Camps Bay has long been one
of Cape Town's most popular holiday destinations. Lined with palm
trees on the beachfront, with white sandy beaches, brilliant blue
sea and majestic mountains in the background, Camps Bay offers you
the holiday of a lifetime. The cosmopolitan beachfront with its
restaurants and cafés is busy throughout the year. The village
is close to many other attractions, yet Camps Bay displays a certain
uniqueness which is enjoyed by all its guests - come and experience
it for yourself!
Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape in 1652, sent
by the Dutch East India Company to erect a refreshment station for
the passing ships on their trade route to the East (see History).
Shortly after arrival, he started exploring the surrounding area.
He soon ventured over the mountain and discovered
a bay with a lovely beach behind Table Mountain. Initially the area
was of little interest to the company, being unsuitable for shipping
with its dangerous breakers, yet attractive to farmers. By 1700
the area behind Table Mountain was known as Roodekrantz (Red bank)
due to the reddish colour of the soil. The area was given to John
Lodewyk Wernich, the Mayor of Bismarck, who built a farmhouse and
called it Ravensteyn. After his death, his widow, Anna Koekemoer,
married Fredrik Ernst von Kamptz, who built a track along the coast
from his house to Cape Town. The farmhouse was later used by various
British governors, among them Lord Charles Somerset, as a holiday
The French defend Camps
When the American War of Independence broke out in 1777, the French
and the Dutch sided with America to fight against England. Since
the Cape was considered an important trade and supply station, both
France and England sent their troops to Cape Town. The troops arrived
in 1781, although the French won the race and landed 11 days before
Before long, war erupted between England and the
Netherlands, and for the next three years France assisted her allies,
the Dutch, in the struggle to protect the Cape. As suggested by
the French, a line of fortifications was built from the coast to
Devil's Peak and to the battery on Kloof Nek. Trenches were dug
and a battery was built to command the beach, under Dutch command,
and von Kamptz's track to Camps Bay was demolished in the process.
The Bay of Von Kamptz
After the war, von Kamptz returned home to find his farm wrecked
and his track destroyed. He lodged an official complaint, but the
governor refused to rebuild the track, instead offering to buy the
farm. On 31 January 1786, the government paid compensation to von
Kamptz and the farm changed hands. Within a few months, two small
batteries had been built.
First British Occupation
Dutch power in the Cape was fading by the end of the 18th century.
When news of the Napoleonic Wars arrived in 1793, the British decided
to secure the Cape. They took control of the Cape settlement in
1795, and finally defeated the Dutch in 1806 at Blouberg. In 1807
Lord Charles Somerset was to use the 'Round House' building in Camps
Bay as his hunting lodge.
The beauty of Camps Bay eventually became better
known, from the many governors who had braved the narrow road to
the beach. In 1848 a better road had been completed, named Lady
Smiths Pass, after the wife of the governor. It was later renamed
to Kloof Road.
Camps Bay is home to around 5500 families, with
one of the best high schools in the country. It has some of the
most prestigious properties in Cape Town, with priceless views.
The famous Clifton beaches are situated nearby.
Camps Bay is probably second only to Table Mountain
in its popularity for photographs and postcards. The turquoise colour
of the ocean, together with the blue of the sky, the white sandy
beach and the famous palm fringed beachfront -it's just the perfect
holiday paradise. The view from Lion's Head is amazing, and the
relatively short hike is well worth the effort.
The main attraction of Camps Bay is undoubtedly
the unsurpassed beauty of its lovely beaches. Swimming and tanning
under a bright blue sky, or taking a relaxing walk in the soft white
sand are pastimes enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. Gourmet
restaurants and cafés line the trendy beachfront, offering
delicious refreshments and superb views. The famous 'Theatre on
the Bay' offers delightful entertainment, and there are plenty of
A number of sporting clubs are also a source of
fun and activity - bowling, cricket, soccer, squash and tennis.
The lifesaving club is one of the most established clubs and acts
swiftly in emergency situations. Further from the beach, the magnificent
mountain range is ideal for walking and hiking, and the opportunities
are near endless.
Camps Bay has it all - the perfect setting for
a perfect holiday, coupled with first class dining, entertainment,
accommodation and recreation, as well as picture perfect sunsets.
A popular place to spend a sunny day with Capetonians, and a dream
destination for tourists, Camps Bay really does offer everything
Link to accommodation in and around Cape Town
Link to Immigration Services in South Africa