Saturday 14 April 2012

Bare feet in the sand: Cape Town beach style

When you've come through a long northern winter and find yourself waking to a perfect late summer's day in Cape Town, the desire to feel warm sand under your bare toes becomes overwhelming ...

At Clifton beach, on the Atlantic ocean side of the peninsula, the sea is pretty freezing and the currents strong (hence not many people in the water, above). You need to go to the warm Indian ocean side for swimming and surfing beaches. But the combination of mountains, sea and beach bungalows to die for is unbeatable right here ...

With no crowds at this time of year, there's plenty of space to stake out your umbrella and get busy doing this kind of thing ...

At lunchtime we discovered a place where you can eat in style with your bare feet in the sand ...

(perfectly tender grilled calamari)

... while watching the yachts bob in the bay.

The Grand Café & Beach is the result of the kind of creativity and imagination you find everywhere in this city. A derelict corrugated iron warehouse on an unpromising bit of shore-line near Cape Town harbour was transformed into a simple venue for eating and drinking, the beach was cleared and cafe tables and chairs laid out on the sand under umbrellas.

We loved it so much we went back in the evening. Can you think of a more perfect spot than this four-poster bed with velvet cushions to get comfortable and watch the sun set over the sea ...?

What I love about this place is the informality combined with touches of luxury - kelims, chandeliers and overstuffed armchairs sit comfortably on beach sand ...

a collection of bizarre new and found objects strewn on the beach holds the attention of children free to play and explore ...

or watch the passing parade of boats, from battered old dhows floating dreamily by ... 

to sleek ocean liners steaming out of the port ...

This is Cape Town beach style and I'm mad for it ...


  1. This looks absolutely blissful.
    I long for a beach after a NY winter!
    Bster sends greetings!

  2. I second Elizabeth: blissful!

  3. Haren, maybe I can complete the trio, begun by those lovely folks who've already visited.

    When I look at your photos, and read your commentary on this beautiful part of the world, I keep thinking of so much more that I wish we could have talked about, and then think...we will have other opportunities to continue the conversation.

    The Capetown light and that clear blue sea dazzle. As New York City continues to grant us springtime before the official calendar end to winter, and now shows us glimmers of summer as we have just dipped our official springy toes in the water, I look at your photos and just think that I really know nothing about beauty round our earth. And thank you for being a wonderful guide to learning more about that beauty.


  4. Haren...who is Haren? Karen, you are the lovely lady to whom I sent my comment.


  5. What a dreamy way to holiday Karen. I like the huge 'glitter ball' on the beach with its reflection. I'm fraid sleek liners make me shudder - too huge for me - and particularly after watching the "Sinking of the Concordia" documentary on TV last week.

    We are having a sunny weekend here in Scotland but our temperatures are at the opposite end of the thermostat to yours.

    Your photographs are like something out of a glossy magazine!

  6. Dear Karen, What a fine painting your sailing ship photograph would make! My absolute favorite of all the other beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing your lovely world with us. ox, Gina

  7. O M G ! ! !
    No Frenhc pastry can ever be as delicious as this beach, this ocean..
    I am salivation hungrily
    'luxe, calme et volupte'
    Matisse should have stopped by...

  8. I'm do green with envy I couldn't spell properly.
    Please forgive

  9. OMG, "Grand" Cafe sounds perfect and looks spectacular. My kind of place. I'm just fine NOT getting in the water, and I know the cool water temperature makes lounging lovely, not at all hot as we have here on the Texas coast. Karen, this is a wonderful post, my love. Big hug from Houston....

  10. I can see the appeal - just gorgeous! Lucky you!

  11. Your images of our beautiful city beach and the Grande are wonderful!
    Glad to hear you are enjoying our beautiful Cape Town!



  13. Lovely to pass by again..
    and again.
    Oh to be digging my toes into that sand...
    Still the vicarious jaunt is almost as good.

  14. Your pictures are absolutely stunning, and that giant disco ball: what a riot! Cape Town is my favorite place in the whole wide world, so thank you for bringing me a little taste of its magic back to America.


Related Posts with Thumbnails