Camps Bay and Clifton – The Official Guide
Between Clifton and Llandudno beaches, and bordered by the spectacular Twelve Apostles mountain range and the glittering Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay is one of Cape Town’s most breath-taking suburbs. As well as being a popular summer attraction for locals and tourists who flock to the beach, Camps Bay boasts restaurants and watering holes aplenty that line the famous sunset strip for fun that goes on long after dark.
It got its name “Die Baai van Von Kamptz” from Fredrick Ernst von Kamptz and the area remained mostly undeveloped throughout the 19th century. Lord Charles Somerset hunted there, using the Roundhouse as his lodge. Kloof Nek, the road which links Camps Bay to the City Bowl, was built in 1848, and in 1884 good old Thomas Bain, who built many roads in the Cape region, was commissioned to build one from Sea Point to Camps Bay. Of course, he didn’t literally build this one himself – that task fell to convict labour.
Completed in 1887 it was named Victoria to honour the Queen’s jubilee the following year. Along it, people cycled to Camps Bay which had become a popular picnic site, and it is now the palm-lined boulevard which sees hoards of visitors thronging there to hang out, see and be seen – not that much has changed in the last century and a half.
Camps Bay is on two MyCiTi bus routes as well as the hop-on-hop-off City SightSeeing bus routes. On the beach you can rent loungers and umbrellas for a day of lazing in the sun, get a massage, or play volleyball. There is often street entertainment as the sun goes down.
Celebrities – who remain largely undisturbed by ultra-cool Capetonians – mix with locals at places along the promenade with their prime beachfront locations. Café Caprice, Paranga, Blues, La Belle Bistro and Umi, which has a fabulous whisky bar, are highly sought-after spots where long lunches blend into sundowners then merge into dinner and dancing. National Geographic put Cape Town’s beaches at number two in the world, and the set of four at Clifton makes it easy to see why. Named first to fourth, they are separated by huge granite boulders. The sand is soft and white, the water is calm and turquoise, and the fact that Clifton is sheltered from our notorious summer gale force south-easter winds makes it unique.
Property in Clifton costs in the tens of millions of rands but it wasn’t always like this; the small size of the properties can be attributed to the area being laid out by the City of Cape Town for returning soldiers who had fought in World War I. The original bungalows, now all but replaced by new structures, were built from the packing cases that conveyed imported motor cars during the 20s and 30s.
The Bungalow restaurant and bar is where all the beautiful people go to enjoy views, sunsets, cocktails and a delicious meal. During summer our top DJs spin sultry sundowner sets. The bowling green in front of this restaurant is a landing spot for the paragliders who launch themselves off Lion’s Head.