This self-contained valley, which is 20 minutes away from South Africa’s gorgeous Cape Town, is a hive of friendly activities and exciting attractions. Hout Bay is a wonder town where time often seems like it stood still with the classic appeal of an otherworldly place. It has been named as one of the most family-friendly places in South Africa because while there is a social gap between rich and poor, the residents have somehow found a way to bridge the gap through charity works, fun events, and good old community spirit.
Originally, Hout Bay was a place one went to go fishing. It only began to develop as a suburb when wood was discovered there; wood that was desperately needed to build Cape Town into what it is today. The fishing remains and has even grown into a full blown industry. Along with fishing is a thriving economy consisting of wood exports, tourism, water sports, parks, and small to medium businesses.
South Africa’s largest colony of seals is found only 9km from the Hout Bay Harbour on an island of flat granite. Seal Island also has penguins and cormorants. The animals are kept isolated from humans but boat tours starting from Hout Bay Harbour are being done from a vantage point close to the animals. However, you don’t have to visit Seal Island if you just want to see a few seals. They’re often “hanging around” the harbour during certain times, although not in the same vast numbers.
World of Birds
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The Wheelchair-friendly World of Birds is the pride of Hout Bay. Reported to be the 2nd largest bird park in South Africa, it is a haven for more than 400 species and over 3 000 birds. There’s an entrance fee to pay but it is a day you could spend watching birds in their natural habitat and feeling like you’re in middle of nature’s bounty. One part of the park is a Monkey Jungle where you can see squirrel monkeys up close. There is also a tropical garden nestled against a backdrop of the mountains surrounding Hout Bay. It’s absolutely stunning!
The beauty of Chapman’s Peak is seen as you approach Hout Bay through Chapman’s Peak Drive. If you happen to find yourself at the top of Chapman’s Peak at sunset, you will witness the most glorious event as the sun quietly and majestically glows through the mountains as it drops over the horizon. The Chapman’s Peak Drive was the recipient for the 2004 International Civil Engineering for Road Design Award.
Hout Bay Secrets Locals Will Willingly Share
Aside from the lovely scenery and great tourist spots, there is that side of Hout Bay that is only known by locals. The best of the best in Hout Bay according to locals include:
The best al fresco restaurants are The Lookout Deck and The Dunes, which are found in the harbour and on the beach respectively. The best places to eat fresh seafood, steaks, and ribs are at Snoekie’s, Suikerbossie, Pirate’s Restaurant, Papino’s, Chappies, Mariner’s Wharf, or at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel.
The best time to visit Hout Bay is every day! Summer has a lot of outdoor activities and events while winter time brings indoor events like visits to the aquarium, watching movies, dining with friends, and fantastic shopping!