Muizenberg is a small town outside Cape Town and one of South Africa’s best kept secrets. A largely untapped tourist spot, it’s hard to believe Muizenberg is best known for being one of the most popular beaches with one of the most active surfing communities in South Africa. This beachside suburb supports crowded streets and a bustling beach during the holiday season as locals flock to enjoy this little shoreline town. Though the beach is the main attraction, there’s more to Muizenberg than just sand and water, there’s plenty of surf shops, restaurants and coffee shops located just along the main beach. With a strong colonial history, Muizenberg has great historical attractions along with local hotspots for the travelers who are looking to veer off the tourist map and get the most authentic experience. Here are 9 things to do while visiting Muizenberg Beach.
9. Karaoke at The Brass Bell
The Brass Bell is a nearby restaurant and pub located in the trendy harbor of Kalk Bay. Easily accessible by train and located right next to the Kalk Bay train station, it is a must-do for Muizenberg travelers. The Brass Bell has a unique setting as it sits right up along the water, nestled in the tidal pool walls. During the day, visitors should head to the outdoor terrace dining area for an enjoyable meal, take in the views of water and listen to the sounds waves crashing up along the shore. At night the bar below has large windows looking out onto the rolling waves creating an atmosphere unlike any other! For the best experience, go on a Wednesday night as the restaurant attracts a rowdy crowd for karaoke. Be sure to sign up early because on busy nights the wait to get up on stage can be long. It’s a great spot to meet locals and backpackers who stop in for the night while passing through to neighboring towns.
8. Het Posthuys
Located on what is known as the ‘historical mile’ along Mainroad in Muizenberg, Het Posthuys is the oldest standing building on the False Bay coastline. It is a must-see for those who are interested in South Africa’s early colonial history. This place has a unique story you’ll want to hear. Built in 1962 by the Dutch after Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Cape Town, Het Posthuys means “post house” in Dutch and has served many purposes throughout the years. In the early days it was a lookout post to prevent illicit trading, then later a naval storage facility, ale and eating house and finally a personal residence. In the 1980’s the building was restored, but still retains many of its defining historical characteristics now operating as a museum. Decked out with old memorabilia from the Battle of Muizenberg and historic photos from the past, it’s a great place to go on a rainy day or even fulfill a morning venture. The museum operates from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 2 pm and here’s the bonus: admission is free! It is now run by volunteers so it’s best to call ahead before visiting.
7. Rhodes Cottage Museum
This building was built as a tribute to Cecil John Rhodes and is located just down the road from the Het Posthuys museum on the historical mile. As a British empire-builder, Rhodes was a prominent figure in South Africa’s early history, a jack of all trades involved in the mining industry and local politics. This cottage served as his private retreat where he spent his last days before he died in 1902, when he was one of the richest men in the world. This seaside cottage sits upon a hill overlooking False Bay with a beautiful English garden full of items commemorating his life, the house even still contains some of his old furnishings! The volunteers that run this museum are well versed in its history and happy to answer the questions of visiting tourists. You will even be greeted with a hot cup of tea. Hop from one museum to another and see both in one day.
The museum is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm with admission by donation.
6. Hangout at Knead Bakery & Cafe
Knead is a chic cafe located on ‘surfer’s corner’ along Muizenberg beach. This cafe and bakery stands out from the surrounding rural surf town, but is a great spot to stop for lunch while hanging out at the beach. It’s also one of the best spots to grab a cup of coffee. With a luxurious interior, there’s a glass enclosed patio offering direct views of the beach and surrounding mountains. It’s a popular spot to stop in for a quick meal, or pick up some tasty freshly baked goods, either way you’re sure to be satisfied. The food is well presented and carefully prepared, here visitors can feast on cheap, but fancy artisan food. You can’t find a meal like this anywhere else in Muizenberg!
