Area Information - Camps Bay Guest House
Information About The Area Where Bateleurs Rontree Is Situated
Cape Town, affectionately referred to as the "Mother City", cradled by the world famous Table Mountain landmark is reputed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cape Town is situated in the Western Cape region, in the southern most corner of South Africa, and is bordered by both the Atlantic & Indian Oceans. The Cape has a rich and varied heritage influenced by the numerous cultural groups that have made their home here.
History books say when Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias first rounded the Cape in 1488 he named it the Cape of Storms, in deference to the stormy weather he experienced off the tip of Africa, however it was quickly renamed Cape of Good Hope by King John II of Portugal. Africans in the region have a different perspective and call it “Ikapa Lodumo” (Cape of Fame) because of its attractions as a world class tourist destination. The Cape is probably best known for Table Mountain, which forms an imposing backdrop to the city of Cape Town. The Table Mountain Nature Reserve stretches from the city, right down the penisula to Cape Point.
Throughout history the Western Cape Coast has been known by many different names. In 1580 Sir Francis Drake named it "The Fairest Cape", the Portuguese mariners named it the "Cape of Storms", it was also known as "The Cape of Good Hope", "The Tavern of the Seas" or simply "The Cape".
Founded in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck the requirements of early mariners to establish a supply and refreshment station for passing ships a settlement grew and became a colony. The exploration and settlement of the interior of the country started from here and the Western Cape played an important role in the history of South and Southern Africa.
The Cape is famous for its winelands, which produce some of the finest wines in the world. Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl are probably the best known names but there are also a host of smaller towns that are well worth exploring.
Cape Town is affectionately known as the "Mother City", a reflection of its status as the oldest city in South Africa, and its warm, open welcome to visitors. The spectacular Atlantic Seaboard is definitely South Africa's Riviera, playground of the rich and famous. It also boasts some of the finest beaches in the southern hemisphere.
False Bay is home to some of the best swimming beaches in the Cape, the most famous of which is Boulders, just outside of Simonstown, which comes complete with a colony of jackass penguins.
The Southern Cape coastal region has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. The best time to visit the the Western Cape is between December and March when the days are pleasantly warm and the evenings refreshingly cool. From August to October - depending on the rains the various nature reserves and veld areas are alive and colourful with an abundance of wild flowers.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
The city of Cape Town is a thriving city of culture, charm, colour and atmosphere. Cape Town offers many tourist attractions, including Cape Town harbour and the world famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, famous for attracting international trade and tourists.
The place where Jan van Riebeeck’s statue stands on the Heerengracht, is approximately where the commander and his party landed. This area was known as Roggebaai (Rocky Bay), and later boasted an esplanade and a pier. In the 1940’s these were demolished, the land was reclaimed and became known as “The Foreshore”. Today broad Heerengracht leads into the main thoroughfare of Adderley Street with its shops and business complexes.
At the top of Adderley Street is shady, oak-lined Government Avenue, with tame squirrels and the magnificent Houses of Parliament, St Georges Cathedral and statue of Field Marshal Smuts. Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain near Rondebosch is an impresive memorial to the pioneer statesman Cecil John Rhodes and well worth a visit.
About Camps Bay
Camps Bay has the deep blue Atlantic ocean at its feet and the magnificent Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain as backdrop. Lady Anne Barnard wrote in 1779: I rode round to Camps Bay, the road to which is finer than any scene I have ever seen in my life... When you first catch sight of the tranquil beauty of Camps Bay you can hardly believe that, only five minutes before, you left the busy city of Cape Town behind you.
Dutch settlers came to Cape Town in 1652 to grow a vegetable garden to try and curb the dreaded scurvy that claimed the lives of many sailors. They also traded cattle from the indigenous Khoikhoi. Soon the herds of the settlers were such that the Khoikhoi were only allowed to graze their cattle behind Table Mountain which included Camps Bay. By 1713 the Khoikhoi disintegrated to a large extent because of epidemics of small pox, measles and TB brought by the many ships landing at Cape Town, the selling of too many of their breeding stock and droughts which were worsened by the restrictions on moving their cattle.
1700 finds Camps Bay as a farm where vegetables were grown and cattle were raised for the market which was now well established. Camps Bay (Kampsbaai) was named after Von Kamptz, the third husband of the third wife on the only son of the first farmer in Camps Bay. He did nothing to deserve this honour except to build a road over the mountain to his farm which was demolished in 1777 at the outbreak of the American War of Independence. A battery and guardhouse were built to prevent enemy landing. The canons are still here to see. Now children play on them and tourists take fun photographs posing their fearlessness with the deep blue ocean as background.
The homestead on this farm became the first guesthouse until the extravagant Lord Charles Somerset rebuilt it in 1822 as his holiday home and hunting lodge because of the abundance of wild life - also lions and leopards. By 1900 there were only a few homes in Camps Bay, but a tram brought picnic makers around the mountain on the scenic drive to Camps Bay to frolic on the white beaches.
Runaway slaves from Malaysia found sanctuary in the caves and shadows of the Twelve Apostles and their graves are still considered sacred ground by the Muslims and respected by other religions. For this reason and the fact that most people do not want the beauty and habitat of Table Mountain spoilt any further by brick and mortar constructions, there is no more land left for building in Camps Bay. The only option is to by existing homes, flatten it, and built mansions for those who can afford it. Associations of concerned citizens have their hands full to keep developers at bay who want to built terrace homes on single plots and sell them at very high prices.
It is said that properties in Camps Bay and Clifton are per square meter the most expensive in South Africa. For this reason many properties in Camps Bay belong to people outside of South Africa who hopefully bought them for the surrounding beauty rather then the lucrative investment they are sure to be. There is some success, however, in keeping Camps Bay the village it wants to be. There is only one hotel (the 5-star Bay Hotel), one supermarket and one set of traffic lights. The rest of the business area consists of estate agents and excellent restaurants.
Camps Bay has been described as the Beverley Hills of Cape Town, but Beverley Hills has yet to see how the last rays of the sun paints the Twelve Apostles a soft rose pink before it slips into the ocean.