Ah, the brightly coloured Victorian bathing boxes of St. James Beach. What Cape Town travel blog could truly call themselves local without including at least one post detailing this internationally recognised view, right?
St. James itself is a suburb of Cape Town, situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of False Bay, tucked away between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. As with a lot of old Cape Town suburbs, St James is constrained to a piece of land that is sandwiched between a rocky shore and the steep slopes of a mountain.
Deriving its name from the early St James Catholic Church (built around 1880), the majority of the current suburb was built between 1910 and 1950, following the completion of the railway line that connected Cape Town to False Bay.
(Incidentally, this line remains the most scenic train ride that you can catch in Cape Town today).
The main attraction for the area is of course St James beach, a lovely sheltered spot that provides a welcome break from the westerly winds, centered around a large man-made tidal pool that provides a splash free seawater experience that is perfect for families with kids.
The small stretch of sand quickly makes way for some fantastic naturally formed rock pools, perfect for observing small pockets of ocean life, and for added excitement, every now and then sees a train pass by right above your head!
And then there is of course the iconic row of little Victorian bathing boxes to provide a brilliant burst of colour to the scene.
In order to reach the beach you need to either cross underneath the railroad line using one of the the railway tunnels near the old train station, or you could perhaps take the enjoyable stroll along the lovely St James walkway which stretches all the way from St James beach to Surfers’ Corner, Muizenberg.
So, pretty much all the ingredients needed for a nice, free to enter, family friendly weekend visit then.
(Seeing as I’m more of a Helderberg basin, Overstrand and Stellenbosch Winelands travel blog these days, this just so happens to be my very first post featuring the famous St. James beach – though to be fair I have had the brightly coloured bathing boxes synonymous with Muizenberg’s Surfers’ Corner appear on these pages before!)