The Monument of Memories

The hamlet of Kassiesbaai on the outskirts of Arniston can be classified as a time capsule of sorts and is sure to bring forth a feeling of nostalgia even if you’ve never visited here before. The olden ways and nature of the initial families resonate here through the simple living of this small fishing community.

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Now declared a National Heritage Site in its entirety, Kassiesbaai gathers its name from the offerings of the ocean on which borders it lies. The name came about as the residents used the washed up paraffin cases (“kassies” in Afrikaans) from the shipwrecks to build their houses. The wood from the paraffin boxes combined with lime and thatch from the area were used to build the now characteristic cottages of the coastal fishing village.

Built behind the rolling dunes of golden sand, the cluster of lime-washed houses has nurtured generations of fishermen since some 200 odd years ago. Kassiesbaai is also one of the rare communities that have managed to hold onto their land and their traditions in spite of apartheid, shared ownership of the land and the decay of time.

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The historical cottages of Kassiesbaai have long since been an eye-catcher for artists and tourists alike and it’s no wonder why. The picturesque thatch-roofed houses seem almost painted against the cerulean sea and white sandy beaches that stretch on forever. Also a popular attraction is the Kassiesbaai Harbour and Slipway, serving up a true mixture of colour, culture and character.