Muizenberg, South Africa | Information on Muizenberg and Fish Hoek History

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MUIZENBERG AND FISH HOEK INFORMATION AND HISTORY IN WESTERN CAPE

 

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FISH HOEK

 

Fish Hoek Beach

Fish Hoek boasts a long stretch of a white sandy beach, and is one of the safest and warmest swimming beaches in the Cape. You can take a relaxing stroll down Jager's walk, which runs along the mountainside of Fish Hoek beach. Jager's Walk, a pathway along the rocky coastline takes the visitor as far as Sunny Cove where visitors can view the dolphins and whales that visit these shores annually. The beach has a playground for children, a refreshment kiosk and restaurant. The magnificent beach, reached through a secure parking area, is great for swimming, snorkeling, hobby-cat sailing and paddle-skiing. Visitors are sometimes treated to the sight of the local fishermen 'trekking' for haarders and yellowtail fish off Fish Hoek beach.

From late August the Great Southern Right Whales visit our Oceans and entertain thousands of spectators each year as they come close to shore to calf their babies and can often be seen frolicking in the bay. The elevated roads and parking bays provide excellent viewing sites.

 

Fish Hoek (Afrikaans: Vishoek, meaning either Fish Corner or fishhook) is a coastal village nestled in a valley at the mouth of the Silvermine River, on the False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula in Cape Town, South Africa. Previously a separate municipality, Fish Hoek is now part of the Cape Town Unicity. It is approximately 35 kilometres by road from Fish Hoek to the centre of Cape Town, a journey that can take anything from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the traffic. There is also a good suburban railway link with Cape Town.

 

As a coastal suburb of Cape Town, Fish Hoek is popular as a residence for commuters and holidaymakers alike. The traditional industries of 'trek' fishing and angling coexist with the leisure pursuits of surfing, sailing and sunbathing.

 

Fish Hoek is famous for being a "dry" area - one of the conditions placed by the owner who gave the land for development was that there be no alcohol sold there. Nowadays, alcohol is available in restaurants and bars but there are no bottle stores.Fish Hoek or Vissers Baay or Visch Hoek appears on the earliest maps of the Cape.

 

The arrival of European settlers in 1652 forced the indigenous population to leave the area, and during the 1700s farmers appeared in the Noorhoek area. Fish Hoek beach was used on an informal basis for whaling and fishing, but it was not until 1918 that it was laid out as a township.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish Hoek

 

The first grant of Crown Land in Fish Hoek was granted to Andreas Bruins in 1818. The land was sold several times before being bought by Hester Sophia de Kock in 1883. She was then a spinster of 51 years old. In 1901, late in life, she married a local farmer, one Jacob Isaac de Villiers who came to live with her on the farm. Although she farmed wheat and vegetables she started providing accommodation for people who wanted to stay in Fish Hoek, and so became the first local tourist entrepreneur.

 

Fish Hoek has remained, with its situation and views, a beacon of extra-ordinary accommodation ever since. Having realised that Fish Hoek was becoming popular she left instructions in her will that the farm was to be surveyed and the land sold as building plots, after the deaths of Hester and Jacob, the land was sold off, the first sale taking place in 1918.


The oldest house, on the bay, now named Uitkyk, was bought as a fishermans cottage in 1918 by the Mossop family of Mossop Leathers, and is still in the Mossop family. There had been a building on that site since the 1690's, a Pos Huis and a whaling station office is all that is known of its history.


This was the beginning of the town of Fish Hoek. Initially people built holiday cottages but as there was a good train service to Cape Town a more permanent community soon arose. By 1940 it was big enough to be declared a municipality and was administered by the Town Council until 1994. It is now part of the City of Cape Town.Hester and Issac de Villiers, with other members of their family are buried in the small graveyard next to the NG Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) in Kommetjie Road.The farmhouse on the site of the present Homestead Naval Mess near the railway crossing became an hotel. The original building subsequently burned down in 1947.Today Fish Hoek is regarded as a suburb of greater Cape Town and lies on the railway line from the central business districts of that city to Simon's Town in the south.Fish Hoek has become well-known as a tourist resort and as a place where elderly people retire from more northern latitudes.

 

Schools include Fish Hoek Senior High School.


Fish Hoek is situated in a broad, low valley, between two and three kilometres wide, which runs from west to east across the girth of the Cape Peninsula. When sealevels were higher than they are today the valley used to be a sea passage that separated the Cape Peninsula into northern and southern islands. Fish Hoek is at the eastern end of the valley.

