Strand, Western Cape

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Strand's oceanfront as seen from Gordon's Bay
Strand's oceanfront as seen from Gordon's Bay
Strand is located in South Africa
 Strand shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 34°07′00″S 18°49′00″E / 34.11667°S 18.81667°E / -34.11667; 18.81667Coordinates: 34°07′00″S 18°49′00″E / 34.11667°S 18.81667°E / -34.11667; 18.81667
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
Established 1714
 • Total 21.36 km2 (8.25 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 55,558
 • Density 2,600/km2 (6,700/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 11.6%
 • Coloured 51.1%
 • Indian/Asian 1.0%
 • White 34.2%
 • Other 2.1%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Afrikaans 77.2%
 • English 14.3%
 • Xhosa 2.2%
 • Other 6.3%
Postal code (street) 7140
PO box 7139
Area code +27 (0)21
Strand's beach front.

Strand (Afrikaans for 'beach') is a seaside resort town situated on the eastern edge of False Bay and at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Its geographical position is just between Macassar and Gordon's Bay, and is about 50 km southeast of Cape Town. Strand is in the Western Cape province of South Africa, and has a population of approximately 50,000.[2] Strand's main attraction is the beach; 5 km of white sandy beach lapped by the waters of False Bay.

Strand is often referred to as The Strand (Afrikaans: Die Strand), which is the old name of the town.


Strand was established as a holiday and fishing resort in 1714.[3] In 1970, during the notorious Apartheid era, all black, coloured and Asian people were forcefully removed when the town was classified as a white-only resort[citation needed]. Included in the communities forced to leave at this time were the descendants of Cape Malay slaves, who had escaped from Cape Town over 100 years earlier.[4] They lost their homes, but their mosque still stands today.

Strand falls under the City of Cape Town municipality. It is in close proximity to the inland town of Somerset West. Recent expansion and development of both towns has resulted in the two now being adjacent to each other, with shopping malls and residential complexes creating the connections. The unofficial divide between the two towns is the national road which bisects them, the N2. Strand forms part of the Helderberg Basin, along with Somerset West and Gordon's Bay.

Strand offers spectacular views of the Cape Peninsula and boasts beautiful white-sanded beaches. During the summer, tourists from other parts of South Africa, including Johannesburg, and abroad, come to enjoy the seaside offerings. This tourism is a major source of local income[citation needed]and has been since at least 1950, when the town was popular with visitors from the north of the country, and was home to many retired veterans of the Boer War. There is a train service from Strand to the CBD of Cape Town. The great coastal road that makes its way up the eastern seaboard of the Cape rises into the coastal ranges from near Strand.

Strand also used to accommodate one of the largest dynamite factories in South Africa, owned by the AECI group. This area is being redeveloped into a large new mixed-use urban development, Paardevlei and current tenants include Cheetah Outreach.


The main beach in the Strand, Melkbaai Beach, is known as one of the best and safest bathing areas in the country. Facilities on or nearby this beach include Waterworld with a super tube and mini-golf and Harmony Park which boasts a huge tidal pool. Water sports may be conducted from various points along the beachfront.

For the sporting enthusiast Strand offers a wide variety of organised sport including a golf course capable of hosting international events, tennis courts, rugby fields, squash clubs, jukskei, and water sports like surfing, sailing, power boating, paddle skiing and board sailing. The Pipe is a part of the beach marked off for surfers and is known for its big, "surfable" waves.

Strand also boasts an indoor pool Olympic-sized which is centrally heated and is open all year round. The coast between the Lourens River mouth and up to Rooi Els is very popular with beach fishermen and rock anglers, whilst organised and social diving activities beckon the more adventurous.


Aerial view of Strand on False Bay's shore, with the Hottentots-Holland, Steenbras Dam and Kogelberg beyond
Sandy beach with tidal pool along the Beach Road in Strand with Gordon's Bay and the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the background
A low altitude aerial view of the Strand Beachfront.

Surfing is a popular water sport in Strand and, along with the relaxed atmosphere, forms an integral part of the beach culture of the town. Most of the available breaks are relatively safe for beginner surfers, and young surfers are a common sight in the waters on days when the surf is good. Many of the surfing spots at Strand are some distance offshore; however, most of these spots are frequently surfed. Despite the possibility of sharks, these spots are reportedly much easier and safer to surf than other offshore surf spots on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula, owing to the protection that False Bay offers.

As with most surf spots, windless days create the best surfing conditions, and with a medium to large size ground swell, Strand should provide some good waves. Although there have been numerous shark sightings over recent years, the last recorded shark attack was in 1920.

