Hotels in and around the Hout Bay suburb
Hout Bay is defined by its diversity. This element permeates the environment, people, culture and cuisine of this Cape Town suburb. Hout Bay is an accurate representation of this Rainbow Nation, united in its variations. This region is a valley, surrounded by mountains on all but one side, where the Atlantic Ocean forms an impressive border. These mountains include the well-known Table Mountain, Oranjekloof (the rear of the Twelve Apostles), Little Lion’s Head and Constantiaberg.
Hout Bay is unique in terms of suburbs as it is home to rich and poor alike. Fishermen supporting large families on a shoestring sell their produce to some of Cape Town’s most elite. This mosaic of society is set only 20km from the Mother City’s centre, putting this intriguing valley high on the list of must-see destinations in the Western Cape. In addition to its cultural array and fishing village charm, Hout Bay is also home to World of Birds. This sanctuary houses one of the country’s most impressive range of birds, and visitors are privy to enjoy them up-close-and-personal as you stroll right through their area of habitat.
The Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape in 1652, with the intention of colonising and living here with their families and workers. Hout Bay was a fertile valley with lots of useable wood for the construction of their homes and farms, luring more and more of the Dutch to this area. This required considerable effort as they needed to take the mountain pass between Table Mountain and Constantiaberg.
Hout Bay maintains its secluded village feel despite the fact that it is a mere 20km from Cape Town’s CBD. Being a valley on the Atlantic shoreline, it is accessed via several mountain passes; namely, Judas Peak (through the stunning beachfront suburbs of Camps Bay and Llandudno), Suikerbossie, Constantianek and Chapman’s Peak (from Noordhoek).
Roads are safe for driving. However, the mountain passes require strict vigilance at all times. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or get into a car with someone who is not sober. Should you require a taxi / cab, call a professional service for one, or request that your hotel or tour operator organises the service for you. It is not advisable that you make use of the minibus taxis, as these are notorious for being uncertified and / or wreckless on the roads.
Cape Town International Airport is undergoing massive renovations in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. As such, it is equipped to deal with an even larger number of flights from all over the world, making access easier and less costly. Alternatively, visitors that are coming from other areas in South Africa will enjoy the scenic routes and safe roads into Cape Town.
Avid sailors and fishermen are sure to list Hout Bay amongst their favourite hotspots. These waters are teeming with exciting fish, crayfish and prawns, and are ideal for a day spent relaxing on the yacht. The beaches are also stunning, and lure visitors to while away the time, enjoying the hot African sun and the crisp Atlantic waters. These waters have also become popular amongst the surfing community around the world. Other water-based attractions include SCUBA diving, snorkelling and kayaking.
The flea market on a Sunday provides visitors and locals to support the Hout Bay industries, as well as to savour some of the arts, crafts and flavours that form this community. This is an ideal way to end off a busy week of sightseeing.
The Kirstenbosch Gardens are within a 10- to 15-minute drive from Hout Bay and promise spectacular foliage in breath-taking surrounds. These botanical gardens are brimming with intriguing flowers, ferns, herbs and cacti, to name but a few. It is equipped with several eateries, or offers visitors the opportunity to picnic under the imposing boughs of an aged tree.
Also within close driving proximity are the acclaimed Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Robben Island, Cape Town’s city bowl, the wine farms of Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Somerset West, Table Mountain with its cable car and the gorgeous beach of Llandudno.
Summer in South Africa is between December and March, winter from June to August. Winters in Hout Bay, Cape Town, are chilly and rainy, with days starting at about 10 to 13 degrees Celsius and warming up to around 18. Summers are hot, and boast temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius at noon – perfect for swimming and fishing (remember the sun block). Summer evenings drop to a pleasant 19 or 20 degrees. The sea temperature is cold, and wetsuits may be required. Hout Bay enjoys the sea air blowing off the water, which cools even the balmy days down considerably.
Insect repellent and a high-factor sunscreen are both necessities in South Africa, regardless of the time of year that you visit. In addition, wear a sunhat and sunglasses, as well as light-weight clothing that covers your necks, arms and legs to avoid sun damage.
Visitors are reminded to bring their prescriptions for spectacles and medication so that they can restock at a local pharmacy without having to consult with a doctor. It is wise to ensure that tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.