Just a little further on from Cape Town’s well-known Muizenberg beach is St James, one of Cape Town’s smaller suburbs, yet with a rich history. Thanks to a publication put together by St James historian, Michael Walker, the history of some of the original homesteads built between Muizenberg and St James in 1883 has been recorded.
From St James towards Muizenberg, a number of gracious stone houses still remain as testament to a wealthy colonial past when the main road was commonly known as “Millionaire’s Mile”.
During the late 19th century, homes were constructed from stone, plaster and limestone, and sported thatched roofs. Some of these homes have been handed down from generation to generation and still exist today, giving visitors a glimpse of what St James looked like in its heyday. One such structure is St James Cottage, built in 1853. According to historical accounts, the owner, Abraham Auret, hid prisoners of war in the loft during the Anglo-Boer War, and helped to stage their escape across the bay.
Today St James offers the visitor a relaxing spot in which to unwind and enjoy the intimate beach and rock pools along the False Bay coastline. There’s also a safe tidal pool and a tennis court for the more energetic. This beach is ideal for families as the pool is warmer than the surrounding sea.
When you tire of the beach, don your walking shoes and take a stroll along the pathway that links St James with Surfers’ Corner in Muizenberg.
The rock pools are rich with fascinating sea creatures.
This beach is great for everyone but has particular appeal to kids with a sense of adventure. The tidal pool is calmer and warmer than the sea making for very pleasant bathing conditions.
If the waves in the bay are quite big they can break against the tidal pool wall so it is advisable to not venture too close to the wall when this happens.
Location: If you drive past Muizenberg beach, St James Beach can be found just a little further down the road on the left hand side. (Look out for the beach huts and tidal pool)
Wind Direction: This beach is sheltered from Westerly wind directions.
Surf Spot: This is not a surf spot, but you can practice your paddling in the tidal pool.
Things to bring: Sun cream, umbrella, towel, beach mat, cool drinks, carry bag, snacks, goggles & snorkel, dry clothes, a hat, bat & ball… and any other beach games.