Discover The Cape

November 2005 Newsletter

Cape Town Accommodation, Tours & Travel

A Wrong Turn Becomes A Right One,
Exploring Hout Bay

Hello fellow Caped Discoverers,

Well, it's been a while since my last missive but, as that famous saying goes - "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" (At least, I think it's a famous saying - Mrs Caped Discoverer always uses it when she wants to go holidaying, without me).

Anyway, I was on my way to Kalk Bay the other day for a seafood lunch. Invariably, taking into account my complete lack of direction and bearing, I lost my way and somehow ended up in Hout Bay. "Mmm, this could be the makings of a newsletter," I thought, as I desperately pored over my trusty map book, trying to establish where I was.

A Brief History

When Jan Van Riebeek took a stroll around the area one fine morning in the 1600's, he noticed the lush forests which dominated the surroundings. Creatively then, he decided on naming the area "hout-baaitjien" which I believe is Dutch for "Tree Bay". Eventually the Afrikaans version, Hout Bay, came into common use and hundreds of years later that name still remains. Although most of the trees have sadly long since disappeared, in recent years the fishing industry has become a more viable market in the area.

Yes, the Hout Bay harbour is something of a landmark and is heavily populated right through the year. Built in the 1930's and renovated somewhat in 1967, it's regularly abuzz with fishing boats landing their tasty catches on the quayside. This is where the ever popular snoek, tuny, crayfish and many others are sold to eager consumers at bargain prices, often through the age old methods of haggling and determined negotiation, (Donald Trump could learn a thing or two down here). The nearby marina meanwhile, houses an astonishing array of private boats and yachts which made me long to own one of my own, until I remembered how easily I suffer from motion sickness (floating in a pool on a windy day is enough to get me going).

Charter Boats and Sunset Cruises

There are also a number of charter and cruise services available to eager customers, which for obvious reasons, did not include me. These charter services include trips to the closely situated Duiker Island, where one is able to view an array of seals and seabirds. Besides that there are also deep sea fishing charters, diving expeditions and sunset cruises so you're really quite spoilt for choice. If you're feeling peckish, then a visit to the famous Mariner's Wharf is an absolute must. Unless you're not really hungry, which probably wouldn't make it an absolute must then.

Stunning Beaches Too

Hout Bay is also blessed with stunning beaches and beachside views. Hout Bay Beach is favourite among families, while Llandudno is also a well known and popular spot. Then of course, there's the famous nudist spot, Sandy Bay, which is still the naturists' beach of choice.

Of Course, Hout Bay offers much more than a few beaches and a harbour. For arts and craft fundis, or for people who just have nothing to do on a Sunday morning there is a market found on the village green, where craft shops and informal traders offer their wares to eager buyers. Recreational sports to cater for all tastes can also be found here. These include windsurfing, paddle skiing, surfing, abseiling, cycling, horse riding, fishing, scuba diving and even bowls.

Flora And Fauna

For all the tree huggers out there, you'll be interested to know that Hout Bay falls into the area known as "The Cape Floral Kingdom" an area which boasts over 5000 indigenous plant species, making it one of the richest botanical wonderlands in the world. Bird life is also varied and although no longer seen in any great numbers due to development, small mammals and reptiles also add to the diversity of the existing fauna.


It's not a sleepy little village though, there are a number of shopping malls - well okay, let's not get above ourselves, let's call them shopping complexes - as well as your conventional convenience and service stores scattered around the area. It was at one of these stores that someone managed to direct me out of Hout Bay and onto Kalk Bay, although I never did manage to make it for that seafood lunch. All in all though, I quite enjoyed my time driving around Hout Bay, I suggest you check it out sometime too.

Until next month then.

Signing off.
The Caped Discoverer


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Hout Bay from Chapman's Peak Drive

Hout Bay


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