Tag Archives: beach

Sand and Boulders on Llandudno Beach in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 NOV 2017

Just outside of Hout Bay and on the way to Camps Bay lies Llandudno (named after the Welsh town with a very similar look), an extremely upmarket, small and particularly picturesque residential suburb of Cape Town.

Despite their well to do status, Llandudno residents strive to maintain a private, coastal village feel to their suburb, achieving this by banning the operation of any shops or restaurants, disallowing the installation of street lights, and maintaining only the most minuscule amount of public parking spaces in the area.

Despite all of this, their tiny Llandudno beach is a popular beach with many Capetonians, thanks in no small part to its boulder strewn rugged beauty, the magnificent fynbos to each side, the view of the Twelve Apostles, Little Lion’s Head,and the Karbonkelberg Mountain all around, and its surfer exciting waves!

Popular with families for picnics, beach sports and sun worshipping in general, it really is difficult to walk away not appreciating this small beach’s well earned charm.

(Oh, and for nudists, it also marks the start of the 20 minute long, apparently not so gentle, walk to Cape Town’s famous nudist beach, Sandy Bay.)

Back in June, as part of my day out and about with the girls, I took a slight detour on our way to Hout Bay Harbour in order to see what this beach looks like for ourselves – and I’m pleased to report that neither the girls nor I left disappointed! :)

A pretty little beach indeed.

Related Link: Llandudno

Donut World Doughnuts at Dolphin Beach in Jeffrey’s Bay (2017-07-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 NOV 2017

Having now completed the Oudtshoorn, Addo and Port Elizabeth legs of our June Holidays Road Trip, we were driving through the Eastern Cape down along the coast (via the N2) towards the Garden Route, to spend a couple of nights in Sedgefield as the final stop on our journey.

By this stage, both the kids and Chantelle were all fast asleep in the car next to me, so I decided to make a stop for doughnuts, hanging a sharp left and heading down to South Africa’s de facto surfing capital – Jeffrey’s Bay.

Traditionally the town has always been known as a sleepy little fishing town, transitioning into a fully hippie hangout in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and out of which emerged the now burgeoning surf community.

These days that only holds partly true, as over the last couple of years Jeffrey’s Bay has seen a rapid urban expansion – something very visible when you first enter what used to be quite the small little seaside town!

Having first been given a clue to the existence of a doughnut shop from Natasha, some quick Google work led me to punch in the coordinates for Donut World into the GPS, a small shop that is very close to the Jeffrey’s Bay famous Blue Flag Beach – the aptly named Dolphin Beach.

Perfect. A spot for me to stretch my legs and take some photos then! :)

While the others continued their nap in the car, I parked close to the waterslides of the Dolphin Beach Entertainment Centre and went for a short exploratory stroll. Sadly for me though, not too many people were on the beach on the day, never mind the fact that no one was actually in the water for a change. (For reference, there seems to almost always be someone in the water at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg!)

(Depressingly, I later learned that we had also just, just missed the running of the renowned Corona J-Bay Open, which by all accounts was quite an exciting surfing contest this year – shark attack and all!)

Anyway, I returned to the car (where by now everyone had already woken up), and we then headed out in search of the little Donut World shopfront, finding it easily enough (it’s super close to the Shell Museum – which funnily enough none of us actually thought of entering) and each then grabbing something off their sickly sweet menu.

My choice looked rather funky I thought:

Donuts devoured, we then let the girls stretch their legs a bit on the nearby jungle gym before hopping back into the car, grabbing some road trip refreshments from Mentors Plaza at the edge of the town (where I read up on some very cool information around the big Jeffrey’s Bay Wind Farm that we where about to drive through), pointing our nose towards the Western Cape border and then hitting the road once more!

Bonus: There is a very cool scale model outside Mentor’s Plaza depicting the 2013 record breaking big wave surf by Garrett McNamara. It’s crazy to think that any sane human would ever attempt to surf a 30+ meter wave!

Related Link: Jeffrey’s Bay

The Cold, Fossilized Sand Dunes of Myoli Beach in Sedgefield (2017-07-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 10 NOV 2017

The final leg of our June Holidays road trip saw us spend two evenings in Sedgefield, a particularly favourite spot of mine seeing as I had spent countless school holidays there with my grandparents as a small kid.