 

The villages of Noordhoek and Kommetjie are at the western end, on the Atlantic coast. The valley is generally sandy and the bedrock is Cape granite. In places this is deeply weathered and in the past the rotted granite was mined for pockets of the mineral kaolinite, which is used to make ceramic goods such as hand basins and bath tubs. The valley is famous for 12,000 year old paleolithic skeletons discovered in a cave (now called Peer's Cave or Peers' Cave) by Bertie Peers and his father in 1927.

 

Bertie Peers was a lover and explorer of the great outdoors, a fine amateur scientist and a dedicated naturalist but his enthusiasm eventually cost him his life, when he was fatally struck by a puff adder (Greenland, 1978).Fish Hoek has a balmy mediterranean climate and is spared over hot summer days by the frequent visits of the south-easterly gales known locally as "the Cape Doctor". It has a fine long beach and is a good spot for swimming and fishing. In the scan above, the beach is seen from high ground on the southern margin of the valley and the view is roughly towards the north west. The mountains nearby are famous for large numbers of complex caves in sandstones of the Table Mountain Group. Caves are usually found in limestones and it is not common to find complex cave systems in pure sandstone.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish Hoek)

 

The Valley of Fish Hoek was created approximately a million years ago when the great waters of the continental shelf surrounding the Cape Peninsula subsided. The cold Atlantic and warm Indian Ocean embrace this rural lowland, with rugged, craggy mountains on either side. Fish Hoek is situated only 30 minutes from Cape Town. On a clear day you can see the spectacular Hottentots Hollands mountain range, and the well know land mark of Hanglikp. Fish Hoek is known as a 'dry' town - there are no retail liquor outlets in the suburb. This is an old law that was introduced at the time when wagon deliveries to Simon's Town were common - it was introduced to prevent the drivers from stopping off for a drink (or two or three) and arriving in an intoxicated state in Simon's Town


Muizenberg
is an old-fashioned village on the shores of False Bay. The Carnegie Library, built in 1910, now forms part of the South African Police Museum, together with the old Post Office, The Posthuys, which is the oldest European house in South Africa, having been built in 1673. Rhodes' Cottage on the Main Road, is now a museum. The Fort houses the Natale Labia Museum, used by the South African National Gallery as an exhibition venue.

 

Two poplular beaches are the Tidal Pool beach at St James (reknowned for it's colourful beach huts) and the small Danger Bay beach.

The little fishing harbour at Kalk Bay also has a tidal pool, opposite the railway station, which platform leads to the lovely Brass Bell restaurant, where meals are served while waves break on the rocks just a few feet away.

 

MUIZENBERG

 

 

Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It is situated where the shore of the Cape Peninsula curves round to the east on the False Bay coast.

 

It is considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa and it is home to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.In terms of history, the village has several special features, including Het Posthuys (the Post House), Rhodes' Cottage and the site of the Battle of Muizenberg.

 

Rhodes' Cottage is a small house on the seafront that Cecil John Rhodes bought as a holiday cottage and this was where he died in 1902. The house is preserved as a museum dedicated to Rhodes' life and is open to the public.

 

Het Posthuys is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, dating to circa 1742. It was built by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Ost-Indische Compagne or VOC) as a toll-house to levy a tax on farmers passing by to sell their produce to ships lying in Simon's Bay. One of the early postholders was Sergeant Muys (probably meaning "mouse"), from whom Muizenberg (formerly Muysenbergh and probably Muys Zijn Bergh (Mouse, his mountain) before that) gets its name.

 

After a varied career as a police station, stables, brothel, hotel and private house the building was identified for what it was in the 1980's and restored with funds from Anglo American Corporation. The house is cared for by the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society and contains a small collection of photos and items of interest relating to early days in Muizenberg. It is open to the public.

 

The Battle of Muizenberg was a small but significant military affair that began in June 1795 and ended three months later with the (first) British occupation of the Cape. Thus began the period (briefly interrupted from 1804 to 1806) of British control of the Cape, and subsequently much of Southern Africa. The historical remnant of the Battle of Muizenberg is a site on the hillside overlooking False Bay that holds the remains of a defensive fort started by the Dutch in 1795 and expanded by the British from 1796 onwards.

 

Muizenberg has a fine, long beach that in effect stretches all the way round the top of False Bay to the Strand, a distance of over 20 km. False Bay, known for it's population of White Sharks, also has a shark watch service that operates from Muizenberg, signalling alerts when sharks come in proximity of bathers and surfers. Above Muizenberg there is a line of steep cliffs that is very popular as a venue for rock climbing. However, certain parts of the cliff are off-limits to climbers when birds nest on the ledges.

 

Muizenberg houses one of the False Bay College campuses in the Cinnabar Building, a high-rise office tower. The college, a Public Further Education and Training Institution (FET), was established in September 2002 when the South Peninsula College (established 1970) and the Westlake College (established 1954) were merged

 

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