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Cape Town’s golden mile
Strolling down Millionaire’s Mile
There’s something about Muizenberg. It has an air of history, like a London by the sea: crumbling buildings, weathered by salted-wind, architecture from another time—not given airs, but instead neglected and often the canvas for street art.
To truly experience the forgotten romance of this walk, take the train to Muizenberg station, built in 1913 (today it’s a national monument) and start the walk from there. Bring the family along: most generations can do the path—as long as they’re willing and able.
We’re wearing V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe WPi Hi-Tecs, but Hi-Tec beach sandals would also do the trick, as there are coves and rock pools to explore.
Columnist and satirist, Mike Lundy, says that the coastal stretch between Muizenberg and St. James railway stations was once known as Cape Town’s Golden Mile.
History peers out of the windows of the once-grand mansions, and Lundy muses how ‘Cecil John Rhodes thought the iodised salts from the sea would benefit his ailing health. He was at the tender age of 44 when he bought his cottage-by-the-sea, right here along this walk’.
Aside from the derelict grandeur to gaze upon, there are sea and mountain views too.
What to bring
- Money for the train, if you plan to take it.
Hat and sunblock. You’ll need to bring your own shade for this walk along the beach.
- Hiking shoes or beach sandals for the rocky bits and the beach.
- Swimming costume. There’s a marine pool, as well as beach at the end of the walk.
- Magnifying glass so that the little ones can identify the creatures of the not-so-deep in the numerous tidal pools.
- Buckets and spades,also for the kids, they may want to build a mighty fort out of sand.
- Water and snacks, it’s a sin not to have a picnic at the end of this walk.
- Camera. Make your own postcard; complete with the famous colourful Victorian bathing boxes.
- Pensioners, this gentle walk is the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise.
- Children from walking age up
St James Coastal Walk
Take the train to Muizenberg station, or park in its parking lot. Cross over the tracks and keep a beady eye out oncoming trains. Follow the concrete path as it winds itself along the coast. You’ll pass the odd weathered fisherman casting his line out to sea. There are a few memorial benches along the way, should you need to catch your breath – our favourite read: ‘remembering you babe.’
It’s advised to go during low tide, or you could risk getting wet feet. Stop off by the famous Victorian bathing huts, picnic, swim and build that fort.
Another idea is to walk along Muizenberg beach till you reach this boardwalk, or when you reach St. James, keep going to Kalk Bay for some antiquing.
Duration: 40 minutes for those going fast, and hour and a half for the slow pokes and picnickers.
What to look out for
Fauna: We spotted a baby seal on the rocks. This also a great route for whale and dolphin watching: the high season is between October and November. Marvel at the sea creatures in the tidal pools, and look out for the odd dassie.
Trivia: Keep an eye out for St James Cottage, built in 1853. The owner, Abraham Auret, was said to have hid prisoners of war in the loft during the Anglo-Boer War, and helped stage their escape across the bay.
By Malu Lambert
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