Big Bay Beach – Cape Town

Big Bay beach is quite close to Blouberg Beach.  It is a long stretch of beach to the right, which makes it perfect for walking the dogs and having the kids run around.  To the left of Big Bay Beach you will find Small Bay Beach.  These two beaches are very popular amongst surfers, kite surfers, paddle boarders, families walking dogs and kids playing in the water.  When it’s windy in Big Bay, it’s very windy, so it’s best to go when it’s a lovely summers or winters day with no wind.  The kite and wind surfers will fill up the water when the wind pick up.  Mostly you’ll find the surfers in the water early morning before it’s too windy and the waves are still good, but once the wind picks up you’ll see the surfers coming out of the water and being replaced by wind and kite surfers.

It’s the perfect beach should you want to take your dogs for a long walk.  This is one of the view dog friendly dogs where you can take your dog(s) for a walk at any time during the day and year.  Most dogs on this beach are socialised and play with each other.

You will also find loads of children running around on this beach playing cricket, soccer or beach tennis and learning to surf and doing some body boarding.  This is really the perfect family beach.  The only important thing to know is that the water is very cold and it’s advisable to wear a wetsuit when surfing, kite surfing or wind surfing.

Just off the beach, on the beach front you will find Eden on the Bay, which is a lovely little shopping centre with loads of nice restaurants and some surf shops.  The surf shops here also offer surfing lessons and you can hire a wetsuit and surf board, so you don’t have to go out and buy everything in order to go for surfing lessons.  If you are anything like me, first try it out and see whether you enjoy it before heading out and spending loads of money on a surfboard and wetsuit just to discover you might not enjoy it that much.  You can also hire SUP (stand up paddle boards), so if you are a surfer but the waves calmed down too much for your liking, you can always hire a paddle board and try that out for some fun.

On beautiful and clear days you will have a stunning view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head as well as Robben Island which is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of BloubergstrandCape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for “seal island”. Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km².  It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group. Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheidKgalema Motlanthe, who also served as President of South Africa, spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner, as did current president Jacob Zuma.  There are daily tours to Robben Island which will take you to the museum and give you a more indepth history of the island.  You can go to http://www.robben-island.org.za/ to learn more about the tours on offer.ImageLoads of kite surfers here.  You will see they come out by the dozens as soon as the wind picks up a little bitImageWind surfers also enjoy the waves at Big BayImageYou will find the water filled with surfers, kite surfers and wind surfers when there’s wind and still good wavesImageBeautiful view of Table Mountain and Lion’s HeadImageThis beautiful couple asked me to photograph them and they ended up printing this photo on Canvas and put it up in their bedroom.ImageLoads of guys on the beach selling ice cream, perfect for those warm summer’s days.  Kids love running around with their ice creams.ImageSo many surfers on this beachImageImageThere is a surfing school at the centre “Eden on the Bay” by the beach front and they teach young and old to surf.  I believe that no one is to old to learn how to surf.  Definitely something on my bucket list.ImageOn clear days like this, you will have a beautiful view of Robben IslandImageDogs love playing in the water and running around at Big Bay – one of the last few dog friendly beaches in Cape TownImageImageEven crazy Harper is allowed on the beach and plays with everything and anything.  He absolutely loves the beach and playing in the water.ImageImageEven little kids enjoy surfing hereImageImageYou will even find some paddleskis at Big BayImageImageImage

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Muizenberg Beach – Cape Town  

Muizenberg beach, situated east to the False Bay coast of Cape Town might not have the tropical turqoise water of Camps Bay or Llandudno, but the water is warm and calm which makes it perfect for novice surfers and young children.  Muizenberg beach is well known for it’s bright colourful Victorian Beach Houses and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.  The fun thing about Muizenberg beach is that it’s safe for kids to play and swim as the water is quite calm and there is a big stretch of white sandy beaches.  You will find surf schools all over Muizenberg offering surfing lessons to all kinds of age groups.  You will find young children on surfing lessons and older people who would just like to learn how to surf.  The surfing lessons in Muizenberg are very affordable and you do not have to worry about buying a wetsuit or surfboard in order to go for surfing lessons.  The surf schools there will provide you with all the necessary wetsuits and surfboards to make your lessons as enjoyable as possible.

There is also an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, surf shops and ice cream parlours.  So whatever you and the family feel like, it will be right on the edge of the beach.  Muizenberg was once the premier swimming beach of Cape Town and really comes alive in summer with loads of surfers, families with kids and dogs.

The water at Muizenberg beach is perfect for body boarders, should they not want to attempt surfing there.  You will find alot of fathers with their young kids in the water body boarding in between the surfers.  This beach can become very crowded with surfers, paddle boarders, body borders and just normal swimmers and should you decide to go there, you will need to know that you’ll have to be patient as this is a very popular beach in Cape Town.

