Between the foothills of the iconic Table Mountain, one of the of the World’s New 7 Wonders of Nature, and the Atlantic Ocean, lies a strip of land that can only be described in superlatives: the most breath-taking beauty, the most valuable real estate, the most luxurious seaside villas, and all the shades of blue you can dream of…
I recently visited five of the suburbs of Cape Town that lie on the Atlantic Coast and I marveled at the diversity of these areas that have both the best of the mountain and the best of the sea. High up on our balcony, we enjoyed a glass of exquisite South African white wine while the sun, setting over the steel blue Atlantic, painted the sky with warm colours.
Sea Point –heavenly blue
The high density suburb is a short drive west of the city centre and it is the only sea-side suburb of Cape Town with a considerable number of high-rise developments. These two factors make it a very popular residential area. From the luxury apartment blocks, hotels and five-star rental apartments, under the watchful eye of Lion’s Head Peak, you have sublime views over the bright blue Atlantic, with Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela had been held prisoner for many years – a mere twelve kilometres away, as a poignant reminder of the turbulent history of South Africa.
Life in Sea Point revolves around the broad paved promenade hugging the long coastline. There isn’t a moment in twenty four hours that you will not see people on the promenade: jogging, strolling leisurely, sitting on the benches, walking dogs, skateboarding, taking pictures, rollerblading, wheel chairing, swimming, cycling… Sea Point is a hub of activity, it has an optimistic ambience, a vibrant feeling of ‘life is good’.
From the promenade, the view over the Olympic-sized seawater swimming pool and three adjoining smaller pools, over the broad sweep of the Atlantic up to the horizon and further to the African sky, provides you with quite a few tints of blue – to start your tally of 50 shades of blue!
Bantry Bay – turquoise blue
The exclusive Bantry Bay borders on Sea Point. You have to negotiate with great care through the twists and turns on the scenic road – with the aid of roadside mirrors on the bends – so, it might be better to stop to inhale the fresh air and to admire the beauty around you! On the side of the road nearest to the impressive Twelve Apostles mountain range, highly priced villas cling to the cliffs, while on the ocean side you practically drive over the flat roofs of the mansions that stand with their feet on the sea bed, far below the road. The sea is transparent – on a clear day you can count the pebbles and anemones on the ocean floor. As the water gets deeper the colours change to sea green and eventually deeper shades of blue. Take some time and enjoy this view – it is unique!
Clifton – cool blue
“Cool” aptly describes Clifton. The icy blue Atlantic water is skin tingling cold; the beach, with the four world famous bays right next to one another, this is the place to be … and to be seen!
You have to descend quite a steep set of steps, winding between lush greenery and expensive seaside cottages, before you can dig your toes into the warm and very finely granulated sand of Clifton’s Fourth Beach. Great granite boulders on the beach are the distinctive features of this paradise. The boulders are completely different to the black basalt rocks of Sea Point. They are a wonderful attraction for kids to clamber onto and over – and for models to pose against.
Camp’s Bay – sapphire blue
Driving further south-west, you soon reach Camp’s Bay – currently the suburb with the most highly priced properties in the whole of South Africa. On the western side of the wide sandy beach, with bright blue deck chairs, lies the glistening ocean – sapphire changing into cobalt blue, deepening into indigo blue. The eastern side is flanked by well-tended lawns with huge palm trees, swaying in the breeze.
Overhead the gondola, taking visitors up Table Mountain, docks at the cable station. Across the road from the beach is a number of excellent restaurants, big hotels, friendly cafés and popular clubs – all with outdoor terraces where guests can relax in the sun and admire the superb view with their drinks of choice in hand.
Hout Bay – navy blue
Further south you pass another beautiful beach with the exotic name of Llandudno, but our next stop is the large harbour ‘town’ of Hout Bay. All your senses confirm that this is a harbour resort: the screeching of seagulls as they swoop low overhead in search of a morsel to eat; the salty smell of sea water, seaweed, fish; the view of the sailor blue sea and the multitude of boats; the feel of coarse sand beneath your feet; the taste of ‘Smoked Snoek’ – a local delicatessen from the waters of the Atlantic. Even the in-house seal performs in the waters of the bay to entertain visitors!
Walking along the jetty, you are amazed at all the sea going vessels moored at Hout Bay: weather beaten commercial fishing boats, small private fishing dinghies; tourist ferries taking visitors out for seal watching and whale watching; luxury private yachts and sleek catamarans.
If your count of shades of blue has not yet amounted to fifty – Hout Bay harbour will surely do it for you! The ever moving ocean reflects on sailor blue hulls, aquamarine keels and purple-blue undersides.
On the Atlantic Coast in South Africa, travellers will experience luxurious living, glorious sunshine and an incomparable palette of blues -from the softest pale blue to the deepest indigo blue, with every other shade in between!
Celine Renaud is Head of Sales for Leo Trippi.