Fish and chips by the sea
Hout Bay provides a wonderful setting for family visits, tourist adventures and old-fashioned seaside enjoyments
WHY THE name Hout Bay? Soon after his arrival in the Cape in 1652, Jan van Riebeeck recognised the dense forests in the valleys overlooking the bay as important sources of timber – hout – and set about exploiting them.
Of course, the exploitation of the tree and plant life also meant that the animal population in the area was disturbed, and in some cases, completely wiped out.
The bronze statue of a leopard, which is now perched on a rock overlooking the beach at the start of Chapman’s Peak drive, is a memorial to those animals. It was installed in 1963, and represents the last leopard that was seen here in the 1930s.
Next time we find ourselves strolling along Hout Bay’s beach, perhaps we could consider how we could improve the way we do things, next time?
The beach at Hout Bay – stretching from the start of Chapman’s Peak drive, along to the harbour breakwater – is one of Hout Bay’s most prized possessions. It is popular beach for walking, good for the family, and a fun place for a quick swim, as the water is often a degree or two warmer than other beaches on the Atlantic coastline. The bay is also sheltered from wave and swell action, which makes it a popular launching spot for surfski and sea- kayak paddlers. Spend a morning on the beach, then head into the harbour for lunch.
Harbours seem to represent a special place in many people’s hearts. They are places where you fill yourself with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of the sea and the cultures it attracts. Around Hout Bay har- bour, there are smells of fish and chips, sea food restaurants and fresh sea air – mixed with occasional wafts of hard- working boat engines and industry. The wooden fishing trawlers are painted in bold, primary colours, and make very photogenic subjects. On the harbour break- waters, you can listen to the reassuring screech of seagulls, and the cheerful, bold humour of fishermen and women cleaning and selling their catch of snoek, yellowtail, kabeljou, hottentot, yellowfin tuna, and other species, from thick concrete tables.
Hout Bay harbour is also something of a fish ’n chips capital of Cape Town. Mariner’s Wharf, Snoekies, and Fish on the Rocks are firm favourites. For about R40 at most places, you can buy a steaming hot parcel of fried, battered snoek or hake, accompanied by a slice of lemon, and a mound of hot chips. These are best enjoyed outside the shops, or while sitting on a harbour wall, with your feet dangling over the edge, watching Hout Bay’s harbour life go by.
SANDY PURSUITS: Hout Bay beach – wonderful for walking and swimming.