Muizenberg Beach House, Cape Town

Muizenberg Beach Houses Image source

Muizenberg (Afrikaans for "mice mountain") is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. These little wood houses were erected to give protection to bathers, when the Cape South Eastern wind blows or simply to change and store clothing whilst bathing for safety! Whether they are called beach huts, beach boxes, bathing boxes or even beach houses, there is never any doubt, when mentioned alongside Muizenberg, that people are referring to the stretch of  colourful beach huts on Muizenberg beach. There are two rows of beach huts along the shoreline.  One row opposite the children’s play-park at Surfer’s Corner and the other closer to the elevated walkway that runs adjacent to the Putt-Putt. The soft white sands behind the boxes offer some shelter from the wind in the height of summer and this part of the beach is manned by lifesavers in season, forming part of the Blue Flag section of Muizenberg beach.  In the past, this section behind the boxes got very crowded and was known as the “snake pit”.
The bathing box is a throw-back to the “bathing machine” of the 1800’s—a cart-like structure that was wheeled down to the water’s edge, allowing the ladies to change into their chin-to-ankle bathing wear and frolic modestly in the shallows. Has since become an icon of Muizenberg beachfront and just around the corner is the infamous 'Surfers Corner'!
Some huts, in recent years, fell into disrepair and with the threat of removal of the huts as recently as 2017, there was a huge public outcry.  The plight of the beach hut is close to the heart of every “Muizenberger” and together with the mountain, surfing and beach walks makes up the locals’ love and passion for this much loved attraction.
Bright, vibrant and very photogenic, the Muizenberg beach huts continue to be an instagrammer delight and a perfect backdrop and location for film and commercial shoots.  The beach with its huts is a perfect setting for safe swimming, family outings, learning to surf, sun-bathing and ice-cream eating. The brightly coloured beach huts are here to stay—Muizenberg would not be Muizenberg without them. They are also now found at St. James behind the rock pool! 
A comment from a world traveler: "The most colourful stop on my train journey down the coast was at Muizenberg, a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. I have seen the colourful Victorian bathing houses of Muizenberg on countless of photos and couldn’t wait to see them for myself. Although Muizenberg beach lacks the dazzling turquoise ocean and dramatic boulders of beaches like Clifton and Llandudno, the rocks and colourful bathing houses create a stunning contrast. The beach is flat, wide, and the water is generally calm making it the perfect beach for a lovely stroll. I was quite disappointed as we got onto the beach and saw the beach houses. But don't worry, this small row of beach houses you get as you enter the beach is not all there is to it. After having a look on the map we brought with we saw that the Victorian beach houses were actually further down the beach."


Google map: 

Last updated : 18-Apr-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 18-Apr-2019

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.