i have long been an avid follower of Etienne du Plessis‘ flickr stream, where he shares many vintage photographs including old shots of Cape Town. please click on the images to be taken to the original & for more information.

Bygone Cape Town

– Posing at the Sea Point pool, 1960

Bygone Cape Town

– Clifton, 1967

Bygone Cape Town

– The Little Blue Train, Mouille Point, 1961

Bygone Cape Town

– Sea Point ,1963

Bygone Cape Town

– The Gardens, 1978

Bygone Cape Town

– Wednesday morning on the Parade, 1974

Bygone Cape Town

– Pleasure boats, Muizenberg circa 1960

Bygone Cape Town

– Muizenberg beach, 1953

Bygone Cape Town

– Fish Hoek, 1958

Bygone Cape Town

– Ready for the office, circa 1960

Bygone Cape Town

– Wedding in District Six, 1960

Bygone Cape Town

– Silverstream Buttress, 1975

Bygone Cape Town

– District Six, 1960

Bygone Cape Town

– Simonstown, 1969


  1. Wow, these photos are truly amazing! It’s fabulous seeing old photos of familiar places. I love it!

  2. Love these old pics! Always love those old photos of the city – and to see which things have changed so much, and which things have hardly changed at all!

  3. I am obsessed with Cape Town and old photos, so this is absolute perfection. Thanks for sharing!

    • Same with me ………live in Scotland and Ireland but sailed with Safmarine out of Cape Town a long time ago !

  4. Elaine Brummer-Hill Reply

    Thank you for the memories…brought a tear to my eye remembering the indredible holidays in the Cape, where both my parents were born and raised. I live in Utah, USA now but still long for those beautiful beaches ;D

  5. Do you know historypin.com? People go one there and put up their photos of places from pre-1990s against the current place… it’s a bit hard to explain until you see it. It’s absolutely grand, I’m sure there are many swell old photos of Capetown on there! :)

  6. It’s hard not to get seduced by the style & nostalgia of these images but anyone familiar with the history of South Africa must be aware of how one dimensional they are. They’re like PR shots from a National Party retrospective exhibition entitled “Apartheid: Look How Happy Everyone Is.”

    • I completely agree. These images are all retro sun-bleached gorgeousness, but there’s something very eerie about their homogeneity (especially the first few).

    • a “National Party retrospective exhibition” definitely wouldn’t have had images of District Six!

      PS: surely not everyone (black or white) was completely miserable during Apartheid?

      • Not everything South Africa should be viewed through the tainted glasses of apartheid. Similarly dated photos of the USA or UK would most likely display exactly the same monochrome. Taking pictures of many of the same spots now, would probably yield exactly the same result, albeit of a different pigment. For that matter, photos taken today in many coutries around the globe will depict the exact same

        • I think everything from that era in South Africa does need to be viewed through those glasses. Just as similar images from the US during Jim Crow must be seen for what it is. Of course things are still not integrated today almost anywhere in the world, but that doesn’t change that S. Africa during apartheid was one of the most egregious examples.

  7. aw! these are amazing! thank you so much for sharing his flickr account, this will be my new obsession, thank you!! Kim, xo

  8. Its always so reassuring to notice how women body’s where more shapely back then. After giving birth sometimes its just so hard to squeeze in time to work out and get my muscles back. Oh why do I want to look like Gwyneth?!

  9. you’re slowly seducing me with summer images, it may just work :) here’s to actually enjoying summer this year!

  10. well done for collecting these – so evocative of the time and the places, most of which have now changed beyond recognition. Did we really look like that?

  11. Professor Nicholas Basson Reply

    This is absolutely amazing ! What bliss, perusing these photos. I could fortunately identify with this period being a 75 year old. Wish I could see some photos of the 40’s
    Great stuff !

  12. I am looking for photos of Miss Cape Peninsula for 1960, 1961. If anyone can help me I would appreciate it.

  13. Ame-Leigh Price Reply

    Does anyone know how I might obtain a poster print of the Muizenberg Beach 1953 photo?

  14. Frank Bowron Reply

    I was born in District Six, in the Peninsula Maternity Hospital. Spent my first three years in Simonstown, then my Royal Navy Dad was posted back to Portsmouth and Mum and I went too.

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