The suburb of Camps Bay began as a small farm established by Johan Wernich in the 1700s, initially known as Ravensteyn. Although the name of the farm survives in the name of a local road, the suburb itself was named after Frederik Ernst von Kamptz after he gained ownership
of the farm through his marriage to Wernich’s son’s widow Anna.
In the late 1700s, von Kamptz sold the farm to the Government at the Cape, and the farmhouse became the holiday home of British Governors (famously including Lord Charles Somerset, who renamed it “Marine Villa”).
In 1833 it was documented that there were still only two buildings in Camps Bay, the second one being The Round House (then owned by Jan Horak, after whom another local road is named). The Retreat, third oldest, is believed to date from the 1850s.
Farquhar did not live to see his dream of the expansion of Camps Bay into a residential suburb fully realised. He died in 1935, by which time Camps Bay remained largely a tourist attraction with only a few private properties (including at least one that survives to this day, owned and lovingly preserved by one of the members of the Steering Committee), and the Camps Bay Tramways Company became insolvent shortly thereafter.
Much has changed since then, but much remains the same. The Camps Bay beachfront remains a popular tourist destination, the sea air remains bracing, and the scenery remains breath-taking.
Pictures courtesy of the Camps Bay Then and Now Facebook Group