Friday, December 23, 2011

Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Scenic Hout Bay is a lively coastal town with a lovely swimming beach and a picturesque harbour where you can buy the best fish and chips in the world. The pretty town lies in a protected bay between Chapman's Peak and Mount Sentinel. Getting there is an easy drive from the city centre. Apart from its scenic beauty, Hout Bay is well known for its fishing prowess and is the epicentre of Cape Town’s crayfish industry. Hout Bay residents are so passionate about where they live, that there is a secessionist movement from the Mother City – look out for the tongue-in-cheek “Republic of Hout Bay” bumper stickers on locals’ cars. 

Jan van Riebeeck, the first governor of the Cape, gave the bay its name way back in 1652, when he first arrived. “Hout Bay” means “Wood Bay” – named after the dense forests that characterised the area at the time.

Although the water off Hout Bay beach is a little colder than Muizenberg or Simon's Town, the beach is wide, flat and child-friendly, and the water is not too cold for swimming, especially on a hot summer’s day. If you’re a keen walker, the beaches around Hout Bay are wonderful for long strolls, and The Sentinel is a popular climb. Adventure lovers might also enjoy kayaking, mountain biking, fishing charters and jet-skiing – all available in the Hout Bay area.


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