Situated on the opposite side of False Bay, finding Gordon’s Bay when travelling from Cape Town is easy enough thanks to the giant white ‘GB’ anchor and letters symbol emblazoned on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains that form the backdrop of our village. While the huge Steenbras Dam sitting at the top of that very same mountain is pretty much invisible if you are not flying overhead, the big hunk of red brick infrastructure jutting out next to the GB symbol is however very noticeable indeed. Its name? The Steenbras Water Treatment Plant.
Built during the Second World War (a difficult task given the acute war-time shortage of labour), the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant was the third and most expensive of the initial three water filtration plants erected by the City of Cape Town in an effort to try and solve the problem of pipe corrosion wrought by the Cape’s natural water supplies. Now while the dam and the plant itself is obviously closed off to the public at large, the road leading up to Steenbras WTP has gifted us a superb vantage point in the form of the Steenbras Lookout Point, a spot that delivers some absolutely fantastic views over False Bay and the Helderberg region of Gordon’s Bay, Strand and Somerset West.
Up until a few years ago, the lookout point featured a narrow path that allowed you to walk around the corner and get a much better view of Gordon’s Bay, and if you turned around, the water treatment plant itself, but sadly this walkway has since been fenced off – a real pity but probably for the best given the relatively unsafe nature of it in the first place. Regardless of this though, the Steenbras Lookout Point remains as popular as ever, and if you have the inclination and some time to kill (like me – Chantelle and the girls didn’t want to leave the house on this particular day) then there are always the various paths criss-crossing down from the parking area to stumble along if you want a little more ‘walk’ out of your visit to a lookout point.
That said, you’ll note that the picture above isn’t quite from the same place as the first two. Having happily scrambled up and down the paths at the Steenbras Lookout Point, I next decided to poke my head in at the entrance to the Danie Miller Hiking Trail, situated on the other part of the Gordon’s Bay mountainside suburb. Also part of the Steenbras Nature Reserve, the Danie Miller trail (previously known as the Mayor’s Walk), is a contour path hike along the Hottentots Holland Mountains that takes you from one end of Gordon’s Bay to the other, all the way up to the white-painted stones that forms the aforementioned ‘GB’ anchor and letters symbol above the town. I only snuffled around for a very small bit of the trail (originally laid out by former town mayor Danie Miller), but having now had a taste of what’s on offer, I reckon that I need to give the full trail a go sooner than later!
Bonus: For a closer look at the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant and how it functions as a critical part of the City of Cape Town’s water infrastructure, here is a video put together by the CapeTalk team following a visit to the plant by radio presenter Kieno Kammies:
Plus, as always, a map:
Related Link: Gordon’s Bay