Muizenberg is easily reached from Constantia. Image: Adobe Stock

‘One hut at a time’: New lease on life for Muizenberg’s iconic beach huts

The colourful beach huts at Muizenberg in Cape Town are getting a much-needed revamp.


Muizenberg is easily reached from Constantia. Image: Adobe Stock

A local community project has begun restoring the famous beach huts which are in dire need of renovation.

Immortalised in countless photographs, the red, green, yellow and blue beach huts at Muizenberg Beach are a Cape Town trademark. 

One of Cape Town’s most famous landmarks

Locals and visitors from every corner of the globe frequent Muizenberg beach to swim, surf or capture an obligatory selfie in front of the huts.

The beach huts are instantly recognisable and have been used in marketing campaigns for decades, both to promote Cape Town and South Africa as a tourist destination.

Edelweiss Airlines, which operates flights between Zurich and Cape Town, has an attractive image of Muizenberg’s beach huts on the section of their webpage where flights to Cape Town are booked.

Muizenberg’s beach huts have featured in many ad campaigns. Here they are the featured image when booking flights to Cape Town with Edelweiss. Image: Screenshot

Beach huts have seen better days

The 31 beach huts on Muizenberg Beach were intended to be used as changing rooms for bathers and surfers. Many beachgoers also use the shade cast by the huts to seek refuge from the sun on hot days.

However, the popular Instagrammable huts are in a terrible state of neglect with the roofing, woodwork and paintwork of most of them in need of urgent attention. 

The last time maintenance was carried out on these wooden beach huts was reportedly in 2017. 

Sadly, the huts are now a safety hazard and unfit for use in their current condition and there had been a plan to remove them from the beach.

Posted by Save Our Beach Huts on Sunday, October 11, 2020

Resident takes up the challenge

Local resident and photographer Angela Gorman has fond memories of Muizenberg Beach and its beach huts. For Gorman, the huts are something she associates with childhood; a reminder of countless happy family outings to Muizenberg beach.

Gorman decided something needed to be done to save the beach huts from further deterioration. She set about becoming part of the solution by launching a project where the community could be involved in renovating the dilapidated structures.

Public urged to help through social media

Gorman took to Facebook to draw attention to the condition of the beach huts. She created a Facebook page, titled “Save Our Beach Huts“, and appealed for volunteers and sponsors to assist in renovating the structures.

“The project started eight weeks ago — just a campaign that we started on Facebook and Instagram to infuse people and to get them excited about the fact that we ourselves can do it,” Gorman said in an interview on KFM.

The response has been encouraging with Gorman receiving support from far and wide.

Donations of materials, and pledges of expertise and support came from local businesses, the community and foreigners with a soft spot for the iconic beach huts.

Community helps to revamp beach huts

It was Gorman’s hope that the local community would pull together to carry out the much-needed repairs on the beach huts.  She was very pleased when offers from volunteers and sponsors started coming in, enabling the Save Our Beach Huts initiative to spring into action.

Gorman said though the project’s initial objective was to repair the beach huts, the ultimate goal would be to involve the community in the long-term maintenance and upkeep of the huts.

She would like the community to take guardianship of these colourful assets, she said.

City of Cape Town gives go-ahead for renovations

After obtaining approval from the City of Cape Town, renovations could start. With donated materials and pledges of assistance from volunteers, project managers and local businesses, the start date for the actual renovations was set for Monday 2 November.  

Several donors have come forward to provide expertise, labour and the materials required for the renovation work. 

Leith Roofing, Twin Coatings, Prime Paint & Hardware and Everite Building Products responded to the call, and carpenters from the Western Cape’s Master Builders Association have also joined the project.

The huts were originally constructed using timber boards and these are being replaced with Nutec boards. Nutec is a cement-based product which is fire, mould, sea and sand resistant.

We can restore all 31 huts if everyone pulls together’

Gorman’s initial idea was to restore 25 of the 31 huts, completing one hut at a time.

From the show of interest and support received thus far, she believes all 31 of the beach huts can be restored. Gorman said the first hut would be ready by Friday 7 November and she encouraged people to head to Muizenberg beach to see the first restored hut.

“We can restore all 31 beach huts if everyone pulls together and offers their time, offers their expertise if they’re a company, offers donations of timber, of paint.

“It has just been the most incredible little journey we’ve been on in Muizenberg,” she said.

The malthoid is down and the roof planks will be completed this afternoon. Thank you Glen Bouwer from ABE for the donation of the malthoid.

Posted by Save Our Beach Huts on Tuesday, 3 November 2020