Hidden in a lush protected valley on the False Bay Coast in Cape Town, between Simonstown and Fish Hoek, lies the quaint suburb of Glencairn. With a nature reserve and vlei sanctuary running in the middle of the greenbelt towards the sea, this area has been beautifully preserved, allowing the construction of houses on the sloping hills that wind up through to dramatic mountain landscapes.
Possibly the best kept secret of the South Peninsula, the area is a quiet study in natural beauty. A river running through the middle offers a welcome reprieve in the summer months, when locals can sometimes be spotted under the small waterfalls.
The small beach is pretty and clean, pet and family friendly and offers close encounters of whale watching in the spring months. A small tidal pool is perfect for children and treasure hunters, searching for lost coins and perfectly formed shells.
A Getaway to Glencairn is perfect with Kids: Glencairn residents are a mixed bunch of down-to-earth types, most of whom grew up in the area although, young families and former city dwellers have also been attracted to the town due to the well priced properties and the relaxed lifestyle.
A suburb of Simonstown, the quaint residential areas are named Glencairn Heights, Glencairn and the newest area, Welcome Glen, which was a dairy farm not too long ago. Relics of the broken down original stone out buildings can still be seen dotted along the river and the original farmstead takes pride of place in the middle of the small enclave of homes.
A strong navy influence is always present, with training facilities and sporting grounds set into the valley and residential homes for the navy built just around the corner. The old navy stables are still in operation as a private facility, with expanses of grounds kept available for the 30 horses stabled there.
Riders can experience the freedom of the mountain all the way to the dam on Redhill, which can also be reached on foot from the parking lot below. Former state presidents once kept their mounts there and one can still find evidence of the pride of place their steeds held as an integral part of the armed forces.
Now children fill the peaceful meadows with laughter as they trot and canter around the fields, enjoying the simplicity of nature and the love of riding.
Old Glencairn is close to the sea and stretches round to the road leading into Simonstown, boasting a beautifully renovated hotel and restaurant, a dance club, a jolly pub and Mineral World which has a ‘Scratch Patch,’ especially for the kids.
The upmarket restaurant called ‘Flukes’ based at the Southern Right Hotel, brings locals and tourists together to appreciate the ocean views, frolicking whales, excellent winelist and delicious food. (Also worth a visit for the best breakfast in town is La Vallee Deli and for an endless view over the ocean, unpretentious yet delicious food visit Dixies Pub & Restaurant).
Glencairn Heights overlooks the sea, from its mountainside position, with most of the homes offering spectacular views. A purely residential area, it is also a safe haven for families and holidaymakers who have invested in the area to return, like swallows, in time for season.
The relaxed lifestyle in Glencairn can be attributed to the beauty of the landscape, the tranquility of the sea and its state of relative obscurity. Children play in the street and visit each other during the day and families spend quality time with their children, going for walks and picnics on the beach.
Without a main road of shops, malls or businesses, it remains a residential suburb, with all the beauty of its neighbouring seaside tourist towns, but without the trappings. Be sure to add Glencairn to your tour of the peninsula and appreciate the quiet beauty of this little seaside town.