Named after the wood from its once lush forest, Hout Bay is a popular tourist attraction that also happens to be a residential suburb, a mere 20 kilometres from Cape Town’s CBD. It boasts a beautiful white-sand beach where locals laze and walk their dogs, a bustling marina, art galleries, restaurants, and a working harbour that serves its thriving tuna, snoek and crayfish industry. Here are the best things to do in Hout Bay, the suburb that calls itself a republic:
1. Bay Harbour Market
Image Credit: Go 2 Africa
One of the most popular markets in the Cape, it’s housed in a disused old fish factory at the end of Harbour Road opposite Fish On the Rocks.
Why you’ll love it It sits under the Sentinel, Hout Bay’s iconic mountain, and is a popular weekend destination for the whole family, especially if you like food, music and shopping for interesting bits and bobs. Dedicated parking marshals watch over your car while you wander through more than 100 covered stalls. We love the “green” ethos espoused by the organisers, whereby only 25% of the waste goes to landfill. The market is part of the Hangberg Social Upliftment project and now employs over 65 people from the area.
Don’t leave without tasting some of the delicious food, cocktails and craft beer on offer – there’s even a dedicated stall for Banters: #LCHF!
Contact 021 790 3453, 083 275 5586, email@example.com
Open Friday, 5pm – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday, 9.30am – 4pm
Where to find it Bay Harbour Market
2. Chapman’s Peak Hotel
Image Credit: Kiff Cape Town
This established landmark on the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive has a covered outdoor patio that’s perfect for a long, lazy Sunday lunch, while you take in the sweeping views of the bay, harbour and the Sentinel. In winter or on one of Cape Town’s chilly between-season days, the cosy interior has crackling fireplaces. As with all popular Cape restaurants – and this is one of the busiest – it doesn’t take bookings, so get there early to secure a good table.
Why you’ll love it The fresh seafood menu includes mouthwatering West Coast crayfish, pan-prepared calamari, prawns and linefish, and the widely renowned seafood platters that come with chips or rice. Not a pescetarian? We highly recommend the grilled steak and Portuguese-style flame-grilled chicken. The simple Greek salad is one of the freshest (and most satisfying) around.
Contact 021 790 1036, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Chapman’s Peak Hotel
Cheyne Morrisby’s unpretentious restaurant on Hout Bay Main Road serves delicious Asian-inspired tapas with interesting combinations and delicious fusion flavours. Don’t let the unassuming look of the place deter you – this is where you’ll find delicious food by a talented and original chef.
Why you’ll love it The Pan-Pacific menu offers unusual dishes, such as Chilli-Tamarind Seared Salmon with pickled plum and edamame purée (from the Sea section of the menu) or the Lollipop Lamb cutlets with sticky ginger-and-sesame caramel and a corn-and-coriander fritter
Don’t leave without tasting the Double-Thick Peanut Butter and Miso Butterscotch Shake from the Happy Endings list.
Contact 079 067 4919, email@example.com
Where to find it Cheyne’s
4. Tintswalo Atlantic
Image Credit: Tintswalo Atlantic
This exclusive five-star boutique hotel, hidden away on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean off Chapman’s Peak Drive, lies within the Table Mountain National Park – one of South Africa’s eight World Heritage Sites.
Why you’ll love it Wow! It is by far the most stunning location of any hotel we have visited in South Africa and a worthy winner of four Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice awards for 2014. If it’s a birthday, anniversary, proposal or wedding you’re planning, look no further – this is a perfect place to celebrate any (special) occasion. Sit on the beautiful deck right on the water’s edge and watch the sun setting, while sipping a delicious cocktail. Popping in for a peek is not possible, so phone ahead if you want to view the place. A courtesy car will pick you up from the dedicated parking area and drive you down the steep road to the water’s edge.
Contact 021 201 0025, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Tintswalo Atlantic
5. Chapman’s Peak Drive
Affectionately known as Chappies to thousands of Argus cyclists and locals who traverse it regularly, this nine-kilometre stretch of road skirts the Atlantic Ocean as it winds its way from Hout Bay to Noordhoek.
