped Horse, is a bar and grill on York Road. Listen to live music and DJs spinning vinyl, and enjoy food and drinks specials. 0217882979.
The beach at Muizenberg is famous for its surfing. Surf shops rent boards and wetsuits and offer lessons. The beach offers Putt Putt and a water slide, and the Zandvlei estuary is ideal for yachting, windsurfing, kite-boarding, canoeing, fishing and stand up paddleboarding. The area offers easy walks suitable for the whole family. A popular walk is along the walkway from Muizenberg Corner, past Bailey’s Cottage to St James.
On the main road is Sobeit Studio (0217889007) where you can browse the work of collaborative artists. A new addition is the Hong Kong Charlie sushi bar (0769904555). The corner surf shop, owned by Peter Wright, has been in operation since 1971 and is the oldest in Africa.