15 Top Things To Do In Hout Bay
Hout Bay, affectionately called ‘the republic of Hout Bay’ by its residents, has fast become one of Cape Town’s most beloved fishing villages and vibrant must-visit destinations. Located just 20 minutes from the center of Cape Town, Hout Bay has a unique and timeless beauty and irresistible charm that has continued to make it so popular among locals and visitors alike.
Beyond its obvious beauty, charming allure, and vibrant energy, one of Hout Bay’s top draws is the fact that it truly has something for everyone to enjoy. From the famous Duiker Island / ‘Seal Island’ and it’s thriving colony of Cape Fur Seals, the lively Hout Bay Harbor, a beautiful family-friendly beach, a thriving food and market scene, magnificent mountainsides and surrounding scenery, exceptional marine life, and so much to do, see, explore, and experience, Hout Bay is filled with beauty, wonder, and adventure at every turn.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should add the charismatic coastal town and vibrant fishing village to your Cape Town travel bucket list, along with some of the best and most exciting things to do in Hout Bay.
Now, go out there and enjoy every second of what Hout Bay has to offer – The list is truly endless, trust us!
#1 Go on a ‘Seal Island’ boat trip
Are you keen for a bit of adventure and thrill? Then going on an exhilarating boat trip to Hout Bay’s Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island, is by far one of the top things to do in Hout Bay. Not to mention its tons of fun for the whole family too!
Home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals, you will not only have the amazing opportunity to enjoy up-close sightings of these incredible and playful marine mammals, but relish in the sensational surrounding scenery and views of the Atlantic ocean, the glorious Sentinel Mountain, Hout Bay, and the magnificent Chapman’s Peak Drive.
**Note: All Seal Island boat trips depart from the Hout Bay Harbor with the entire experience lasting approximately 45minutes.
- Location: Circe Launches, Hout Bay Harbor, Hout Bay, Cape Town
#2 Go to the famous Hout Bay Clay Café Ceramic Painting
Get the whole family together for a fun-filled day at the Clay Café in Hout Bay!
- Location: Clay Cafe, 4080 Main Road, Opposite Bokkemanskloof Estate, Hout Bay, Cape Town
- Opening hours: Monday – Sunday | 9am – 5pm
- Contact details: 076 810 5120 | 062 455 6578 | [email protected]
- Bookings: Click here to make an online booking
- Click here for more information
- Facebook: @ClayCafeHoutBay
- Instagram: @theclaycafe_houtbay
The Clay Café Hout Bay has become one of the Mother City’s top attractions for locals and tourists alike. Situated in the heart of the Hout Bay valley, the Clay Café gives you the amazing opportunity to unleash your inner artist, get your creative juices flowing, and have tons of fun playing around with assorted colour combinations, textures, and shapes as you spend the day painting and creating your own ceramic masterpiece.
By choosing from an array of unfired bisque (already made pottery pieces) and a wide selection of colourful paints and tools, each person gets the super cool opportunity to craft their very own piece of unique / one-of-a-kind crockery which they can take home with them – It is their creative masterpiece after all!
Spending the day at the beloved and highly sought-after Clay Café is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Hout Bay and perfect for letting your hair down, freeing your creative spirit, and showing off your artistic side – Not to mention having tons of fun every step of the way!
Another amazing perk of going to the Clay Café is that there is no age limit. This means both the young and young at heart are invited to join in on all the Clay Café creativity and fun.
Besides it’s sought-after status and charismatic appeal, the Clay Café boasts a beautiful large open patio with outside tables overlooking a luscious garden. They also have a veggie garden, their own African chic boutique, and a wonderful restaurant serving delicious meals throughout the day.
**Note: In addition to its wildly popular Hout Bay location, the Clay Café has opened another branch in the trendy inner-city neighbourhood of Gardens – Clay Café In The City!
#3 Enjoy delicious fish & chips at Fish on the Rocks
Loudly and proudly claiming its title as one of the best fish and chips spots in Cape Town, Fish on the Rocks has received major praise from both local and international guests and travellers. Their menu items, which features their famous hake/snoek and chips, are jam-packed with flavour, always freshly prepared, and boasts all the delicious goodness your food-loving heart desires. It really is THAT good!
