Hout Bay is the best base for Cape Town explorations. Sandwiched between the forested fairgrounds of Kirstenbosch and the rolling Constantia vineyards, with the bonus of Chapmans Peak panoramas on its doorstep, there are many grounds for making this vibrant harbour town your headquarters.
On a trip to see the best of Cape Town, Hout Bay offers the most convenient proximity to the Mother City. This laidback seaside suburb sits a comfortable distance from the bustling city centre for leisurely day trips. Point your compass north, and a 15-minute drive will seat you along the trendy bar-studded shores of Camps Bay. 25 minutes and you’re in Seapoint, where you can kayak through the enchanting watery habitat of Heaviside’s dolphins and look back at the imposing silhouette of Table Mountain. Just 30 minutes drive from Hout Bay, you’ll find the artistic marvels of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and local shopping spoils at the iconic V&A Waterfront. Why not end the day with a sunset champagne cruise? To the south, one can comfortably visit the endearing Southern Peninsula (home to Africa’s unusual penguin colony) or gallop along Noordhoek beach on a horse ride, before venturing to the wilds of Cape Point beyond. The true charm of your visit, however, is the return. Retrace your steps to Hout Bay and retreat into the beguiling pocket of nature that first attracted intrepid sailors to South Africa. Right here in Hout Bay, there’s immediate access to top-notch hiking routes like Signal Hill hiking trail, and to the Cape’s most revered heritage vineyards. You don’t have to travel far for a Hout Bay winery tasting experience, as Hout Bay’s very own family-owned wine estate, Hout Bay Vineyards, can be found high up on the slopes, close to our hotel.
This attractive bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean and was first marked in early 16th century Portuguese maps as Port o Fragoso (fragile or jagged port). Chapmans Chaunce was the first English name given to Hout Bay, and the charming road that connects Hout Bay to the Southern Peninsula still bears this captain’s name — the stunningly scenic Chapman’s Pass. Before settlers and sailors, indigenous Africans walked these shores. The Khoi and the San people lived a pastoral life hunting and fishing along the bay, sharing it with animals. Want to know a little local secret? On your drive from Hout Bay to Chapman’s Peak, look out at the boulders to find a special statue. A bronze leopard is lurking among the stones. Sculptured by Ivan Mitford-Barberton, it is a memorial dedicated to all the wild animals that once freely roamed these mountains. According to the Hout Bay Museum, the last leopard spotted in Hout Bay was seen on Little Lion’s Head in 1937.