Bay has the deep blue Atlantic ocean at its feet and the
magnificent Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain as backdrop. Lady Anne
Barnard wrote in 1779: I rode round to Camps Bay, the road to
which is finer than any scene I have ever seen in my
life... When you first catch sight of the tranquil
beauty of Camps Bay you can hardly believe that, only five minutes
before, you left the busy city of Cape Town behind you.
settlers came to Cape Town in 1652 to grow a vegetable garden to try
and curb the dreaded scurvy that claimed the lives of many sailors.
They also traded cattle from the indigenous Khoikhoi. Soon the herds of
the settlers were such that the Khoikhoi were only allowed to graze
their cattle behind Table Mountain which included Camps Bay.
By 1713 the Khoikhoi disintegrated to a large extent because
of epidemics of small pox, measles and TB brought by
the many ships landing at Cape Town, the selling of too many
of their breeding stock and droughts which were worsened by the
restrictions on moving their cattle.
finds Camps Bay as a farm where vegetables were grown and
cattle were raised for the market which was now well
established. Camps Bay (Kampsbaai) was named after von
Kamptz, the third husband of the third wife on the only son of the
first farmer in Camps Bay. He did nothing to deserve this honour except
to build a road over the mountain to his farm which was demolished in
1777 at the outbreak of the American War of Independence. A
battery and guardhouse were built to prevent enemy landing. The canons
are still here to see. Now children play on them and tourists
take fun photographs posing their fearlessness with the deep blue ocean
homestead on this farm became the first guesthouse
until the extravagant Lord Charles Somerset rebuilt it in 1822 as his
holiday home and hunting lodge because of the abundance of wild life
- also lions and leopards. By 1900 there were only a
few homes in Camps Bay, but a tram brought picnic makers around the
mountain on the scenic drive to Camps Bay to frolic on the
slaves from Malaysia found sanctuary in the caves and
shadows of the Twelve Apostles and their graves are still considered
sacred ground by the Muslims and respected by other religions.
For this reason and the fact that most people do not want the
beauty and habitat of Table Mountain spoilt any further by
brick and mortar constructions, there is no more land left for
building in Camps Bay. The only option is to buy existing
homes, flatten it, and built mansions for those who can afford
it. Associations of concerned citizens have their hands full
to keep developers at bay who want to built terrace homes on single
plots and sell them at very high prices.
is said that properties in Camps Bay and Clifton are per square meter
the most expensive in South Africa. For this reason many properties in
Camps Bay belongs to people outside South Africa who
hopefully bought them for the surrounding beauty rather then the
lucrative investment they are sure to be. There is
some success, however, in keeping Camps Bay the village it wants to
be. There is only one hotel (the 5-star Bay Hotel),
one supermarket and one set of traffic lights. The rest of
the business area consists of estate agents and excellent restaurants.
Camps Bay has been described as
the Beverley Hills of Cape Town, but Beverley Hills has yet to see how
the last rays of the sun paints the Twelve Apostles a soft
rose pink before it slips into the ocean.
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