Strand is situated in the Western Cape of South Africa on the eastern edge of False Bay, at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. It lies 50 km southeast of Cape Town, between Macassar an Gordon’s Bay. The 5 km of White sandy beach and views of the Cape Peninsula is Strand’s main attraction. Strand lies within easy access of the Wine Route, Somerset Mall, Stellenbosch and the scenic coastal drive past Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay with perfect viewing points during whale watching season.
Strand was originally established in 1714 as a holiday and fishing resort. Originally known as Somerset Strand, and a suburb of Somerset West, this holiday resort, which offers reputedly the safest bathing in False Bay, grew rapidly and eventually gained independent municipal status in 1896, but the recorded history goes back at least three centuries. In 1700 some land and a monopoly on net fishing in Milk Bay were granted to the son of Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel. Then, in 1714, a Huguenot refugee by the name of David du Buisson was given the farm known as Vlooibaai (‘flea bay’), the present location of the town’s central business district. Later, coloured and Malay fishermen settled and the village of Mostert’s Bay developed.
Strand is in close proximity to the inland town of Somerset West and along with Gordon’s Bay, these three cities form the Helderberg Basin. Strand’s main beach, Melkbaai Beach, is known as one of the best and safest swimming beaches in South Africa. Facilities on or nearby the beach include Waterworld offering a supertube and mini-golf, and Harmony Park which includes a tidal pool. The beach lies on the edge of a promenade that includes a few coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
A wide variety of sports facilities are available in Strand including a golf course, tennis courts, rugby fields and squash clubs. Water sports such as surfing, sailing, power boating, paddle skiing and board sailing are also popular past times in Strand. It also has an Olympic-sized indoor pool which is centrally heated and open all year round. Surfing is popular in Strand with surfing spots that are relatively easier and safer than other surfspots on the Atlantics Ocean side, due to the protection that False Bay offers.
The business district of Strand offers banks, shopping malls, restaurants and supermarkets. The Gants Centre is the industrial area of the Strand, although it is increasingly accommodating non-industrial businesses, including the local newspaper. Strand has primary, secondary and tertiary education facilities.