Encircled by mountains and facing out across the cerulean waters of the Atlantic, Hout Bay is one of Cape Town’s most scenic suburbs. A historic locale and area of stunning natural beauty, it’s also home to a vibrant local community and gastronomic scene. Here, the knowledgeable team at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa share their recommendations for what to see and do in Hout Bay, a picturesque 15-minute drive south of the hotel.
A historic corner of the Cape, Hout Bay takes its name from the Dutch for ‘bay of wood’ for its abundance of heavily wooded areas. These were an excellent resource for ship building and repairs. Learn more about the bay’s rich history as a fishing and agricultural community at the local Hout Bay Museum, which traces the area’s evolution from prehistoric times to present day.
Snaking along the western coast of Cape Town, Chapman’s Peak Drive runs from Hout Bay to Noordhoek and is regarded as one of the most stunning roads on the planet. Breeze out on the open road and appreciate an unforgettable vista that juxtaposes majestic mountains and the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
A haven for wildlife
World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. Home to over 3,000 birds, the sanctuary is located in the Hout Bay Valley and occupies four verdant hectares. Designed like a tropical garden, visitors can expect to see an eclectic variety of birds and small animals.
Nature lovers should also allow some time to visit Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island, which is located just off Hout Bay. Its miniature 77m by 95m dimensions are home to marine wildlife such as birds and fur seals.
A cultural stroll
Take a guided walk, led by a local resident, to learn more about Hout Bay’s community and culture first-hand. Residents from Imizamo Yethu Township offer an engaging guided tour, providing an opportunity to meet the locals and experience a vibrant township in the heart of the Hout Bay seaside community. The 40-minute itinerary introduces guests to the many cultures that call Cape Town home. There’s also time to explore the pubs, also known as shebeens, and food stalls preparing traditional local delicacies such as sheep heads and chicken feet on the braai. The fare for these tours goes directly to supporting the community.
Local food and drink
You’ll have worked up an appetite exploring the neighbourhood and, fortunately, Hout Bay isn’t short of delicious places to eat. Bay Harbour Market comes highly recommended. It’s well-known for its delicious food stalls which serve up everything from homemade dim sum to pots of gooey mac and cheese. It’s also a great place to shop for arts, crafts and clothing and it regularly stages live entertainment.
Ale enthusiasts can refuel at local distillery Urban Brewing Company, a much-loved craft brewery located in the Hout Bay Harbour district. Alongside tours, they have four beers on tap which are all made using local Hout Bay spring water. Oenophiles will be delighted to discover several excellent vineyards surrounding Hout Bay, such as Groot Constantia, which dates back to 1685.
Stay at Red Carnation Hotels’ The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa to explore Cape Town’s many picturesque suburbs.
Image credits: Lead image © iStock/WitR. Exotic bird © iStock/vanderje. Chapan's Peak Drive © iStock/FrankvanderBergh. Dumplings © iStock/Matejay.