Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town located about 30 minutes from the city bowl. St. James beach in Muizenberg is a popular surf and swim spot situated on the False Bay coastline and, because the Indian Ocean stays a few degrees warmer than the Atlantic, the water is slightly more pleasant in the chilly winter months. (However, don’t let that fool you into thinking that the water is warm, because I can assure you that it is still very, very cold.) Indian Ocean beaches like those in Muizenberg and Kalk Bay also tend to be less crowded and cosmopolitan than those on the Atlantic Ocean, so they’re ideal for visitors looking for a less touristy feel.
On Sunday, two of my housemates and I, after hearing only good things about the surfing scene in Cape Town, ordered an Uber to Muizenberg to catch some waves. The beach was picturesque, uncrowded, and surrounded by mountains. None of us had ever been surfing before and we didn’t have a plan, so we wandered into one of the shops lining the beach. Within 20 minutes, Gary’s Surf School had us in wetsuits carrying three surf boards down to the water with our surf instructor.
The water was freezing at first, but our bodies adjusted after a few minutes (and with the help of our wetsuits). We spent the next two hours learning to “surf”, which for first-timers actually means trying over and over again to stand up on the board while the waves carry it forward, and subsequently falling off the board 90% of the time. I was by far the worst surfer out of the three of us, but I still managed to stand up and ride a few waves!
The experience was tiring, cold, very salty, and awesome!! The few times I managed to keep my balance and ride the waves were exhilarating, and the rest of the time was spent laughing while falling into the water. (Although I will admit that repeatedly failing does get old after a while.) Overall, I definitely plan on surfing again soon and Muizenberg was a beautiful place to start!