The Problem With Muizenberg

Muizenberg is without a doubt an extremely popular suburb and surfers corner is an extremely popular beach! At face value if you take a walk along the main road and head down York Road, cross the train tracks you end up at the beach with a great collection of cafes, restaurants, and a wide array of surf shops to suit every water discipline (short board surfing, longboarding through to Stand Up Paddle Surfing). You spin around and you have mountains in view and (if you are lucky) beautiful blue skies, blue ocean, and a sandy beach… paradise!

Muizenberg sunrise

Surely one of the Cape Towns best views!

If you are a tourist and you spend any significant time in Muizenberg, say longer than 36hrs, even though the same beauty still radiates through there are a few small cracks that start to appear in our perfect beachy suburb! Stay longer than a month and the wholes are laid to bare.

Areas Muizenberg Needs to Improve on:

The Car Gaurds – This is everyone’s favourite gripe! But understandably so as many (but not all, there are some particularly good people amongst them) of them have been revealed to be petty criminals, several can be extremely violent with each other and car owners. The city briefly spoke about official car parking attendants, but that discussion has since gone quiet.

The Beach Huts – Another bone of contention with many local residents! The beach huts have a huge amount of significance to the heritage of Muizenberg and as such deserve to be regularly maintained. But they are often vandalised to such a degree that they are a hazard to the public! There is an initiative under way to rebuild the huts, but even those are getting vandalised as soon as they are fixed!

Run down Muizenberg beach huts

Run down Muizenberg beach huts

The Homeless Community – Muizenberg has a visible homeless community that can be seen sleeping under the bridge on XYZ road, in the park and even in the bushes directly above the police station. This is without a doubt the toughest issue at hand, the safety of the people involved is of upmost importance and care needs to be taken.

General disrepair – I often walk along the main road from the Masque theatre to the beach and along the catwalk to Baileys Cottage and the general dis-repair is disheartening! Missing manhole covers, cracked/crumbling pavements, graffiti tags, rubbish and weeds growing out of the roads and curbs.

Disrepair at Muizenberg beach

Disrepair at Muizenberg beach

Broken bricks

Surely this is a health hazard

Crumbling wall

Crumbling wall

The Peppermint Palace – Much has been written about the peppermint palace, the run down half developed building as you leave Muizenberg heading towards St James. There have been countless proposed ideas for re-development but up until now it appears to be a blackhole of ideas with nothing notable coming out! The police routinely go in and clear the criminals – but they return within a day or so!

The run down Peppermint Palace

The run down Peppermint Palace – drug den and criminal strong hold

I’ve lived in Muizenberg for 14 years and have been a keen beach goer and photographer for 11 years, I don’t claim to have the numbers to hand and I stand to be corrected, but Muizenberg has gotten a lot busier over the last 18 months – when the hard COVID lockdowns ended mid 2020 the beach exploded in popularity – whilst understandably some businesses suffered others have made it through the tough times and hopefully they can see a brighter future.

The arrival of Starbucks to Muizenberg beach front, to some local residents, is an unwanted international coffee chain that is set to steal the local charm and character, whilst I somewhat agree with those sentiments, to me it also sends a signal that Muizenberg is a thriving and busy place for all to see! I am hoping that this will bring additional visitors to the beach which will have a positive knock-on effect to those smaller shops/businesses in the area that are willing to adapt.

My one question to Amy Khul, the local ward councilor and to the larger local DA government is what are you doing to address these issues? If we take a look at neighboring coastal suburbs such as Simons Town, Camps Bay and Sea Point – Muizenberg is treated the ugly outsider of the family, yet we are by far the more popular!

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