Time to discover Hout Bay
Why historic Hout Bay is so popular
The surrounding mountain scenery makes Hout Bay one of the most attractive regions in the Cape. You'll find a friendly working harbour, a famous bird sanctuary and lots of walking trails, as well as long stretches of sandy beach and a Sunday craft market.
The village of Hout Bay is easy to find. Take Victoria road from Seapoint and wend your way through the beach resorts of Clifton and
Camps Bay, up the winding incline, past the exclusive retreat of Llandudno, and finally down the Suikerbossie hill into Hout Bay.
Another route into the village is via the recently upgraded Chapmans Peak Drive from Noordhoek. This cliff hugging toll road is a pleasure to drive and offers unmatched views across the Cape Peninsula.
And for those coming from the Cape Southern Suburbs eg. Newlands, Kirstenbosch and Constantia, the well known Constantia Nek route brings visitors down into the valley via a narrow tree lined road.
The Hout Bay region has been occupied since the stone age by the Khoi San and Hottentots. It was first discovered by modern man in the 17th century and at the time was covered in forest. Hence the name 'Hout'(wood) bay.
It didn't take long to discover that the local sea was rich in fish and crayfish, and in the 19th century a fishing industry was developed for overseas export. The fishing industry has expanded along with the harbour and this heritage is preserved to the present day.
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Accommodation in Hout Bay is varied and mainly comprises self catering and vacation Rentals. There are however other optiona such as guest houses, bed and breakfast establishments, and lodges. Here are some selected choices.
Hout Bay Accommodation
You'll find that social and cultural contrasts are very much a reality in Hout Bay. Wealthy property owners look out across the valley at Imizamu Yeto, the ever expanding sprawling shack community of migrants and immigrants which lines the mountainside. Jobless men congregate at intersections hoping for an offer of work for the day.
© South African Tourism
Fires are common in the shack community resulting in misery for the residents, and the local council is under pressure to provide housing. As it stands, other similar settlements elsewhere around Cape Town will apparently be given priority in an ambitious long term housing scheme called the N2 Gateway Project aimed at providing housing for all.
Hout Bay harbour is well worth a visit. Stroll along the quayside and watch the fishing boat crews unload their catch and barter with their customers.
There is the well known harbour fish store where you can buy freshly caught fish of many varieties, an upmarket curio shop and an ever popular fish and chip restaurant which is frequented from far and wide.
A number of ferries operate from the harbour, taking passengers out to see the seals at nearby Duiker Island which is overlooked by the distinctive landmark Sentinal mountain.
Hout Bay Beach
begins at the harbour edge and follows the length of the town in a long curve of sand, ending at the bottom of the winding Chapmans Peak Drive. There's also a lagoon which fills with the tide and is popular with children.
A good family choice for your vacation on the beaches - if you don't mind the wind which tends to gust at times. The sail boarders and kite surfers hang out here, as well as the jet skiers, and the sea temperature is swimmer friendly when the weather's hot.
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