Fish and chips by the sea

Hout Bay pro­vides a won­der­ful set­ting for fam­ily vis­its, tourist ad­ven­tures and old-fash­ioned sea­side en­joy­ments

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFUN - PAUL WIN­TER

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.

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