Strand, Western Cape

Strand, Western Cape

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. [cite web | url=http://www.places.co.za/html/strand.html | title=Strand | publisher=Southern Africa Places | accessdate=2006-10-15] Strand's main attraction is the beach; five kilometers of white sandy beach lapped by the waters of False Bay.

History

Strand originated a few hundred years ago as a holiday and fishing resort and was founded in 1714. [cite web | url=http://www.places.co.za/html/strand.html | title=Strand | publisher=Southern Africa Places | accessdate=2006-10-10] In 1970, during Apartheid, all non-whites were forcefully resettled when the town was classified as a white-only resortFact|date=February 2007. A notable community that was forced to leave at this time were the descendants of Cape Malay slaves who had escaped from Cape Town over 100 years earlierFact|date=February 2007. They lost their homes but their mosque still stands today.

It is now regarded as part of the greater city of Cape Town itself, because the City Cape Town took over Strand's municipal powers. It is 10 km away from the inland town of Somerset West, however recent expansion of both towns have resulted in it being built completely fixed to each other, with shopping malls and residential complexes creating the connections. Strand forms part of the Helderberg Basin, together with Somerset West and Gordon's Bay.

It has great views of the Cape Peninsula and fine beaches. During the summer, tourists from inland - mainly Johannesburg - flock to the area and this tourism is the principal source of local incomeFact|date=February 2007. This has been the case since at least 1950. Even in those days the town was popular with visitors from the north and was home to quite a few retired veterans of the Boer War. There is a train service from Strand to the central business district 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 accommodates one of the largest dynamite factories in South Africa. These dynamite sites are owned by the AECI group. Rumour has it that the area is going to be remade into a waterfront, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Tourism

The main beach in the Strand, Melkbaai Beach, is known to be one of the best and safest bathing areas in the country. Facilities on or nearby include Dune Park 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 beach front.

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 Olympic-sized, covered, centrally heated swimming pool which 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.

urfing

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. An interesting fact of surfing spots at Strand is that a lot of them are some distance offshore, however, most of these spots are frequently surfed, and despite the probability of sharks, these spots are much easier and safer to surf than other offshore surf spots on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula. The protective element that False Bay gives here is probably part of the reason.

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 spottings 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 prohibited 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 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.
*"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 plenty of local surfing clubs' surfing competitions. Although it has been argued that the waves are deteriorating from the fact that less beach dune sand are 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 likely be one of the most important local sports and contributor of local beach culture for many years to come.

Central Business District

The town has a vibrant business district, attracting customers from all over the town. The large black and coloured communities situated just outside Strand also flock to the CBD on a daily basis. The CBD offers banks, numerous little shopping malls, restaurants, and supermarkets. The Friedman & Cohen is the largest single shop on the outskirts of the CBD and serves as the main attraction for residents to the area, as well as non-residents. The majour shopping malls in the area include the Dorpsmeent Centre and, the Somerset Mall shopping mall, however the latter is not in the CBD, but rather just outside the town.

Strand's central business district is entirely surrounded by suburbia. There are, however, other businesses which are not situated in the CBD. Some scholars have suggested that Strand's CBD is shifting away from the beach front, due to enormous economic growth and the declining unemployment statistics of the town, which result in more businesses opening their doors in on the in-land boundaries of the CBD.

Industrialism

Strand has its own industrial area, namely the Gants Centre. However in the past few years the Gants Centre has increasingly been accommodating normal businesses other than the usual factories once found there. These in turn are gradually relocating to the dynamite sites outside the town, near Somerset West.

The Gants Centre once had a massive pickling factory, which served as a great job provider to the residents.

In the winters there are a low inversion layer covering the town, resulting in some degree of pollution, however this is rarely seen because of the constant strong winds keeping Strand's skies clean.

Education

The town has primary, secondary and tertiary educational facilities. As of 2007, there are 19 public- and private schools.

Primary schools
*Dr. G.J. Joubert
*Hendrik Louw Primary School
*Laerskool Lochnerhof
*Loreto Primary School (Strand)

High schools
*Hoërskool Strand
*Hottentots-Holland
*Khanyolwethu Sekondêr
*Madrasatyr Rajaa Sekondêr
*Rusthof Sekondêr
*Simanyene Sekondêr
*Strand Sekondêr

Tertiary institutions
*Boland College

List of suburbs

*Gordons Bay
*Harbour Island
*Lwandle
*Chris Nissen Park
*Lourensrivier
*Melkbaai
*Strand-Noord
*Suider Strand
*Mostert's Bay
*Strandvale
*Goedehoop
*Twin Palms
*Die Bos

Trivia

*Strand is often referred to as "The Strand" (Afrikaans: "Die Strand"). This is the old name of the town. Currently, the official name is only "Strand".
*Strand is now a suburb of Cape Town since Strand's municipality became part of the greater City of Cape Town metropolitan area.
*Strand uses the telephone area codes "851", "852", "853" and "854"
*The vehicle registration code for Strand (and Gordon's Bay) is "CEY".
*Guy Fawkes is vividly celebrated on Strand beach every year on the evening of 5 November. Local youth and adults alike enjoy the fireworks displays that usually commence after sunset.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.strand.org.za/ The Strand Website]
* [http://img176.exs.cx/img176/2839/melkbaai8ey.jpgPhoto of busy Strand beach]
* [http://www.places.co.za/html/strand.html History, information and pictures]
* [http://www.news24.com/Helderberg/ The District Mail, regional newspaper]
* [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/SF/1/Strand.html Physical information]


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