The brass leopard of Chapman’s peak

I love slow Sunday drives to nowhere and today we drove the coast from Muizenburg back to Tableview, over the majestic Chapman’s peak.

As we wound our way down towards Hout Bay, taking in the crisp cool blue ocean and the stunning scenery Brent stopped to show me a statue he had heard about somewhere.

We pulled up at the scenic lookout and just below us on a rocky throne stood an aged green/blue statue of a leopard.

My curiosity was awakened.

Who would place a statue in the middle of nowhere and why a leopard? After all I would have assumed if they were going to erect a statue here it would be a seal prehaps?

Brent was no help as he had no idea about why the statue was here just that it was.

As soon as we got home my mind needed answers. So I did a quick Google search.

A bronze tribute

According to the Hout Bay museum the bronze leopard of Hout Bay is a national landmark.

This famous 295kg statue was sculpted by Ivan Mitford-Barbeton who also sculpted the famous Jock of the Bushvelt statue in Barberton and Pan at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

The elegant statue stands tribute to all the wild animals that once roamed the forests and mountains of the Cape Peninsula and it’s interesting to note that the last leopard seen in Hout Bay was in 1937 on Little Lions Head.

The project was supported by Pepsi-Cola who donated all the bronze used to make the lonely leopard who was placed on his rocky pedestal on the 14 March 1963.

Over the years the bronze leopard has gained a green/blue colouring because of oxidation of the bronze and the salty sea air.

I’m sure that in an evening shadow this statue could be mistaken for a leopard on the rocks enjoying a moonlit ocean.

Images : my own and Google

Information : Hout Bay museum

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