About Hout Bay
Sometimes know as the ‘Republic of Hout Bay’, the town represents a microcosm of South African society. Bordered by mountains on 3 sides and the bay on the third, the town offers Beaches, Markets, Culture, History and Shopping as well as some of the most magnificent surroundings in South Africa.
Sunset from Hout Bay BeachTake a walk on the soft sands of Hout Bay’s beach which extends from Chapmas Peak Drive to the Mariner’s Wharf (our most well known restaurant) and is divided by a seasonal stream (generally non-existent in Summer but can be fairly deep in winter). The water is cold, but its safe to swim and on the warm summer days, it can be hard to find a spot to relax. Over the festive season, there is volley-ball and sometimes live music. Not far from the main town of Hout Bay is Llandudno where you will find a more secluded beach surrounded by rocky outcrops and protection from the South-East winds that sometimes blow along the coast.
Hout Bay boast a variety of markets giving you the opportunity to take a piece of Africa back to your home.
The Daily market (pictured on the left) takes place in the harbour from 8am through to around 5pm in the evening. Its well worth a visit and we also recommend that you take one of the three cruises to Dassen Island which is wholly covered by a seal colony.
Most Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday is the Harbour Market. This takes place next to Fish on the Rocks – reputed to have the best Fish and Chips in Cape Town. This is an enclosed market so you can visit even when the weather turns a little bad. There is a wider variety of goods here including locally designed clothing, curios (of course) as well as a variety of food and locally made beer and wines. This is an excellent venue for lunch or your evening meal as there are tables to sit at in between browsing the numerous and colourful stalls.
The most well known of the Hout Bay markets takes place on Sundays (weather permitting). This is a well run and organized classic market selling anything from plants to food and curios (of course). There are a wide variety or well established vendors selling their wares in a relaxed and festive atmosphere. Stop in to make your purchases before heading for he beach or out for a Lunch time meal.
As we mentioned earlier, Hout Bay is a mircrocosm of South African Society. Here we have from the very rich to the very poor, black, white, coloured (so called), Muslim, Christian all living together in relative harmony.
Imizamu Yethu (IY) was once a shack village from the remnants of the aparteid system. Over the last few years it has grown from a realtively small township to over 30,000 people from many parts of Africa. Much has been done to try to improve the lot of the mostly jobless occupants with the building of a number of houses and the supply of water, electricity and sewage, but sadly much still needs to be done. With the economic downturn, there are still a number of people arriving in IY from not only South Africa but many other african countries.
You may be interested in learning more, you may take a walking tour where you will get a deeper insight in to the problems and challenges of living in a poor but vibrant community. The community welcomes visitors with open arms. You can take a meal and a drink in one of the local taverns or return for an evening show of food and entertainment.
Hangberg is a so called ‘coloured’ village which was built to house the labour who worked in the boats and the fish factories. The residents are some of the oldest in Hout Bay and are a mix of christian and muslim. The original ‘Cape Coloureds’ are related to the original settlers in the Cape who were the Koisan people (who were made up of Hottentots and Strandlopers. They mixed with the Asian immigrants (banished to the cape by the Dutch Batavian High Court) to form the Cape Malay and Cape Coloured populations. They bring with them a rich tradition of food and music which is very unique to the Cape. If you are lucky you may see our local band practicing for their annual band competition or have a chance to sample some Cape Malay curries and other specialties.
There are, of course many other cultures living in Hout Bay from the very rich in Llandudno to the middle class areas in Hout Bay and Hout Bay heights. Because of its environment we also get many ‘swallows’ who visit us when the weather is good from Germany, France and England. Many have chosen to make the town their home – who woudn’t?