About Macassar Beach

Macassar Beach is a long (approx. 6Km) sandy, windswept beach lying at the base of the Macassar Dunes System on the Cape Flats Coastline of False Bay. It was once a bustling beach-front and home to the Macassar Pavilion, but is now mostly frequented by fishermen.

Fishing on Macassar Beach, Cape Town (Cape Flats Coast)
Image Courtesy of ‘beach-on-map.com

Back in the apartheid era Macassar Beach was demarcated for non-whites due to its proximity to the local townships. In 1991 (3-years before the collapse of the ‘old regime’), the government built a water park on Macassar Beach called the Macassar Pavilion. Initially there was meant to be an admission fee, but after community protests the ‘Pavilion‘ was opened to all for Free.

Without funding, the upkeep of the Macassar Pavilion became a problem and it started to deteriorate to a point where staff weren’t paid and eventually left. Shops & all features of the Pavilion shut down and the place was later abandoned.

The fact that the Macassar Pavilion was also built in the middle of the Macassar Dune System contributed massively to its demise. The wind and sand was and still is a force to be reckoned with; with sand eventually taking over and stacking up against and within the buildings and water features of the once lively Pavilion. After standing derelict, for years, the building and water-slides of the Macassar Pavilion were eventually demolished in 2020 as part of the revised Dune Management Plan, which aims to help restore the Dune Systems of the Western Cape.

In 2020 the Macassar Pavillion was demolished
Image captured from the Video by: Vision Entertainment. ‘Watch Video

Most of the Macassar Beach area and dunes are now part of the ‘Macassar Dune Conservation Area‘, which is attempting to protect and restore the biodiversity of the region.

These dunes are the highest natural occurring dune system within the Cape Peninsula, and also home to certain unique plant species and the last remaining forest of Milkwood Trees (Sideroxylon inerme) on the Cape Peninsula.

There are apparently tours available of the dune system on offer by the Macassar Dunes Nature Reserve staff, but finding details about how to book such a tour has proven impossible, so far. I would definitely not recommend attempting this on your own.

Illegal cattle grazing, the encroachment of nearby informal settlements, illegal 4×4 vehicle driving on the dunes and the operation of some older mining facilities are still challenges faced by the conservation plans/operations in this area. It will be interesting to see if nature wins the battle (with a little help from the conservationists).

Beach Features

  • Parking

Beach Activities

  • Fishing (permit required)

IMPORTANT: In the past Macassar Beach was Feature & Activity Rich. Today it’s derelict and abandoned and mostly used by local fishermen who catch fish for a living. It is dangerous to visit due to increasing crime.

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Additional Information

Historically, Macassar Beach was named after the Indonesian City/Port of Makassar (originally known as Gowa), the birth-place of ‘Sheik Yusuf‘, who was the founding figure of Islam in the Western Cape. Sheik Yusuf was exiled from Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company and was eventually settled in the Macassar region of the Zandvleit Farm, near mouth of the Eerste River.

Sheltering and Preaching Islam to escaped slaves, Sheik Yusuf’s following grew to become the Cape’s first Muslim Community. After his death a Shrine was erected in Macassar, which is now part of the “Holy Circle of Tombs” or “Circle of Kramat’s” in Cape Town.

The Circle of Kramat’s being the burial places or shrines of the Muslim holy men buried in Cape Town.

Source: https://www.capetown.gov.za/

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