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Nestled between the glorious beach of Llandudno, the wine farms of Constantia, and the iconic Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town lies the quaint, and not so little anymore, suburb of Hout Bay.

©Damien du Toit
A panoramic view of Hout Bay ©Damien du Toit

If you are coming from town, the gorgeous coastal road to Hout Bay is enough reason to visit in itself, and a sign just after the lovely Suikerbossie Restaurant proclaims, “Welcome to the Republic of Hout Bay”. While you may not need to actually get your passport stamped on your way in, there are several reasons why the out-of-the-way Hout Bay requires a visit during your Cape Town holiday.

Here are my top 5 reasons to visit Hout Bay:

1. Food, glorious seafood

Hout Bay is one of the best places in Cape Town if you are up for a swimmingly good time. From laid back and casual hake and chips at Fish on the Rocks in the harbour, to wining and dining with a live band alfresco style at Lookout Deck, Hout Bay has the pick of the seafood litter. Chapman’s Peak Hotel boasts “the most tender and tastiest calamari in the world” on their website and while that may seem like a big statement to live up to, the views and the cocktails are reason enough to visit, even if the calamari doesn’t tickle your fancy. It is also rumoured that Mariner’s Wharf, which overlooks the Hout Bay docks, serves up some killer langoustines.

©Jeroen Looyé
Fresh West Coast rock lobster on a fishing boat in Hout Bay ©Jeroen Looyé
©Jeroen Looyé
Mariner’s Wharf in the Hout Bay harbour ©Jeroen Looyé

2. Shop ’til you drop

Hout Bay’s markets are some of the most authentic in Cape Town. From the weekly Sunday craft market to the Bay Harbour market, you can find an eclectic mix of bric-a-brac, local arts and crafts, traditional African fare and enough homemade delicious goodies to keep you going all day long. I find these markets to be less commercial than their inner-city counterparts, meaning that one-of-the kind trinkets are easy to come by, while the pennies in my pocket last a lot longer.

©Jeroen Looyé
Traditional beaded crafts for sale ©Jeroen Looyé
©Jeroen Looyé
Jewellery on sale at the Bay Harbour Market ©Damien du Toit

3. Views to write home about

Cape Town has some iconic views – be it that typical table top as seen from Blouberg, or the boats and bikinis of Clifton, but the Hout Bay sentinel is truly spectacular. One of the best places to drink in this exquisite view is from the stunning Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel, which lies at the base of the cliffs of Chapman’s Peak. The dining rooms, bedrooms and even the baths offer panoramic views over the bay as the sea gently laps the rocks outside this exclusive one of a kind retreat.

Looking over the bay and on towards the sentinel from the Tintswalo Atlantic parking lot ©Janine Avery
Looking over the bay and on towards the sentinel from the Tintswalo Atlantic parking lot ©Janine Avery
The view from the bath at Tintswalo Atlantic ©Janine Avery
The view from the bath at Tintswalo Atlantic ©Janine Avery

4. Reconnect with nature

Hout Bay is flanked by the beautiful Table Mountain National Park and is within easy reach of a number of scenic walks through this Cape Town treasure. Tintswalo Atlantic, for one, is the only hotel within the national park. You can also take glass-bottom boat trips to Hout Bay’s seal island, a great experience for the whole family, or get in touch with your soul in a natural setting by enjoying a yoga retreat at the serene Phakalane.

Seals in Hout Bay ©Damien du Toit
Seals in Hout Bay ©Damien du Toit
Hout Bay's seal island ©Damien du Toit
Hout Bay’s seal island ©Damien du Toit

5. Because Cape Town forgot about Hout Bay

Its this tranquility that is absolutely so appealing about Hout Bay – its like Cape Town forgot it existed when they wrote the tourist map. At Tintswalo Atlantic you could while away the days in a hammock by the sea, forgiven for thinking you were on your private island, or you could take a walk on the beach with just the local man and his dog to keep you company, or you could even stop for a picnic on Chapman’s Peak with just you, your husband and your hired vintage car for company. It’s an old world feeling and a sense of escapism that one would least expect in the bustling vibrant city of Cape Town. But ssshhh, don’t tell everyone…

The hammock built for lazy days at Tintswalo Atlantic ©Janine Avery
The hammock built for lazy days at Tintswalo Atlantic ©Janine Avery
Africa Geographic Travel
Janine Avery

I am the first to confess that I have been bitten by the travel bug… badly. I am a lover of all things travel from basic tenting with creepy crawlies to lazing in luxury lodges; I will give it all a go. I am passionate about wildlife and conservation and come from a long line of biologists, researchers and botanists.