Top Things To Do in Hout Bay Cape Town South Africa by

Top Things To Do in Hout Bay, Cape Town

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Nestled in a valley 12 miles south of the Cape Town CBD is the pleasant village of Hout Bay. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and by the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the quaint suburb exudes a distinct community vibe – but there are quite a few Hout Bay attractions to experience that draw tourists to visit.


5 Best Things To Do in Hout Bay, SA

Barking sea lion at Hout Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

We were so enamored by the serene landscapes that we chose Hout Bay as our home base for our Cape Town Itinerary. Although many of our days included essential Cape Town sightseeing, we were also able to spend plenty of time discovering a few of the best things to do in Hout Bay.


#1 Shop at the Hout Bay Market

Platters of entrees at Hout Bay Market in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

The Bay Harbour Market, housed in an old fish factory, is a fun weekend market. With an array of items for sale – from unique souvenirs to handmade crafts to trendy clothes – we could spend hours perusing the wares at each stall. Once we got our shopping fix, we directed our attention to the beautiful displays and fragrant scents coming in the overflowing food court.

The Hout Bay Market dining options include tapas, fresh-made soup, entrees of lamb…and just about everything else in between. Sushi and sausages were vying for our attention when we were distracted by the craft brew, local wine and a full bar.

While trying to determine which drink would best whet our whistle, we had another choice to make: sit inside with a view of the boisterous market or outside with a view of the mountains. At the same time, a solo guitarist took the stage to kick off the mid-day entertainment – so we grabbed pints of craft beer, ordered a sausage platter to share and found seats at an indoor picnic table!

Top Tip: Although this ranks as one of the top things to do in Hout Bay, the market is only open on weekends. Friday from 5pm-9pm and Saturday/Sunday from 9:30am-4pm. Go to the official website for the most current information. 


#2 Eat at Hout Bay Restaurants

Fish and Chips shack Fish 4 Africa in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Although a rather small community, there are no shortage of restaurants in Hout Bay, South Africa. Our favorite dining experience was at Dunes – one the top-rated restaurants in Hout Bay. We dined al fresco with friends and feasted on fresh seafood (although lamb and beef are recommended, too!). As a Hout Bay restaurant on the beach, we opted for the balcony seating, which offers stunning views over the sea and Chapman’s Peak.

Top Tip: Looking for things to do in Cape Town with kids? Check out the Clay Cafe Hout Bay! 


Hout Bay Fish and Chips

It wouldn’t be right to visit Hout Bay and not eat Hout Bay Harbour fish and chips for lunch! The local fishing industry is known for quality tuna, snoek and crayfish. The are several Hout Bay seafood restaurants on the harbor – from small take-away shacks selling fresh fish straight from the sea to well-known establishments, like Fish on the Rocks Hout Bay. While there is some debate about who has the best fish and chips in Hout Bay – Fish on the Rocks or Snoekies – we opted for sizzling platters of fried calamari and fresh fish and chips from Fish 4 Africa (a company that is dedicated to sustainable production).


#3 Visit Mariner’s Wharf Hout Bay

Man feeds a seal fresh fish from his teeth in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Mariner’s Wharf is a top-spot for tourists looking for things to do in Hout Bay – as the maritime complex combines seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and fish markets in one place. The Wharfside Grill offers fare (at tourist prices) in a vibrant atmosphere.

If you are fascinated by wharf activity, take a walk around the docks of the Hout Bay Marina. Throughout the day, boat crews are busy unloading fresh fish and a few small fish and chips shacks are open. Seals will undoubtedly be hanging around somewhere, waiting for leftover scraps of fish to be tossed their way.

Street musicians and play, sing and dance for tips in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

We met one man on the wharf who said he has been feeding the same seal for 13 years…he even puts fish between his teeth and hangs over the edge and waits for the seal to jump up and grab it! Street musicians are often around, churning out African rhythms while singing and dancing.