The available surf spots, listed from west to east, are the following:

  • AECI is mostly sandbank breaks that yield good waves when the sandbanks are optimal. The spot is past the fence that separates Strand beach from the former AECI grounds. Whether the break itself is prohibited area as well is uncertain; however, access to the break is over the beach grounds, which constitutes trespassing. This spot is sometimes also referred to as Somerset West, since the former AECI grounds are technically part of the nearby town of Somerset West.
  • Blinkklip is the Sunset Reef (deep sea surf spot near Kommetjie) of False Bay. Named after the shallow rock ledge it breaks on, this is a mystic surf spot that has never been surfed, although rumours go that tow-in surfing attempts has been made there. It is very deep out to sea, across from AECI, and can be seen breaking from the beach on very large swell days. It would probably offer a very steep take-off and short ride, on a very large wave face. The presence of sharks here is an almost certainty.
  • Pipe is the most popular and main surf spot of Strand. It is located just east of the fence that separates Strand beach from the AECI grounds. Good in no wind and medium to large swell, this spot is most frequented by local and visiting surfers, and is often quite crowded, limiting the amount of waves available per surfer in the water. The right-hand wave is usually a bit better than the left-hand wave. The spot usually offers best waves on a rising tide.
  • Duckies (also referred to as Dakkies) is located in front of the lifesaving club. It offers a classic left-hand wave during huge swell when Pipe is often too crowded. Ideal for beginners, and usually less crowded than Pipe. Surfing is technically prohibited at this spot (and all spots further east than Pipe), however this prohibition is rarely exercised. Nevertheless, swimmers frequent this spot during the summer months, so care must be taken not to hit swimmers while surfing at Duckies. This spot only works on high tide.
  • Reef (or Duckies Reef) is a reef break about 100m out to sea, directly accessed from Duckies. Paddling to this distant break requires about 10 minutes over a channel notorious for sharks. Hence, this spot is not for the faint-of-heart. Only works on low tide and large swell. The reef here is soft rock covered by lots of sponges, so hitting the rocks here will not be so dangerous. This spot offers a classic sliding left-hand break. Used by surfskiiers for rides lasting up to one minute, from reef-to-shore.
  • Silkies is a spot further down the beach where a curve is formed, close to the old Springbok Cafe. Apparently, many years ago, this spot provided stunning hollow tube waves during strong southeaster winds. Nowadays, it is frequented by beginner surfers. It offers short hollow waves, not too big, best on low tide and southeast winds, making it offshore winds. It is partly sand bottom and partly rock bottom.
  • Die Poort is also out to sea, in front of the Pavilion hotel/Strand Jetty. On low tide, a surfer can walk in the waist-deep water to this break, which works on both low and high tide, depending on the swell size and direction. Waves here are usually not best, although a good alternative. Due to the amount of bait from the fishing activities in this area of Strand beach, the likelihood of sharks here are increased.
  • Greenways is a reef break out at sea even further than Duckies Reef. Accessible from the Greenways Country Estate, on the far east side of Strand. Only works on a very good and clean, large swell and high tide. The rocks here start to stick out even if the tide is not completely high yet, or if it is already dropping, thus limiting the time you can surf here without having to worry about hitting very pointy rocks. The paddle out is tricky, rocky and far. There is also the threat of sharks.

Strand is a popular venue for surfing competitions. Although it has been argued that the waves are deteriorating from the fact that less beach dune sand is swept into the water because of the changes the growing number of high-rise luxury apartment blocks make to the local wind patterns, surfing in Strand will most hopefully remain an important local sport and contributor to local beach culture for many years to come.

Central Business District[edit]

The town has a vibrant business district, attracting customers from the surrounding Basin. The CBD offers banks, numerous little shopping malls, restaurants, and supermarkets. The Friedman & Cohen is the largest single shop in the CBD and serves as a major attraction for residents and visitors. The major shopping malls in the area include the Dorpsmeent Centre and, the Somerset Mall shopping mall. The latter is not in the CBD, but rather just outside the town, on the border of Somerset West.

Strand's central business district is entirely surrounded by Strand North and Strand South. Strand Beach Road is divided into three sections - the Golden Mile (also known as Melkbaai) is located between Lourens River and Hibernian Towers (cnr/o Beach Road and Sarel Cilliers Road), the central part of Beach Road stretches between Sarel Cilliers Road and the Pavillion complex, whilst the Platinum Mile is located along Blakes Beach and between Odeon Towers and the Ocean View Hotel.


Strand has its own industrial area, namely the Gants Centre. More recently, Gants Centre has increasingly been accommodating non-industrial businesses, including the local newspaper, the District Mail / Districspos. These industrial companies are in turn are gradually relocating to the areas surrounding the former dynamite sites outside the town, towards Somerset West.

The Gants Centre once had a massive pickling factory, which employed many local residents.

In the winters there is a low inversion layer covering the town, resulting in some degree of pollution. This is rarely seen, however, because of the prevalent winds that keep Strand's skies clean.


The town has primary, secondary and tertiary education facilities, and many ECD facilities of varying quality. As of 2007, there are 19 public and private schools.

Primary schools

High schools

Tertiary institutions

List of suburbs[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Main Place Strand". Census 2011. 
  2. ^ "Strand". Southern Africa Places. Retrieved 2006-10-15. 
  3. ^ "Strand". Southern Africa Places. Retrieved 2006-10-10. 
  4. ^ "SA History". South African History Online. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 

External links[edit]