The jagged spire of the Sentinel in Hout Bay characterises the start of the southern Cape Peninsula and marks the western end of the ocean mouth. Although being surrounded by mountains to the north, east and west, and the southern Atlantic Ocean due south, is really what makes Hout Bay unique. Being embraced by mountains and the ocean is what permeates the senses and delivers sublime fulfilment to living in Hout Bay. The bounty of the ocean seems endless when considering how we can interact with it on so many levels. Research ¹ shows that spending time by the ocean has many positive effects on lifestyle, health and well-being.
Although the Atlantic Ocean waters are very cold, Mother Nature has blessed Hout Bay with creatures that appreciate colder temperatures. Here we often experience whales, dolphins, Cape fur seals and the elusive Mola mola (sunfish).
Mola mola are the heaviest known bony fishes in the world but are docile and often seem to be showing off, as they swim in rings near the surface in the Bay. A large Cape fur seal colony lives just off the waters of Hout Bay, on Duiker Island. The deep and lush Kelp Forests are home to an abundance of ocean life. You can visit the island by boat and if you are a competent swimmer you can even dive amongst these curious, playful and gentle creatures. Dolphins regularly visit the Bay to feed and frolic. Between June and November of each year, the Southern Right Whale passes through Hout Bay waters, journeying from the Cold Antarctica to calve in the warm waters around Cape Town. The Humpback Whale also navigates through, en-route to breed and calve in Mozambique and Madagascar. Bryde Whales occasionally make an appearance as well.
Even though Hout Bay exudes a rural atmosphere, with several equestrian estates and small holdings, the beautiful powdery sands of Hout Bay Beach, exhilarating extreme surfing at Dungeons Beach and the quaint harbour, also make inviting locations for ocean activities: surfing, sea-kayaking, SUPping, diving, boating and recreational fishing.
Nestled between the dramatic cliffs of Chapman’s Peak and the charm of the working Hout Bay Harbour lies the sandy stretch of Hout Bay Beach. Swimming and water sports are encouraged if wading in the water and building sandcastles is not entertainment enough. Occasional windy days keep kite-surfers and sailors happy. SUPping and kayaking trips afford paddlers a whole new perspective on the picturesque and iconic Chapman’s Peak. During the best months between April and September small bays and coves at the water’s edge can be explored against a backdrop of spectacular birdlife and dolphins that could make a surprise appearance. From the rough granite water’s edge and the proximity of the mountains, residents and visitors are blessed with a wealth of flora and fauna with anything up to 2000 fynbos species, including many species of proteas. Hout Bay forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which is one of the world’s recognised floral kingdoms comprising of numerous endemic species.
Hout Bay is spoilt for choice when it comes to seafood. The coastlines are havens for some of the best fish in the world. With access to the freshest seafood on the market, restaurants and their chefs know they are always working with exceptional products, for cooking or a delicious plate of sushi. Whether it is line fish (yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, Hake, kingklip, sardines) or crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp) there is a delectable array of seafood waiting to be enjoyed at some of Hout Bay’s top, affordable seafood restaurants.
Yes, living near the ocean in Hout Bay permeates the senses.