If that’s not enough, this famed seafood eatery and iconic fish and chips spot is perfectly situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, boasting one of the most stunning backdrops of the captivating Chapmans Peak, vast Atlantic, and passing fishing boats.
- Location: 1 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town
- Operating hours: Open daily from 9am-7.30pm
For more information visit www.fishontherocks.com
#4 Have an amazing time at the Bay Harbour Market
If you want to really immerse yourself in Hout Bay’s cultural heart and feel like a real local, then be sure to head to the vibrant Bay Harbour Market!
The Bay Harbour Market is widely known and celebrated as the most vibrant market in Cape Town. Situated on the water’s edge at the old Hout Bay Harbour, the Bay Harbour Market is all about embracing the true spirit of the Mother City.
Set inside an old fish factory, this beloved Cape Town Market aims to uplift and empower the local community and talent by bringing local craftsmen, artists, designers, and musicians together in the most unique and authentic way. This undoubtedly makes the Bay Harbour Market the ultimate celebration of community, culture, culinary pursuits, creative expression, and everything in between – And you’re invited to join in on every second of the shopping, sharing, vibrant energy, laughter, live music, dining, dancing, and the lively local Bay Harbour Market vibe!
the Bay Harbour Market, the focus will be on all things local – from local vendors right through to local performers. Visitors can expect a formidable line-up of South African talent on the Fever-Tree Sound Stage every Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. Besides incredible live music to lift everyone’s spirits, there will be an amazing selection of local wines, craft beers and gins on offer as well as a variety of delicious food, ranging from street food to nibbly bits and platters perfect for the whole family.
That’s not all! As always, the Bay Harbour Market’s shopping experience is right on point – Boasting over 100 stalls, you’ll find anything from top fashion, leather accessories and décor to art, collectables, crafts, gifting and so much more – you want it, chances are the Bay Harbour Market has it.
What are you waiting for? The Bay Harbour Market is ready to add some fun, excitement, and extra Bay Harbour magic to your day!
**Bonus: In summer, visitors to the Bay Harbour Market can enjoy the refreshing ocean air, stunning harbour views, and lively vibe on the outside patio. Not to mention some great sightings of the Hout Bay ocean locals – the beloved Cape Fur Seals! When the temperatures start to plummet, visitors are invited to sit inside next to the cosy fire.
For more information about the traders and what they have to offer, visit the Bay Harbour Market website: www.bayharbour.co.za
#5 Explore the World of Birds & Monkey Park
Hailed as the Largest Bird Park in Africa as well as one of the few large bird parks in the world, a visit to the incredible World of Birds & Monkey Park is definitely one of the not-to-be-missed and top things to do in Hout Bay on any trip – Especially for nature lovers and bird and animal enthusiasts.
An astounding over 3000 birds (and small animals) of 400 distinct species are present and uniquely presented in more than 100 spacious landscaped walk-through aviaries, allowing visitors the opportunity to experience the most intimate closeness with nature and all of its amazing species. It truly is a spectacular sight and bucket-list worthy experience all wrapped in one.
After you’ve wandered through the bird walkways, head to Monkey Jungle to get up close and personal and even befriend the incredibly playful and wildly inquisitive little Squirrel Monkeys. It is a real treat and beyond exciting experience the whole family will never forget!
**If that isn’t enough excitement, this remarkable Hout Bay attraction also boasts the Robin’s Nest drink and snack shop and a Secret Garden to discover and explore!
**A tropical garden setting in the Hout Bay Valley is the environment in which the aviaries are spaced over 4 ha of land, framed by the back of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Constantiaberg, Chapman’s Peak and Little Lion’s Head. A paradise for nature lovers and photographers, the World of Birds is one of Cape Town’s premier tourist attractions which no visitor should miss.
- Location: World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary, Valley Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town.