#4 Set Sail on Hout Bay Boat Trips 

Sailboats at Marina in Hout Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

It would be a shame to spend a day by the sea and not set sail on a cruise! There are multiple boat excursions that depart from the harbor, but the most popular is the Hout Bay Seal Island cruise. Seals have taken up home at the nearby Duiker Island – and Hout Bay Seal Island cruises give tourists and up-close view of thousands of Cape Fur seals.

Top Tip: Join a tour of the cape that includes a chance to snorkel with the seals. Find out more!


#5 Swim in the Sea at Hout Bay Beach

Hout Bay Beach in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Taking one of the seal Island boat trips isn’t the only way to spend time at sea – just head to the powder white sands of the Hout Bay Beach and take a dip in the refreshing waters! The crescent-shaped beach is often protected from wind, which makes it a great place to enjoy a fun day in the sun.

Simply enjoying the beach was one of our favorite Hout Bay activities. We preferred to walk on the beach and let the waves lick at our toes rather than get all the way in the water – but we often saw groups of friends and entire families set up blankets in the sand and splashing in the blue sea.

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More Hout Bay Things To Do

Hout Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

Need more ideas of what to do in Hout Bay? Here are a few more tips!


Learn History at Hout Bay Museum

The Hout Bay Museum was established in 1979 and features displays detailing the interesting and lengthy history. Visit their Facebook Page for more information.


Spend an afternoon at World of Birds Hout Bay

World of Birds is one of the kids’ activities in Cape Town that can be enjoyed by adults, too! The bird sanctuary is the largest bird park in Africa and is home to more than 3,000 birds.

Top Tip: You can buy your World of Birds Hout Bay entrance fee ticket in advance on Viator


Chapman’s Peak Drive

Hout Bay marks the northern end of the famous coastal Chapman’s Peak Drive that winds 9km south to Noordhoek. The picturesque coastal road has 114 curves and several incredible viewpoints.

Top Tip: No wheels? No problem! Join a guide ride and ride a trike on the route! More information about the drive can be found on the Official Website.


Imizamo Yethu Township Tour

Imizamo Yethu Township is located adjacent to middle and upper class Hout Bay neighborhoods. The rustic and informal settlement houses about 33,000 people, many of whom live in metal shacks. Tours organized by locals allow visitors a glimpse in how people live in Imizamo Yethu and an opportunity to buy homemade goods and wares.

Top Tip: The Hop On Hop Off Cape Town bus tour makes a stop at the township and offers guided tours – more tour bus info.


Tips For Your Trip to Cape Town, SA

Enjoy the Cape Town, SA Beaches Vacation Itinerary

We have a few additional travel tips and packing hacks for your trip to South Africa.


Getting to Hout Bay, South Africa

Hout Bay is just a 20-minute drive from Cape Town CBD, but visitors who don’t have a car can use the public bus (Route 109) or the City Sightseeing Cape Town Bus Tour.


Where To Stay in Hout Bay, Cape Town

For visitors who want to stay in the village, there are a couple of Hout Bay hotel options – and numerous choices of guest houses and short-term holiday rentals. We stayed in an Airbnb Apartment, which worked great for us, we loved having a small kitchen to cook our meals and our own private balcony overlooking the mountains! 

Some of the top-rated Hout Bay hotels are: Hout Bay Lodge, Chapman’s Peak Hotel and Somersby Guesthouse. You can start your search for accommodations – including Bed and Breakfast in Hout Bay – on


Before You Go to South Africa

  • Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable travel shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your vacation to SA. Rather than relying on your phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for high quality photos. We shoot with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures and a is slim and lightweight budget camera).
  • With long days outdoors discovering the different areas, it helped to carry a day pack so that we have everything we needed with us. Read our reviews on many of the Best Day Packs for Travel!
  • If you haven’t already obtained insurance for your trip to South Africa, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.


Start planning your trip to South Africa! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel advice? Head over to our Travel Planning Page for tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides Page!


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