The small communities that dot the coast around False Bay at the southern end of the Cape Peninsula are well worth exploring and can easily be accessed by trains from the city center. Muizenberg, one of the Cape’s oldest settlements and, in the early 20th century a prestigious seaside resort, is the starting point for this walk that takes you up into the Silvermine Nature Reserve, part of Table Mountain National Park (www.tmnp.co.za).
Start at (1) Muizenberg Station and exit onto Main Road heading north past Muizenberg Park. Turn right at tiny York Road, along which you’ll find the (2) Empire Café (11 York Road; www.empirecafe.co.za), a favorite hangout for surfers and one of the best places in Muizenberg to eat. Cross the train tracks here and hit Beach Road, which, naturally, provides access to Muizenberg’s fine sandy beach where you’ll see the primary-color, Victorian-style bathing huts, an often reproduced Capetonian photographic image. Follow Beach Road east until you reach the (3) Joan St. Leger Lindbergh Arts Centre (18 Beach Road), a couple of handsome houses designed by noted 19th-century architect Sir Herbert Baker; apart from the art gallery, library, and café you can also stay in one of the houses which is now run as a guesthouse.
Return to Muizenberg Park. Facing it on Camp Road is the old (4) synagogue (Camp Road at Main Road), a remnant of the 1930s and ’40s when Muizenberg had a large Jewish population. At the end of the road, a flight of concrete steps leads up to Boyes Drive. You can follow this road all the way to Kalk Bay, your ultimate destination, but as you’re now right beside the Silvermine Nature Reserve it would be a shame not to explore this lovely wilderness area. Head up the steps into the hills where you see the sign for (5) Bailey’s Kloof. Initially a steep climb, the way eventually becomes more gentle as you enter the (6) Mimetes Valley, named after the mimetes trees that grow here. Where the path eventually forks, head northwest for about 218 yards (200 meters) to find (7) Nellie’s Pool, an ideal resting point.
Retrace your steps back to Boyes Drive, which, as you continue toward Kalk Bay, offers panoramic views across False Bay toward Simon’s Town and Cape Point. It’s a prime location for whale-watching from the end of September to early November. Boyes Drive eventually leads into Clairvaux Road, ending up at (8) Kalk Bay Harbour where you’ll find a lively fish market Monday to Saturday. It’s a great spot to linger over freshly prepared seafood and a chilled glass of wine; try (9) Live Bait, which has tables almost within arm's reach of the crashing waves. Afterward, check out the many fine antiques and crafts stores of Kalk Bay, finishing up with a drink at either the classic (10) Olympia Café & Deli (134 Main Road) or the lively (11) Brass Bell (www.brassbell.co.za/) pub beside the Kalk Bay train station.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.