Posted by: Catherine Weston | January 29, 2009

Settling in

The beach


So this is Muizenberg: a southern suburb of Cape Town situated right on the beach. We have a beautiful view from our fifth floor windows of low dunes and white sand stretching eastwards for miles. We look south onto the Indian Ocean – next landfall is Antarctica. Just to confirm that we really are in the Southern hemisphere (and I have to pinch myself to be sure) we can see the stars of the Southern Cross hanging high above the horizon after dark.

The beach is populated by dog walkers, joggers, swimmers, splashers, surfers – both normal and kite variety – and, just recently a couple of tired and pale-looking refugees from cold dark days in Oxford! In the few days since our arrival, we have gained a hire car (and a bit of colour in our cheeks) and have sampled some of the spectacular scenery of the Cape Peninsula. There are penguins to see on a beach a few miles away and already we have spotted 14 other species of birds new to us without really trying. Richard has twice been in the sea and Catherine is working up to it. So, if one of our primary aims for this time of sabbatical is refreshment, we couldn’t have come to a better place!

Some things are very familiar, with a strong British influence evident. So we’re quite at home driving on the left and dealing with roundabouts (or circles, as they are here). Many brand names in the supermarket are the same, and there is even Marmite! Some things, however, quickly remind us that we are in Africa. The plusher homes are walled and wired with notices proclaiming armed security. Sellers of trinkets come to your window while your car waits at traffic lights whilst uniformed car park attendants at the shopping mall help you with your bags and appreciate a tip of a few rand. It is good to be somewhere very different to live and observe another way of life.

Muizenberg is also home to an excellent theological college – George Whitefield College (GWC) – where we are now registered as part-time students. It’s a lively, welcoming place and in our next post we’ll introduce you to our life as international students.



  1. Is that really your picture of what you can see from the beach? Wow!

  2. What a contrast to the unusually large amounts of snow we have had in the UK over the past few days! Enjoy the warm weather and the warmth of the people you meet in South Africa.

  3. Hello Richard and Catherine. The snow fall here in Kettering overnight was very heavy. Almost no traffic about, just a handful of brave on foot. Some shops and offices aren’t open because keyholders/staff can’t get in …

    But we can enjoy the virtual reality of Cape Town. I’m so glad to be getting your news.

    Love and God bless


  4. It does look lovely. I do envy you doing something different. It is not as cold and snowy here in South West Scotland as your other friends are experiencing.

    I hope you are enjoying each others company and the freedom from the daily routine.
    Love Lucinda

  5. Dear Catherine and Richard

    Thank you for the news. Wow, thins looks wonderfull. Switzerland is gray.

    Lots of love

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