Strand and Gordons Bay, Western Cape, South Africa

Beach in Gordons Bay.
by Zola Miller

Many years ago - about 1695 - a Corporal of the Dutch East India Company first set foot on the white sands of Milk Bay. It is quite possible that this little bay might have been mistaken for the "Bay of Storms" - or maybe the men merely wanted to explore this spectacular area with the towering mountains on one side, and a possible route to the unknown interior right in front of them. Whatever you fancy!

In the early 1700's a Huguenot was granted a farm there known as "Vlooibaai" - today this farm forms the business centre of the Strand. Numerous name changes followed, but in 1937 it was eventually decided to call it the Strand, the name it still carries today. The town is a popular seaside resort. The climate is dry and sunny in the summer, and usually fairly mild in the winter.

Strand is only a short distance from the Cape Town International Airport, and lies at the fork of two spectacular routes.

The main highway leads to the fabulous Garden Route, via the Hottentors-Holland mountains and Sir Lowry's Pass. Looking down at the Strand from the parking provided at the top of the pass is a thrilling experience.

On a clear day it is possible to see most of the seaside, the impressive mountains at Cape Point, as well as the flat, developed land in between. The other route is along a narrower road, clinging to the side of the mountains with the sea hurling itself against miles of rocks. The route eventually ends at a little seaside resort known as Hermanus which is world-renowned for its whales and cuisine. Stop anywhere along this road which seems to have been hacked out of stony slopes - thrill to the expanse of ocean at your feet - it is ever-changing the same, yet always impressive.

The town of Strand offers a wide variety of shopping centres, accommodation, and places at which to enjoy the local cuisine. There are the beaches, the guided township tours, walking trails, wine routes, country craft markets, and especially the Christmas Light Displays in nearby Somerset West. Essentially more bustling during the holiday seasons, Strand exudes a charm of its own!

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