As it so happens, the small town of Sedgefield is also home to the highest fossil sand dunes in South Africa – and by sheer chance our accommodation was pretty much right next to some of these super interesting geological formations.

We were staying at The Gull, right next to the PiliPili restaraunt and Afrovibe Adventure Lodge, but more importantly, right on main entrance to Myoli Beach – a popular wave riding beach and of course just one of Sedgefield’s five stunning beaches.

In other words, perfectly positioned to head out for a walk along the sand and get a better view of the famous petrified sand dunes.

(Interestingly enough though, given the time of year that we were visiting, the sand of Myoli beach was beyond frigid, meaning that without shoes an evening walk in the sand very quickly became quite a painful endeavour – so much so that all my girls, including Chantelle, basically flat out refused to join me on any of my walks!)

Bordered by a series of parallel fossil sand dunes that run between Kaaimans River in the west and Brenton on Sea in the east, Sedgefield is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and an extensive coastal lake system, meaning that there is plenty of water all around.

Over time, and we are talking millions of years here, the lower layers of a sand dune, thanks to the combined pressure from the layers above and the dissolved minerals like calcium carbonate present in the plentiful ground water, work together in cementing and compacting the sand into sandstone, with the layers often visible as ‘epoch bands’ within the resulting formations.

The result is stunning, ochre coloured, wind eroded, twisted rock formations, dramatically rising out of the sand around you.

We were unfortunately not in Sedgefield long enough to give me an opportunity to do the famous Gericke’s Point beach walk and get a better view of THOSE fantastic examples of fossilized dunes, but the nevertheless, the ones at Myoli Beach (and its sister, adjacent Cola Beach for that matter) certainly didn’t disappoint.

So perhaps well worth taking a look around at your surroundings the next time you find yourself playing in the surf on one of Sedgefield’s spectacular (but not necessarily safe for bathing) beaches.

Also, a handy embedded Google map, just in case you can’t quite place where Sedgefield is on the map.

Related Link: Sedgefield

Sand and Waves at Oyster Bay Reserve Beach in Mossel Bay (2017-03-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 AUG 2017

On the outskirts of Mossel Bay, tucked between the residential townships of Dana Bay, Kwa Nonquaba, Pinnacle Point and Heiderand, is the Oyster Bay Reserve, a 330 hectare botanical nature reserve.

Established with the intention to conserve, preserve and educate through a variety of community projects, the Oyster Bay Reserve is also home to a number of hiking trails, the most famous of those running through it being of course the St Blaize Hiking Trail, the 13.5  kilometer long trail that stretches from the St Blaize Lighthouse (Mossel Bay) all the way through to Dana Bay.

The Pinnacle Point Estate (my dad has a fractional ownership in one of the gorgeous houses there) has direct access to the tiny, tucked away Oyster Bay Beach (complete with a 24 hour guard station), a sliver of friendly sand in between the otherwise rugged (and often misty) coastline.

Accessible via golf cart (as is pretty much everything else in Pinnacle Point), this quiet, unspoiled little bit of sand is the perfect escape if you have little kids, and want to avoid the often more busy beaches that come along with a drive through to Mossel Bay.

Jessica and I joined my mom and dad for a long weekend away at their place in Pinnacle Point back in March this year, and of course, play time in the sand with Grandpa and Daddy was very much in demand from my little girl.

(And yes, as always, Jessica remains terrified of the actual sea – meaning that when it came to building a moat around our sandcastle, fetching buckets of water was very much left in dad’s and my domain!)

A tiny, hidden little gem then.

Related Link: Oyster Bay Reserve | Pinnacle Point | Mossel Bay

Walking along the Beach to Cape Sands in Strand (2017-03-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 MAY 2017

On a windless Friday evening in the Helderberg Basin, there is no better way to see out a long week of work than with a stroll along the water’s edge of Strand beach, patiently waiting for the shimmering sun to finally dip below the horizon.

