Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Anton Scholtz, Leah D Avidson, Heather Durand & Google Maps
Buffered from the advancing tide of development along the Western Seaboard by the wide expanse of Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, Melkbosstrand has retained its sense of community and feels completely separate from the city, despite officially being part of the Cape Town metropolitan municipality.
“I love the feeling that it’s a safe beach, a safe space,” says resident Sanet Joubert. “There’s always someone you know – the kids can go off surfing for hours and everybody looks out for them.” The beach is the social hub whatever your age and interests. Surfers, SUPers, fishermen, dog-walkers and runners, as well as the bucket and spade brigade, include the beach in their daily routine. “It’s lovely after a hectic day of work to go walk on the beach and rejuvenate,” says Veronica Sleigh of Gypsy Queen jewellery, “or first thing in the morning to start your day.”
And you’re bound to bump into someone you know, stop and chat, pass the time of day. “It’s a friendly community and we know all our neighbours,” says Liza Meyer of book.books.books. “On the beach or in the supermarket, customers will ask us to order books for them.”
Melkbosstrand itself is centred around the quiet residential streets of the avenues, 22 of them, which run perpendicular to the main beachfront so that you’re never more than three blocks from sand and surf. On the dunes behind the town, Atlantic Beach Estate offers prime property in a secure lifestyle estate that includes an 18-hole golf course, a leisure centre with swimming pool and tennis courts, and plenty of nature including caracal.
Stretching north along the beach from Melkbos itself is the residential strip of Van Riebeeckstrand, followed by Duynefontein, established to accommodate the international engineers and professionals working on Koeberg Power Station back in the 1980s. The social centre here is the Koeberg Club which offers sports facilities and a restaurant, and the nearby Koeberg public library.
Van Riebeeckstrand Primary School has long had a good reputation serving the whole extended Melkbosstrand community. Six years ago, the town finally got its own public high school saving older kids from travelling via MyCiTi bus to Table View and Milnerton.
Melkbosstrand Private School on farmland just outside the town is known for small classes and strong academics from preschool to matric, and other options include a new Generation School, Atlantic Beach College, and Fellowship College. It’s an easy 10-minute drive to the various private schools of Parklands and Sunningdale for those who want a wider choice.
Nature is woven into Melkbos daily life, whether spotting dolphins or whales from the beach, mountain biking or hiking the trails in the Koeberg Nature Reserve where zebra, eland and springbok cross your path, or swooping seagulls in the car park when out grocery shopping.
There’s a close-knit surfi ng community with older kids looking out for younger ones, a strong life-saving programme, and a Parkrun now takes place on the beach every Saturday. Horse-riding is allowed on the long stretch of beach in front of Van Riebeeckstrand in the early mornings, and you might see strings of racehorses getting sea air and exercise. “It’s a nice healthy lifestyle with all the beach activities and beautiful walks. It really feels like you’re on holiday!” says Veronica.
Restaurants range from historic Damhuis with its child-friendly play area, to Café Orca for the best seafood, and several more independent cafes and eateries along the beachfront. For cheap eats, locals grab a boerewors roll from the food truck regularly parked opposite the police station, or slap chips from Melkbos Fisheries, followed by a walk along the beach to enjoy one of the spectacular sunsets that even the most blasé of locals can never get tired of.
Melkbos is a beautiful area away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Even though Melkbos is growing, it still retains that small-town charm. We love that we can walk to work, walk to restaurants, and walk with our dog on the beach.
Ben & Liza Meyer, books.books.books
- Surf and SUP
- Parkrun on the beach every Saturday
- Golf at Atlantic Beach Golf Club
- Cycling and hiking in the Koeberg Nature Reserve
- Paintballing at Paintball Pyrozone
- The Birkenhead Centre for Woolworths Food, Clicks and Pick n Pay, as well as independent stores such as books.books.books
- 6th Avenue for a cluster of shops and small businesses, including Melkbos Hardware, OK supermarket, Plants on 6th nursery, Melkbos to Morocco, and Inkalot
- Café Orca: the best seafood
- The Hart: bakery and cafe
- Melkbos Kitchen: breakfast, sushi and light meals
- I Love Melkies: pizzas and nachos
- Damhuis: breakfast, lunch, South African specialities, and seafood
- Trattoria Maranello: pizza and sundowners
- Castella Amare: the best sea views
- Forneria Italia: no view, but excellent wood-fired pizzas