Cape Town’s old milestones.



These milestones were placed when the now M4, which runs from the City to Simon’s Town, was declared a main road in 1844.

The distances were measured in miles from the Town House, which was completed in 1755.

The St. James stone was the first stone that I noticed, when it was pointed out to us by my dad while driving to Kalk Bay. I was in primary school at at the time.

In 1980, when I started school at South Peninsula High, I used to walk from Wynberg in the summertime when I was early, or when the trains were delayed. This is when I came across the Plumstead stone outside the then Southern Timbers, now the Checkers store.

Years later I came across the stone in Tokai (where the KFC is now), and then even later on, the stone in Kenilworth (opposite the Caltex fuel station).

I always wondered if there were more of these stones in existence, and kept my eyes peeled when I drove along the main road.

Then late in 2013, on the same trip, I discovered the Lakeside stone (diagonally opposite the fire station) as well as the Kirstenhof stone (near the traffic lights at Steenberg road).

I went on to search the net to see what came up, and all that I could find was a good colour photo of the Rondebosch stone, but no information.

So I set out to locate the stone, and found it, however the current position differs from that on the internet photo.

After the first publication of this blog, Sigi Howes picked up that the Wynberg one was not mentioned. She went on to point out the position for us, (opposite the Wynberg Pharmacy). Thank you Sigi.

Because of development, the Claremont (vi mile) was obviously removed. This is probably the case with most of the other stones as well.

I wonder if there are any sitting in a museum, or in some garden for that matter.

The rock I believe was sourced at the quarry on the city side of High Level road, east of  the Bo Kaap.

Sadly, some of them have been vandalized, and my view is that all these existing stones should be removed, and put on display in a museum, in order to preserve them for our future generations. They should then be replaced with replicas, and all the original sites could also be included. They could become tourist attractions.

Rondebosch stone V miles
Rondebosch stone V miles
Kenilworth stone VII miles
Kenilworth stone VII miles
Wynberg IIIV miles
Plumstead XI miles
Plumstead IX  miles
Tokai XI miles
Tokai XII miles
Kirstenhof XIII miles
Kirstenhof XIII miles
Lakeside XV miles
Lakeside XV miles
St. James XVI miles
St. James XVI miles


Kalk Bay XVII miles (replica)


Pics by me.

If any of you are aware of more such stones along the main road, please let me know,via the box below.

Thank you.

Be out and be safe.







23 thoughts on “Cape Town’s old milestones.

  1. Just some more South African history that will be removed by the cANCer in time. Very interesting I also wondered about these stones.


    • Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Theses stones as well as other material bits from the past must be looked after, so that our future generations can appreciate them too.

      Michael Wilcox


  2. Michael, I know nothing more about it, but the Simon van der Stel Foundation was instrumental in putting it up in its present position. You could try John Muir; he did quite a bit of research on the milestones. He’s in the telephone directory; otherwise contact the Foundation.


  3. Hi Michael

    Did you know that the Kalk Bay Historical Society placed replica milestones at Kalk Bay (XVI) and Muizenberg (XV) on the Main Rd in November 2015? I think this is a laudable initiative.

    Kind regards
    Sigi Howes


  4. I have noticed the Kenilworth stone and was wondering what it is, thank you for the information and now it is my turn to go and search out the others. Keep us posted.


  5. I have now been to see all the milestones mentioned and was wondering if there was any information of those closer to town? I have also noticed that building work is starting to take place in Wynberg and I hope thatthis milestone will not be destroyed.


  6. I could kick myself for all those I did not photograph-or when I was very young, would examine them and move on. I particularly, liked the ones, not in Roman numerals, more like hard work cutting and smearing with lime paste.
    I often saw them, on old stone stairs.
    As I age, so I seek more- now mounting stones- found two so far, and lieu water- my passion.


  7. A short while ago I also photographed the ‘0’ one at the old Town House. Your blog has been shared at Cape Town Down Memory Lane, and it is generating interest.


  8. If you go north, there is one in Bellville, cnr of Voortrekker & Durban Rd. (South-Western corner)
    And apparently Bellville was initially named after it. Wikipedia: “Bellville is a city in the greater Cape Town metropolitan area in South Africa.” “It was founded as “12 Mile Post” (Afrikaans: “12-Myl-Pos”) because it is located 12 miles (20 km) from Cape Town city centre.”


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