The sea wall construction work continues unabated all along Strand’s beachfront (it is all part of the City of Cape Town’s R180 million promenade upgrade), meaning that a fair bit of the beach is technically still out of action, the impact on evening strolls isn’t all that high given the length of Strand’s famous main beach.

Of course, the girls are never keen just to walk for the sake of walking, so to make it a mission I have to create an objective – and for this particular Friday night evening stroll I decided that we should take the long walk over to the always art friendly upmarket Cape Sands apartments (on the very edge of Strand’s beachfront as you come into Strand) in order to see what they currently have on display in front of the building.

For reference (just in case you are curious and because the girls wouldn’t let me get close enough to take a photo with my phone), currently on display is a large green (bronze) face from the internationally acclaimed South African painter/sculptor Lionel Smit, who well known for his larger-than-life portraiture works.

And the reward for such a long trek? Some sit down and play in the sand time of course!

Also, a map (for just in case you’re not entirely sure where I am):

Related Link: Cape Sands Apartments | Strand

The Beach, Ice Cream and a Festival at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg (2016-10-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 MAR 2017

It is difficult to deny that the South Peninsula is a particularly beautiful stretch of Cape Town’s surrounds, and in fact, South Africa in general. If you are a surfer or are looking to become one, then Muizenberg Beach’s Surfer’s Corner is probably the spot that you should be – that is if you don’t mind all the sharks in the water!

Funnily enough, despite my main work office being out in nearby Westlake, I hardly ever make the effort of visiting out in that area, so it was thus particularly pleasurable to find myself putting aside some time to visit the Muizenberg beach stretch with my girls for the first time come October last year.

So I guess I had better blog about it then.

As luck would have it, for their very first visit to the famous Muizenberg Beach, Jessica and Emily got to watch some good surfing action, courtesy of a surf competition that was currently on the go.

Also, they got to see a blue bottle (Portuguese man o’ war) for the very first time, which on learning that these things sting and that it hurts when that happens, immediately added it to their ever growing list of reasons not to EVER swim in the sea!

The little coloured changing huts/storage units were of course a big hit, as was the very messy (but delicious) softserve ice cream grabbed from the venerable (and super interesting in terms of vintage decor) Majestic Cafe.

Which just by the way, happens to be the oldest shop in Muizenberg – having opened its doors way back in 1937!

Ice cream. Cones. Sun. Small kids.

Right. As you might imagine then, I was very, VERY grateful for the (architecturally quite beautiful mind you) public amenities that allowed me to get rid of some of that sticky residue that the girls seem to literally manage to get everywhere!

And then the bonus: What we didn’t know was that the day that we had decided to visit this part of Cape Town also happened to be the start of the 2016 Muizenberg Festival – which kicked off right in front of us with a loud parade lead by a giant silver fish puppet being accompanied by a large costumed crowd, and some VERY enthusiastic drummers.

In other words, quite the loud affair.

So, a great vibe and colourful sight indeed, but unfortunately also a completely overwhelming in terms of noise experience for the girls (Emily in particular) – all of which meant that we had to quickly cut our visit short, hightail it out of ground zero, jump into the car, and try and navigate our way to nearby Kalk Bay before the route closed because of the ever approaching parade!

A pity, but I guess then the perfect excuse for another visit in the nearby future – especially since I would love to take Chantelle to the brilliant seafood restaurant Live Bait (which I’ve had the pleasure of eating at for a business lunch before).

She would appreciate that I think.

Also, if you do decide to visit, take your camera along (if you are not going to surf). There is plenty of nice photogenic things to snap away at…

Also, just in case you can’t quite pinpoint where I am talking about on the map – a map:

Related Link: Muizenberg | Wikipedia | Muizenberg Festival

Playing in the Sand at Gordon’s Bay Beach (2016-12-08) Photo Gallery 31 DEC 2016

December saw me take the girls down to the beach a lot. Like just about every evening. However, thanks to the magic that is scheduled posts, I’m not at Gordon’s Bay main beach this evening.

No, instead I am currently sitting with my feet up on the beach at Gouritz (outside Albertinia, just before Mossel Bay) – enjoying a well deserved getaway with my girls, Chantelle and her folks.

Not a bad way to see out 2016 I reckon.