- When: Daily from 9am – 5pm
- Contact details: 021 790 2730
#6 Take a drive along the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive
Named one of the most magnificent marine drives in the world, taking a drive along the picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive should be on everyone’s bucket-list. Affectionately known as ‘Chappies’ by Cape Town locals, this captivating coastal road ribbons along the Atlantic coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. Besides highlighting some of the most sensational panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll pass rugged mountains, picturesque white-sand beaches, and vibrant fishing harbours on your way.
If you’re looking to experience something extra special, a sunset drive along Chapman’s Peak promises to sweep you off your feet and capture your sunset-loving heart all at the same time. It isn’t known as one of the best sunset spots in Cape Town for nothing.
**If you’re eager to add some adventure and thrill to your Chapman’s Peak Drive experience, here are a few things to look out for:
**Tip: Chapman’s Peak Drive is known for its amazing hidden gems scattered along the route. Two of which include the waterfall walk and the secret Look-out Cave.
**The waterfall walk is perfect for nature lovers and adventurers and is found just before you reach the toll gate on your way towards Noordhoek.
Besides these two must-visit secret spots, there are a variety of look-out points and picnic sites located at various points along the drive. Chapman’s Peak Drive is also known as one of the best places to spot the beloved members of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5. Make sure to keep a look-out for Cape Fur Seals, Dolphins, Southern Right Whales, and African Penguins.
** Important note: Chapman’s Peak Drive may be closed during severe weather, or because of road maintenance. Contact the customer service line (021 791 8220) or visit their Facebook page or website to check the current status.
- Location: M6 | Chapmans Peak Drive, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town
- Best time: Best during daylight hours | Particularly beautiful at sunset
- Cost: Chapman’s Peak Drive is a toll road, and as such requires as toll tariff fee. Each category of vehicle pays a different tariff and the tariff is applicable in each direction.
- Toll Details: Click here to find out more about the Chapman’s Peak Standard Toll Tariffs | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Day Passes | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Frequent User Benefits
#7 Enjoy a Hout Bay Beach day
Time to gather all your friends and family and enjoy a wonderful, fun-filled, and laid-back Hout Bay Beach day. Stretching for almost a kilometre along the Atlantic Ocean, this long, sandy beach faces a bay framed by mountains, boasting exceptional views all around, with the white powdery sand dividing the cliffs of Chapman’s Peak and the charm of the lively Hout Bay Harbour.
Whether you’re eager to take a refreshing dip in the cool Atlantic waters, ride the epic Hout Bay waves, soak up the glorious Mother City sunshine, build a sandcastle and moat with the kiddos, or simply sit back and relax as you crunch the soft white sand between your toes and admire the magnificent views that surround you as the kids and dogs (Hout Bay Beach is pet-friendly) play around in the surf. There is no denying that the stunning Hout Bay beach is perfect for a fabulous day out in the Mother City.
As the bay waters are calm, everyone is welcome and free to swim and have an absolute blast of a time in the cool and refreshing ocean water. Watersports are also highly encouraged at Hout Bay Beach with the occasional windy days keeping the kite-surfers and sailors happy.
- Where: Hout Bay Beach, Beach Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town
- When: Daylight hours
#8 Snorkel with Cape Fur Seals
Going snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals is by far one of the most exhilarating things to do in Hout Bay and Cape Town all-year round, especially during summer.
The famous Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island, in Hout Bay is home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals and the perfect destination for your snorkeling adventure. These playful ocean beings are known to be very interactive with divers and only too eager to show off all their tricks and twirls, making snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals a bucket-list worthy ocean adventure experience in every way.
#9 Explore the lively Hout Bay Harbour
The bustling Hout Bay Harbour is the lively heart of it all. Boasting an endless array of things to do and see it has positioned itself as one of Hout Bay’s main attractions. From an endless variety of arts, crafts and everything-you-can-think-of stalls, incredible seafood restaurants, authentic local fish and chips spots, and tons of cool hangouts to enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine, amazing marine life with Cape Fur Seals here, there, and everywhere – the lively Hout Bay Harbour truly has it all.