People from all over Cape Town come to Muizenberg for the warmer and calmer water.

But Muizenberg is not only known for it’s lovely beach, but it also has history to it.  Behind the beach, the historic town of Muizenberg boasts the oldest building on the False Bay coast – Het Posthuys in Main Road, dating to the 1600s. Nearby, the public is invited to visit the Battle of Muizenberg site, where the British captured the Dutch colony in 1795 – a significant marker in the history of Cape Town and South Africa.

Other heritage attractions in the area include Rhodes Cottage, the house overlooking False Bay where mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes lived and died in 1902 (246 Main Rd, Muizenberg; +27 21 788 1816), and which presents displays on this larger-than-life icon.

It is also worth having a look at the Edwardian-era Muizenberg Railway Station (177 Main Rd, Muizenberg). The train journey, know as “The Southern Line”, from Cape Town to Simon’s Town is highly recommended. Find out more information by contacting the Cape Town Tourism Muizenberg Visitor Information Centre or the Muizenberg Historical Society (+ 27 21 788 5542) for more historical information on the area.

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Some of the brightly colourful Victorian Beach Houses

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These beach houses are situated by a little play area for kids.  Kids love this area as they can climb and slide and do monkey bars and play in the sand.

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Old school bicycle on the beach

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More colourful Victorian Beach Houses to be found along Muizenberg beach

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You will find quite a lot of people on SUP’s as well, or more commonly known as paddle boarders.  The warm water and small waves are perfect for paddle boarding, so if you would like to make a change from surfing, this is perfect at Muizenberg beach.

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Beatiful views of the mountain by Fishhoek.

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Seagulls eating clams and basically anything they can find on the beach

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Some kids after their surfing lesson.  They had a lot of fun and the surfing instructors are very patient with even the youngest of surfers.

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Little surfer who is not a novice any more.  Will most likely surf a lot better than me.

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Even surfski’s can be found at Muizenberg Beach.

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Some of the surfers

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Two surfers who took part in a surfing competition.  The waves were quite small on the day, but they seemed confident in their skills.

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Another paddle boarder

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Magical Bali

We went backpacking through Bali, Indonesia last year, middle April to beginning May. The weather is great that time as it’s not quite in the middle of their summer yet and not yet full on in season so it’s not as busy as it is during June and July.  You will also miss the tropical rains which ends at about end March beginning April.  With temperatures of 35 degrees celsius and very humid, it’s good to stay somewhere with a pool and air-conditioner in the room.  This time round we took along backpacks and surfboards.

We arrived in Kuta, Bali where we caught a taxi to a local hotel not too far from Kuta beach.  If you have a love for surfing or would like to start, Bali is the perfect place to learn.  They have surf boards to rent at every beach and give surfing lessons to the newbie surfers.  There are experienced surfers on all the reefs and when the waves are not that great for surfing you’ll see quite a lot of people out paddling on SUP’s.  We started in Kuta, went to Balangan, Ccangu, Nusa Lembongan and Ubud.  I am not a surfer and have tried to surf a little bit in Cape Town before going to Bali.  But once in Kuta and seeing everyone out in the water on their boards, I thought that I would give surfing a go, needless to say I just rediscovered that I am not a surfer at all and should rather just stick to cycling.  I went into the water all brave and full of hope, but came out with a bruised arm, split open top and bottom lips and a bloody nose.

Bali can definitely be seen as one of the surfing capitals of the world, with an abundance of surf shops and loads of good waves.  For the none surfers who might want a good cup of coffee, you can rest assured, as there are Starbucks in just about every town in Bali.  There is such a great variety, from big waves to beautiful rice paddies and volcano’s.  There really is just so much to see and do in Bali.

Kuta

Definitely the party and shopping capital of Bali.  There is plenty of surf shops around every corner and in every street there are street vendors selling towels, dresses, shoes, toys and almost anything and everything you can think about.  Always negotiate with them as they tend to sell things to you at an inflated price as you are a tourist and they see you as being rich and they also just assume that you are Australian just because you are Caucasian.

Should you be looking for a place to party and let your hair down, then Kuta is the city for you.  With parties going on all night, Kuta will keep you well entertained with loads of tourists having fun dancing and drinking the night away.  Once you have had your share of partying in Kuta, move along to the smaller towns where you’d be able to relax and still meet other tourists (mostly surfers) and have some sun downers on the beach while watching the most beautiful sunsets.

ImageOn his way with a balloon delivery – also travel with most of their things on a scooter

ImageGong Corner Restaurant is situated in an alley in Kuta.  They serve traditional Balinese cuisine and are very reasonable with their prices.  We ate here at least once per day as the food is good, portions are big and you definitely get more than you paid for.