5. Mzoli’s Place
Mzoli’s place is one of the biggest and best secrets on this list of things to see and do in Muizenberg. You won’t find a high dollar meal here, this open air restaurant serves various grilled meat options to visitors at plastic tables and chairs. This place is actually a butchery, but has become somewhat of an entertainment venue supporting vibrant parties and live music for locals and international visitors. You’ll want to go on a Sunday because that is when this place comes alive attracting an average of 250 people by mid afternoon. This is the place to come for a true local experience. Known for its meat which is braaied (barbecued) right on the spot with signature spices and herbs. Patrons must bring their own cutlery and beverages. It is not recommended to travel here alone, Mzoli’s is located in a township in Guguletu where poverty is rampant and there is potential for crime, so travel safely and with others.
4. Visit the Blue Bird Garage Market
The Blue Bird Garage Market is the cornerstone of the community. Known as the ‘Friday market’ because it kicks off each weekend, open only on Friday evenings from 4 pm till 10 pm. This old postal plane hanger comes alive with vendors from nearby towns and their locally made goods. It offers a collection of fresh food from various cultures that is cooked right in front of you! Talk about great service. There is live music, an array of decadent homemade desserts and pastries for sale, along with handcrafted jewellery and clothing. You’ll get a real local experience at this market and a chance to take home some truly one of a kind gifts and goods. You’ll find great gifts and memorabilia for yourself or loved ones back home that can’t be found in any tourist gift shop. There’s no entry fee to this market, so make sure to check it out!
3. Go to Muizenberg Beach
There’s more than one reason Muizenberg beach was deemed one of the best swimming spots in Cape Town. For beginners, its turquoise waters are surrounded by a towering mountain creating the most majestic scenery. Also, because of its location within a secluded bay, the waters here are much warmer, ideal for swimmers and surfers. Muizenberg beach is located on False Bay, a curved coastline that is so large that sailors used to mistake it for Table Bay, the harbor front on the Atlantic seaboard in Cape Town. The beach is lined with brightly colored Victorian change houses which act as a reminder of Muizenberg’s long history as one of Cape Town’s best beach spots. It should be noted that False Bay is a popular spot for Great White sharks, although few incidents have occurred, there is a shark spotter program in place to protect swimmers and surfers who flock to the beach in the summer months. The program is supported by color coded flags that are changed based on the ever-changing water conditions to inform swimmers about their safety. With generally calm waters, and a flat open beach this is the ideal spot for families with children.
2. Hike Up Muizenberg Mountain
There are a few different hikes to choose from when climbing Muizenberg mountain, each offering something different, from forest walks to gentle inclines, steep slopes with beautiful views and even rocky walls for experienced climbers. Muizenberg mountain is not as challenging or well known as Table Mountain in Cape Town, but still offers hikers a breathtaking view all the way up to the peak. The shortest climb takes about one to 1.5 hours with the longest taking up to five hours, but this all depends on the amount of breaks needed along the way and how many times you want to stop and gaze, taking in the beautiful scenery below. At the top, hikers are privy to a bird’s eye view of False Bay and views of the longest beach in Cape Town. This hike requires some physical exertion, so dress accordingly and always bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There are some steep climbs, but the gentler routes are kid friendly, so pack a lunch and have a picnic at the top with the best view in town!
1. Surf in False Bay
False Bay is one of the best spots to surf in the world, so it’s no wonder Muizenberg beach is home to one of the most thriving surfing communities in South Africa. This beach offers the perfect launching point for surfers into the bay. Warm waters is one of the reasons this beach is so popular, but you’ll still want to wear a wetsuit when heading out to surf away from shore as the water temperature can still be quite chilly, especially for beginners. If you’ve never surfed before, but always wanted to learn, Muizenberg is the perfect spot to do so. The waves here are big enough to surf, but small enough for beginners. Before getting into the water be sure to educate yourself of the shark safety regulations posted on the beach. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry, Gary’s Surf School in Muizenberg offers surf lessons and rent equipment so it’s easy to get started.