A mere twenty minutes from Cape Town’s city centre and a ten-minute drive from The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa lies the coastal paradise, Hout Bay. Named by Dutch explorers in honour of its beautiful forests (hout is the Afrikaans translation for ‘wood’), Hout Bay boasts a unique blend of seaside bliss and woodland escapism. This combination of terrain makes it an ideal location for an array of activities; from trail routes to kayaking, and artisan markets to freshly caught fish, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether visiting as a couple or a family with children, discover our guide to the perfect day in Hout Bay.

Hout Bay Beach

Any visit to Hout Bay would be incomplete without a visit to Hout Bay Beach. Tucked away in a crescent bay, this sandy alcove boasts sensational sea views that stretch far across the Atlantic’s horizon. Whilst its more gentle waves mean that it is not ideal for surfing, Hout Bay Beach is a haven for soaking up the South African sun and swimming in the nearby shore. The golden sands that wrap around the bay also create the optimum setting for beach sports such as volleyball, football, or frisbee.

View of Hout Bay in Cape Town

After a day spent immersed in the sunny coastline, the wealth of restaurants and bars that surround the beach offer revitalising relief from the heat. Poised on the corner of the crescent, Dune’s Beach Restaurant & Bar is often frequented by locals and visitors for a meal enjoyed against the setting sun. Alternatively, The Lookout offers a similarly breathtaking dining experience with views of Chapman's Peak and the Hout Bay coastline which compliment a menu of exquisite, freshly caught seafood.

Hout Bay Harbour Market

Established within a converted fish factory just footsteps away from the harbour is a market bustling with local traders and a passion for authentic South African goods. Often described as a microcosm of Cape Town itself, Hout Bay Harbour Market is the perfect haven of creativity. As you weave through the stalls, soak up the enlivening ambience of local artisans’ bartering with visitors and the kaleidoscopic sea of art, crafts, and jewellery. To conclude your Cape exploration, peruse the food stalls at the market’s end which fill the air with the sweet aromas of South African cooking, including freshly baked breads, spicy seafood, and citrus fruits.

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Family activities

Be amazed at Seal Island

Seal Island in Cape Town

Duiker Island, affectionately (and appropriately) nicknamed Seal Island, is a magical location truly unique to Cape Town. A short boat journey away, your entire family can enjoy the exciting frolicking of Cape fur seals as you journey for around forty minutes across the Atlantic Ocean. Approach the island and let your excitement peak with the sight of thousands of seals that make their home here on the rocks. With a total of 64,000 resident seals and the prospect of spotting a lingering shark, Duiker Island is a truly unmissable and memorable attraction.

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World of Birds

Tropical bird in trees

As well as being the largest bird park in Africa, World of Birds is a wildlife sanctuary and monkey park with over 100 walkthrough aviaries and more than 3000 birds. The vast variety of bird species and small animals, combined with an interactive walkthrough setting, allows your little ones the chance to explore nature in the closest capacity. Witness a spectacle of azure, crimson, and vivacious yellow dance in the canopies above or search for hidden animals in the foliage around you; whichever you choose, there is no better setting to let your imaginations run wild.

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Outdoor adventures


With gorgeous sea views and gentle ocean waves, Hout Bay Beach is an excellent location for kayaking; and the wealth of organisations and specially curated routes to choose from means that you can enjoy your kayak experience stress-free. As you paddle along the ocean’s surface or explore the famous ‘green room’ underneath the harbour wall, discover the bay by water whilst basking in the refreshing sea breeze and radiating sunshine.

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Trail runs, hiking, and cycling

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town

Whether you intend to walk, run, or cycle, the majesty of Hout Bay’s surrounding terrain makes it a truly unique location for a host of outdoor adventures. There are approximately 54 routes in total, carefully mapped out and awaiting your exploration. Table Mountain National Park sits just adjacent to the bay, affording exquisite views out over the ocean, whilst the surrounding woodlands boast an array of scenic trails with some exceptional vantage points at the trails’ ends. For those wishing to cycle, the roads that lead to the table’s summit pose a challenging but exceptional route.

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