The Hout Bay Harbour is also known as one of Cape Town’s most bustling working fishing harbours. The harbour has also become the ultimate destination for a variety of exciting tourism activities and thrilling adventure experiences. From boat trips, diving, fishing, kayaking, snorkelling with Cape Fur Seals and so much more, there’s something thrilling for everyone to enjoy! Not to mention the beautiful beachfront right alongside it.
#10 Visit the Hout Bay Gallery
If you’re a head-over-heels art lover at heart, this one is for you! Established in 1984, the Hout Bay Gallery is a warm, welcoming, and vibrant art gallery with locals and tourists traveling from far and wide to see what this artistic gem is all about.
Art works on display include paintings, photography, drawings, and sculptures, with the Hout Bay Gallery featuring and specializing in the work of South African artists with the aim to showcase as much local talent as possible. Local artists David Kuijers, Glen Tong, Paul Du Toit, Robert Slingsby, Vanessa Berlein, Sarah Danes Jarrett, Jan Vermeiren, Richard Scott, Russell Travers, Koos De Wet, Shirley Harris, and many others currently have works on display in the gallery.
Visiting the Hout Bay Gallery is without a doubt one of the top things to do in Hout Bay, especially for any and all art enthusiasts and those interested in local art.
- Where: Hout Bay Gallery, 71 Victoria Avenue, Hout Bay, Cape Town
- When: Monday to Saturday from 10am – 5pm | Sundays from 11am – 5pm |
Public holidays from 12pm – 5pm
- Cost: Free to browse
- Contact details: 021 790 3618
#11 Go to the beautiful Hout Bay Vineyards
Nestled high up on the slopes of Hout Bay, this independent family-owned winery offers wine lovers (and non-wine lovers of course) an incredibly intimate, unique, and personalised wine tasting experience. The Hout Bay Vineyards and winery’s pristine wine collection and range includes a top-class Cap Classique sparkling wine, sauvignon Blanc, a variety of reds and a delectable port. While bubbly is what started this exciting wine adventure, Hout Bay Vineyards also produce a range of other wines, including a full-bodied red and a crispy Sauvignon Blanc, so characteristic of the Cape Peninsula, along with a delicate and delightful light ‘blush’ rosé. This ensures that there is something for absolutely every wine lover and vino afficionado to enjoy!
What makes the stunning Hout Bay Vineyards so special and extra personal is the fact that both Cathy and Peter Roeloffze are extremely passionate about their product and are always willing and happy to share their love of wine with others.
Their wines are available on open days, every last Saturday in May and November. Friends and the public are welcome to picnic on the lush lawns or just laze abut under the blue gums, all while enjoying some truly sensational Hout Bay Vineyards wine.
- Where: 1 High Meadows Estate, Grotto Way, Hout Bay, Cape Town.
- When: Open any time by appointment only
- Contact details: 083 790 2372
#12 Hike Hout Bay’s Orange Kloof Hike
- Start: Constantia Nek parking area
- Finish: where you started
- Duration: 8 km, roughly 5 hours, but you can adapt the hike to suit your group’s fitness and experience level
- Fitness: you need a good pair of boots and a fair level of fitness as there is quite a climb back out of the kloof at the end of the hike
- Cost: Free
- **Note: According to the Mountain Club of South Africa you can only book your permits for Orange Kloof via phone (021 689 4441) at least two weeks in advance
Boasting a variety of amazing and thrilling hiking trails, one of which being the Orange Kloof Hike, Hout Bay is any nature lover and avid hiker’s paradise. Orange Kloof is a beautiful protected area above Hout Bay on the south end of the renowned Table Mountain. The stunning Orange Kloof is deemed a protected area due to the Afromontane forest. The breath-taking Afromontane forest of Orange Kloof deserves to be explored by those who truly value and love nature.
The access / starting point of the Orange Kloof Hike is via the Constantia Nek parking lot, through the gates on the left, at the bottom. There are a couple of different hiking trails through Orange Kloof and it is best done with a knowledgeable and experienced guide, however the most popular trail among avid hiker’s is up Disa Gorge, where the forest is at its very best. This hiking trail is a circular trail that takes you behind Table Mountain to the source of the Disa River, and then to the top end of Hout Bay. In its entirety the circuit is approximately 8km in total.
