Hout Bay is an enchanting fishing village, which has become very upmarket.
The Harbour is a focal point of Hout Bay with the Yacht Club being a gathering place for friends and family. South Africa's first Harbourfront Emporuim, created around the Fish Market is known as the Mariner's Wharf. It incorporates live lobster tanks, an old-time seafaring wine shop and maritime and shell shops, offering one of the world's largest range of nautical souvenirs and artifacts, all under one roof!
The 10km long drive along the picturesque Chapmans's Peak brings you to Noordhoek, where one can turn off into the Avondrust Circle to visit the Noordhoek Art Route, which consists of local artists with media ranges from bronzw sculptures to stained glass and ceramics.
Watch some of the Artists work in their strudios. The Noordhoek Farm Village has a charm of it's own, with shops, craft workshops, restaurants, coffee shops and an art gallery.
It's Wharfside Grill Restaurant has panoramic harbour views, authentic fishing decor, and is one of the best seafood restaurants. The Seafood Bistro is also famous for it's al fresco meals and excellent fish and chips. The Wharf is well worth a visit. The Rumblin' Tum Restaurant is situated on the Main Road and is well known for the meals and tea-time treats served.
The beautiful 21st Centuary Shopping Complex, situated in the ambience of a 100 year old fishing village, features national names and over 50 other boutiques, craft and gift stores. The Hout Bay Museum in Andrews Road gives ans insight into the ;natural and cultural history of the area, and the historical Cape Dutch homestead of Kronendal, built in 1800, is on the Main Road.
The Red Herring Trading Yard is very interesting, and the Silvermine Reserve is a beautiful area, with a stream running through it, wonderful forestry and braai and picnic areas.
For an "old time" Cape experiance, the village of Kommetjie gives the impression of time having stood still - except that it has modern facilities, and surfing, angling and sunbathing form an important part of a very laid-back lifestyle.
Hout Bay (Afrikaans: Houtbaai, from the Dutch for "Wood Bay") is the name of a coastal suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It lies in a valley on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula and is twenty kilometres south of the Central Business District of Cape Town. The name Hout Bay can refer to the town, or the bay on which it is situated, or the whole valley.
When the Dutch established a colony in Table Bay in 1652, they required a great quantity of good timber for building and other purposes. There were no large forests in the immediate vicinity of the settlement, mainly because the rainfall was not high enough but it was soon apparent that the colonists would be able to get what they needed in the wetter valley that lay on the other side of a low pass (called Constantia Nek) between the southern end of Table Mountain and Constantiaberg. The area was originally made up of two farms, which were slowly subdivided to make way for urban expansion. While still maintaining its rural feel the area now has more than 12 000 residences inhabited by a population of about 42000 people.
Hout Bay is surrounded by mountain to the North, East and West and the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the South. In the North it is bordered by Table Mountain National Park comprising of the Orangekloof Nature reserve and the bottom slopes of Table Mountain beyond that. To the North-West it is bordered by the backside of the Twelve Apostles, known as the Oranjekloof. To the West it is bordered by Little Lions Heads (Klein Leeukop), Karbonkelberg, Kapteins Peak and the Sentinel. To the East it is bordered by the Vlakkenberg, Skoorsteenskopberg and Constantiaberg. The world famous Chapman's Peak Drive is carved out of the mountainside and leads towards Noordhoek and onwards to Cape Point.
Hout Bay HarbourThe Hout Bay bay has a beautiful whitesand beach, a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Hout Bay has one of the busiest harbours in the Western Cape with a thriving tuna, snoek and crayfish industry. The harbour boast the Atlantic Yacht Club and several restaurants including; Mariners Wharf a seafood emporium that is recognised at the 9th most visited tourist attraction in Cape Town.
There are three roads leading to and from Hout Bay, all over mountain passes. One goes to Llandudno and Camps Bay through the pass between Judas Peak (part of the Twelve Apostles) and Little Lions Head, it is known as Suikerbossie (known as the toughest hill on the Cape Argus Cycle Race). Between Hout Bay and Noordhoek there is Chapman's Peak Drive which was closed for many years and finally reopened in early 2004 with a controversial toll booth. Lastly a road leads to Constantia over the Constantia Nek pass between Vlaakenberg and the back slopes of Table Mountain.
Hout Bay is a popular tourist attraction among both local and international visitors. There are a variety of restaurants in the village as well as two hotels (the Hout Bay Manor and the Chapman's Peak Hotel) and many bed and breakfasts and self-catering accommodation where visitors can stay. The harbour is a worthwhile visit, as there are spectacular views of the bay and boat rides to Duiker Island and around the Sentinel. The famous Mariner's Wharf restaurant is widely visited. Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the world's most scenic mountain drives and has recently undergone renovations to ensure the safety of travellers using the route. The East and West forts built by the Dutch in the 18th century can also be visited, with the original cannons and barracks still standing on the slopes of Chapman's Peak. The mountains surrounding Hout Bay also make for good hiking trails.
The Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing contest is held on the other side of the Sentinel mountain, at the famous Dungeons. Some of the biggest waves in the world are found here and these attract surfers from all over the world. The competition can only be held during May to August, when the waves reach heights of 15 - 20 feet