Why you’ll love it One of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive is a favourite film location for international motorcar adverts. A must-do for out-of-towners and anyone passionate about taking in the majestic Cape scenery, this stunning drive snakes its way around the rocky coastline with sheer drops below and the 593-metre-high Chapman’s Peak above. Several viewpoints allow visitors to stop and take pictures or enjoy a picnic. Where else in the world can you enjoy scenery like this for a toll fee of just R38?
Contact 021 790 9163
Where to find it Chapman’s Peak Drive
6. World of Birds
Image Credit: World of Birds
Africa’s largest bird park, with over 3 000 birds (400 different species) and small animals, is a veritable Eden for nature lovers and children. More than 100 walks through landscaped aviaries allow you to get close to the birds – and because they are used to humans, you will get to see some species that you would not normally see in the wild.
Why you’ll love it A highlight is to get there for the feeding times of the different species – penguins at 11.30am through to birds of prey at 4.15pm. Pack a picnic and the kids, and enjoy it at the Flamingo Terrace. This park takes in ill and injured birds and depends on donations to survive – a good reason to visit!
Contact 021 790 2730, email@example.com
Where to find it World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary
7. T Bag Designs
This company was founded by Jill Heyes 10 years ago, with the aim of creating sustainable employment and giving a sense of self-worth to previously disadvantaged people from the Imizamo Yethu Township.
Why you’ll love it Using recycled tea bags to create a wonderfully innovative range of greeting cards, stationery, fabrics and objects, this proudly South African brand is just another example of how enterprising South Africans can be. Visitors are welcome to interact with the artists at work, have a cup of tea, and browse the visitor’s centre and shop. There is also an outlet at the V&A Waterfront.
Don’t leave without buying your Christmas cards here.
Contact 021 790 0887, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it T Bag Designs
8. Mariner’s Wharf
Image Credit: Kapstadt
This wharfside precinct, which houses a fish restaurant, various marine and maritime-themed shops, and a fish-and-chips outlet, was built around the hull of the Kingfisher, an original 1940s trawler. It’s owned and run by the Dorman family.
Why you’ll love it Our pick of the Mariner’s Wharf precinct is the bustling takeaway outlet selling fish and chips. Choose from grilled lobster, prawns, sole, snoek or catch of the day, as you watch the antics of the seagulls swooping and snapping at the leftovers – or collect your order to enjoy alfresco on the beach, just a stone’s throw away.
Contact 021 790 1100, email@example.com
Where to find it Mariner’s Wharf
9. Boat trip to Duiker (Seal) Island
Image Credit: Cap Afrique
No (tourist) trip to Hout Bay would be complete without a cruise to Duiker Island to see the Cape fur seals and other marine wildlife.
Why you’ll love it Take in the picturesque Hout Bay harbour and dramatic Sentinel while you cruise, and observe the 15 000-strong seal colony as they flop around in their natural habitat. You may be fortunate and catch sight of a great white shark while you’re there. Finish off with a cruise past the shipwreck of the Boss 400 that ran aground in 1995. Routes taken depend on sea conditions on the day.
Contact Drumbeat Charters on 021 791 4441 or Nauticat on 021 790 7278
Cost R70 (adults); R25 (children)
Where to find it Hout Bay Harbour
10. The Lookout Deck
Image Credit: Hout Bay
This casual harbourside restaurant, with lovely views of the surrounding mountains and the bustling Hout Bay fishing fleet, serves fresh seafood and sushi.
Why you’ll love it Sit at the edge of the deck, and watch the boats returning with their catch while the seals splash around in the water below. We love its casual vibe and good food. On Sunday afternoons a live band creates a laidback yet festive atmosphere.
Contact 021 790 0922, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it The Lookout Deck
Inside Guide Tip Fish on the Rocks (021 790 0001 and Snoekies 021 790 1867 also serve great fish and chips to take-away or enjoy at the water’s edge.