ImageGrafiti on one of the walls in an alley, Kuta

Balangan

So calm and quiet.  We stayed at The Bungalows in Balangan.  It had a pool with a very nice little restaurant where they have the most define banana fritters.  I could eat banana fritters for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There are quite a lot of bigger bungalows which you can share with friends if you are a group of 4.  But do not worry as they have loads of rooms built on at the back of the bungalows which are just as lovely with aircons and roof fans.  The Bungalows are situated on the top of the cliff overlooking the beach; and what a beautiful view with some beautiful sunsets.  On the beach there are also some backpacker hostels which was packed full of surfers.  If they were not surfing they were on the beach having some Bintangs and playing volleyball.  Other than the surfers will also find random dogs on the beach along with some naked local kids enjoying the warm sea.

ImageLocal Balinese children having a swim

ImageLocal dog at our hotel – The Bungalows

ImageSome surfers and guys paddling on SUP’s.  Seems like SUP’s are becoming quite a thing to do when the waves are not that big.

ImageFast asleep after having a Bintang

ImageLocals having a wash and bath in the sea

 Ccangu

A small little coastal town just outside Kuta where surfers will find awesome reef breaks.  There are some nice restaurants on the beach where you can sit and watch the surfers catching some waves and even being barrelled.

ImageTropical Ccangu

Nusa Lembongan

What a beautiful seaweed farming island.  This island is not that far from Kuta, but you can only get to the island by way of speed boat or ferry.  The speedboat trip is about an hour, but is double the price of the ferry so if you’re not on a tight budget then I would recommend a speedboat.  The ferry trip takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.  There are a lot of lovely hotels and resorts on the island so if you plan on going there on honeymoon, I would definitely recommend that.  You have options between Mushroom bay and Dream Beach, both equally beautiful, but Dream Beach seems to be a bit more secluded.

It is a small island and if you hire a scooter you can venture through the whole island in one afternoon.  Nusa Lembongan is also quite popular for scuba diving and snorkelling, so if you’re a fan of scuba diving and snorkelling, make sure you book a scuba diving and snorkelling trip as there are loads of reef and fish to see.

When it’s high tide you’ll see loads of boats on the sea and as soon as the tide drops, all you’ll see is seaweed farms with boats stuck on the land where the sea was on high tide.  The seaweed farmers work whenever it’s low tide, so whether low tide is during the day or at 10pm, you will hear them walking to their farms and collecting seaweed.  It’s a very productive and hardworking little town full of culture and history.  Definitely a must when in Bali.

The surfers love going to Nusa Lembongan and you’ll hear them talk about Shipwrecks and Playgrounds.  I am not a surfer at all, but it is recommended that only experienced surfers should attempt surfing Shipwrecks and beginner to intermediate surfers should go to Playgrounds.  Playgrounds have loads of fun waves which is also a reef break but not nearly as big as Shipwrecks.

ImageSeaweed farmer houses on the beach

ImageSeaweed farmer sitting on a little piece of his seaweed farm

ImageCarrying seaweed out to dry – women helping the men

ImageSeaweed farmer on his way to farm some seaweed

ImageOne of the most beautiful sunsets in Bali

ImageLocal children playing around by the seaweed farms in between the boats which are stuck due to low tide

ImageFound this on the island one afternoon while exploring the island on a scooter

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ImageSeaweed farmers hard at work while the tide is low

ImageA walk through one of the plantations

ImageSeaweed busy drying so that they can sell it – very smelly

ImageThe local kids didn’t mind the camera at all and loved posing for me

ImageHere you can buy something to drink and some petrol, do not mistake it for drinking petrol.  They sell petrol in recycled coke bottles next to the street.  No petrol station or ATM on this island at all, so ensure that you have enough cash on you if you plan on going to Nusa Lembongan.

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Ubud

A lovely little town about 3 hours’ drive into Bali.  Even though there is no sea to surf at, there is plenty to do.  There is a monkey forest, rice paddies, theatres with very cultural shows and loads of romantic restaurants with artists singing and playing some local music for you to enjoy.  It is very green and tropical there with loads of mountains and forests surrounding the little town.  This little town featured in the book and movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” and you’ll also find loads of artists here sitting in their studios painting.  If you have a sense for the arts and crafts, this little town is definitely worth the visit.

ImageLovely rice paddies just outside UbudImageDucks wandering in the rice paddies looking for some water

ImageA little house in the rice paddies between the tropical trees

While in Ubud we also went to the Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary where you can see so many Macaques.  They will climb on you and will attempt to take your bag and belongings as they think that it’s food.  So always walk with your hands open so that they can see you do not have any food on you.  You can buy bananas as you go into the Forest to give to the monkeys, but they are very greedy and would want to take it all to themselves.  Should the monkeys climb on you, try your best not to scream or shout as that will give them a fright.  They are harmless and will not bite you.

ImageEating something which was taken from a tourist

ImageMommy Macaque with her baby