Hout Bay is a vibrant community with its own identity, independent of Cape Town and yet still part of it.
About the Area
Built around its wide bay and picturesque fishing harbour, separated from the rest of Cape Town by a dramatic embrace of wild mountains, Hout Bay is a vibrant community with its own identity, independent of the bigger city and yet still part of it. It offers all the essential shops and services, plenty of restaurants and cafes, vibey Bay Harbour Market which tempts Capetonians over Constantia Nek on Friday nights and weekends, and Mariner’s Wharf, which is a Cape Town institution for fish and chips.
For many, it’s the natural beauty of the valley that is the main attraction. There are still areas of wilderness with abundant wildlife, from wild cats to tortoises, and dolphins and seals in the bay. “I walk on this magnificent sweep of sand and sea several times a week, and it's always a joy,” says resident, Jane-Anne Hobbs. “The beach is well maintained and perfectly safe during daylight hours, but it’s best not to walk there after dark. There's so much to appreciate: the sun rising over the mountains, colourful fishing boats chugging off to sea, sleek cormorants diving in the waves, and all the surprises the sea washes up.”
The mountains around Hout Bay are another beautiful natural resource that residents appreciate. “There are deep forested kloofs and waterfalls just 30 to 40 minutes' walk away from a tar road,” says Jane-Anne, “and you will be astonished at how pristine and remote these wild places are.”
There are a wealth of community initiatives, from the local schools annual Eisteddfod, to the NGOs and individuals working to unite and support the poorer parts of the community such as local township, Imizamo Yethu. The diversity is part of Hout Bay’s appeal for many. As another resident says, “It’s an incredible bay with lots of heart!”
I've lived with my family in Hout Bay for almost seven years now, and yet I still feel like rubbing my eyes in disbelief when I step out on our balcony every morning. To live in a cradle of wild mountains so close to the sea – and just 25 minutes' drive from a buzzing city – makes me feel like I'm on a permanent holiday.
Jane-Anne Hobbs, resident
Best in food:
- Cheyne’s: for inspired Pacific rim tapas
- Kitima Restaurant: for fine Thai and Asian fusion dining
- Spiros: for hearty Greek food in family atmosphere
- Massimo’s: for excellent pizzas and Italian specials
- Posticino: for great pastas, pizzas and a warm welcome
Things to do:
- Visit Mariner’s Wharf for quintessential sea-side atmosphere
- Visit Bay Harbour Market for vibey weekend market with live music
- Hike the many mountain trails.
- Visit World of Birds with the kids.
- Buy recycled art greetings cards from Original T Bag Designs.
- Paint your own ceramics at the Clay Cafe.
Top schools nearby:
- Hout Bay International School
- Kronendal Primary School
- Disa Primary School
- Llandudno Primary School
- Hout Bay Montessori School
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.