When it comes to this popular Hout Bay hiking trail, it isn’t the route itself that sells Orange Kloof as a sought-after hiking destination so much as it is the beauty of the area and surrounding scenery. Not to mention the complete quiet as you initially dip down at quite a steep incline into the valley and leave all sign of civilisation behind you.
You will soon reach the outskirts of Hout Bay, which is the first sign of any civilisation. You can then veer right into the Afromontane forest – an absolute treat as it is full of yellowwoods, brackets, fynbos, rocks, and a myriad of river crossings. Try and include a stop at the amazing river pools on your hike – not only is it a wonderful end to the hike, but it will be thoroughly enjoyed by both the young and young at heart.
#13 Explore Hout Bay on horseback
Experienced rider Nola Muller and her dedicated team of instructors will take you on a scenic ride through Oranjekloof, Cecilia Forest, or to Disa River from their Whispering Pines Riding Studio in the Oranjekloof Nature Reserve, teaching you the best techniques and giving you individualized attention along the way.
- Location:Whispering Pines, Boskykloof Road, Longkloof, Hout Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 8am – 4:30pm
- Contact details: 082 409 9699
#14 Watch the sunset from the Chapman’s Peak Look-out Cave
The Chapman’s Peak Look-out Cave is not only one of its most beautiful hidden gems, but one of Cape Town’s top secret caves and best sunset spots too. Like all of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, you may need to wander a little off the beaten path to find it. Make your way along Chapman’s Peak Drive until you reach the famous Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point – This is where the real adventure begins!
Positioned just below the pass, you’ll have to climb over the railing and carefully make your way down the mountainside to reach the Lookout Cave. Once you’ve reached this cool secret hideaway and stunning sunset spot, it’s time to sit back, relax and soak it all in. The sheltered sand-stone cave boasts the perfect view over Hout Bay and Atlantic Ocean. An extra bonus is that it has enough space to enjoy a picnic and a few sundowners paired with one hell of a view.
Watching the glorious Cape Town sunset from one of the most stunning secret sunset spots is by far one of the top things to do in Hout Bay and should undoubtedly be added to everyone’s Cape Town bucket-list right away.
#15 Visit & explore the daring Dungeons Beach
The daring Dungeons Beach is deemed the most extreme surf beach in South Africa, accessible only by a 15 minute boat-ride form the Hout Bay Harbour. It therefore comes as no surprise that Dungeons Beach is the venue of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa Contest that takes place annually in winter, with the world’s top national and international contenders surfing by invitation only.
The beach is a collection of shallow open reefs and high impact zones with sheer wave faces of 15-25 ft. At the base of the Sentinel Mountain cliffs this danger zone on the west side of Africa’s southern coast is the most ultimate extreme surfing experience for well-seasoned big wave riders.
**Note: Cold water, unpredictable waters, wild sealife, and sheer hazardous conditions means these jaggered Atlantic waters are never to be attempted without group support and co-ordinated jet-ski back-up teams. AKA: Professionals only!
Other top things to do in Hout Bay include:
- Trees & Hedges Nursery
- The Oude Skip Hike
- Explore the manganese mines
- The Hout Bay Lions Craft Market
- Dining at the Chapmans Peak Restaurant
- Hiking Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine Trail
- Hoerikwaggo trail hike
- Going kayaking
- Go to the Hout Bay Harbour Distillery
- Having a picnic on Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Visit a World War II radar station
- Go to the Fine Art Africa Gallery
- Hop on an e-bike
- Hike to Blackburn Ravine
- Eat at Dunes Beach Restaurant & Bar
- Hike the Cape Peninsular Loop
- Dine at the famous Mariner’s Wharf
- Enjoy delicious pizzas at Massimos
- Visit and learn more about Original Tea Bag Designs – A fantastic initiative
- Enjoy Sundowners at The Lookout Deck
- Visit the Ambeloui Wine Estate
- Laugh out Loud Entertainment
- Live music at Pakalolo
- Stay at Tintswalo Atlantic
- Take cooking classes at Stir Crazy Cooking School
- Take a cruise to view a shipwreck