Nevertheless, you will have to wait until I’m back home before I start posting pictures of the lovely Gouritz, so for now the last pictures of 2016 up on my site will be of my girls and I having fun on our home beach over the course of December.

Oh, bonus fact. Did you know that Gordon’s Bay has a dedicated helipad area for rescue helicopters?

Well, now you do.

Happy New Year! :)

Gordon’s Bay Beach with the Girls (2016-11-15) Photo Gallery 28 DEC 2016

Both of my girls are comically afraid of the sea. I’m not sure if Emily shares the fear because  of Jessica, but regardless, both my girls are terrified of the incoming water.

They are more than happy to run around and play on the sand, or perhaps venture into the sea when it is only at most low ankle height, but the minute any wave higher than their ankles comes rolling in, they are out of the water screaming blue murder.

So, with a beach bound December holiday coming our way (we’re off to Gouritz), I’ve been hard at work trying to convince them that the sea is not so bad. (If you can call going to the beach as often as possible ‘hard work’!)

Pleasingly, it appears to have been working in that I can now at least get them into knee-high water with me (though they cling to my hands like limpets), and I have managed to convince them to wash their hands in the water by themselves, every time we pack up for the night.

I’ve kind of run out of time now, so I’m hoping that I’ve done enough that I can at least kind of enjoy the sea/beach at Gouritz without hearing the screams of two little girls every minute and a half!

We’ll see, we’ll see…

A handy map as always, just in case you want to check out my home beach while you still have a couple of vacation days left:

Things to See in USA: Muscle Beach Venice in Los Angeles Travel Attractions 16 DEC 2016

The city of Los Angeles’ Venice Beach is certainly a ‘colourful’ area to put it mildly (at least that’s what I thought when I strolled around there earlier this year), but despite its many eccentricities, there is no denying that this cultural hub is a global destination, registering millions of visitors each and every year.

Outside of its popular promenade, multitude of street performers, buskers and hustlers, handball courts, paddle tennis courts, skate dancing plaza, volleyball courts, bike trail and of course interesting businesses on Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach is also home to probably the most famous beachfront gym in the world – Muscle Beach Venice.

The original Muscle Beach that started it all, was established just south of the Santa Monica Pier in 1934 – just 3 km up the beach from where Muscle Beach Venice currently stands, itself having started out when the first Venice Beach “Weight Pen” was installed in 1951 – eight years before the Santa Monica Muscle Beach closed due to administration problems.

While the original Muscle Beach (considered the birthplace of the physical fitness boom in the US during the 20th century) was really an area that became popular with gymnasts, wrestlers and local strength athletes (in fact, it was simply known as Santa Monica Beach Playground for the first couple of years, with the ‘muscle’ term only gaining traction come 1940), Muscle Beach Venice established itself almost from the start as the popular home of bodybuilding, thanks in no small part to the opening the first of an eventual nationwide chain of weightlifting gyms by famed pioneer gym chain operator, Vic Tanny.

Muscle Beach did a lot to popularize and legitimize fitness and bodybuilding competitions, and today functions as both a hub for weightlifting and fitness businesses in the area, as well as a popular tourist attraction.

(A lot of famous people/personalities have been regulars there, so you kind of understand the tourist appeal: e.g. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo, Chet Yorton, Dave Draper, Larry Scott,  and Crips co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams to name but a few!)

The current facility consists of an open playground with a gated area that encloses weight lifting equipment, with a second area which is a sand box with gymnastic, rope climbing, and acrobatic bars.

And yes – if you are brave or ripped enough, you can in fact buy a day pass and work out with the pros if that’s the kind of thing that you are into…

(Naturally, bodybuilding is a lot of work. There are probably easier ways to get a little in shape – the guys behind dietsinreview.com certainly seem to think so.)

I visited this place in July this year, and honestly, it felt a bit weird seeing these people strutting about, pushing weights, and doing their thing – all for the attention of everyone around them! Seriously, posing for photos with random strangers is as much a part of the workout routine as are the actual weights!

Anyway, here’s the map if you want to place it in the world:

Related Link: Muscle Beach Venice | Wikipedia | Venice Beach