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Hout Bay - A paradise for sea lions... And for boaters!

Located in the northwest of the Cape Peninsula, Hout Bay is one of the few all-weather stops in South Africa. The shelter is also a natural jewel able to seduce visitors from all over the world - and of course many boaters, including myself!
The picturesque bay is surrounded by majestic mountains and offers breathtaking scenery that is a true reflection of the natural splendor of this region. When you arrive in Hout Bay by multihull, the surprise and delight are immediate as the environment is so seductive. However, beware of sudden and powerful gusts of wind. You need to be very careful when arriving in Hout Bay. In theory, if you have just rounded the Cape of Good Hope, you should already be in the right frame of mind...
The waters are calmer after crossing the dreaded cape from east to west (the most common route). The sea reflects crystalline blue and green shades, colors that blend harmoniously with the colorful fishing boats that line the port. Further south, the majestic mountains of Chapman’s Peak, which form a natural barrier, protect the water. The bay is teeming with marine life, and it is a haven for Cape fur seals and many species of cetaceans.


Hout Bay is located on the Atlantic coast of South Africa, about 12 nm south of Cape Town. The Yacht Club is located on the northern shore of the bay and is integrated into the city’s marina between the fishing trawlers and the fish market. South Africa offers very few anchorages, so you have to go to marinas, but of course we’re always on the lookout for reasonable rates. As an example, a 46-foor (14-meter) catamaran will pay $250 per month including water and electricity in Hout Bay marina (2022 prices).

Things to do / see

The possibilities for activities are endless or almost endless in the area around Hout Bay. The town is famous for its fresh seafood and fish dishes. By being in the marina, you will be in the heart of the city. So you can enjoy fresh oysters, shrimp and grilled fish in one of the many restaurants lining the harbor, where sea lions eagerly await the leftover fish thrown into the water. Surfing is also a popular occupation, especially at Llandudno Beach, a couple of miles to the north. Personally, I surfed just once and that was enough for me because the water is not warm!
Leaving the harbor, you can head for Sea Lion Island which is only 2 miles away. You can get there with a dinghy and a good motor (15 hp should do the trick). You can spend the day there on a small quiet beach. For hiking enthusiasts, the Chapman’s Peak trail offers panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding mountains.
This lively town left me with fond memories, and I would gladly return to share - among other things - a braai (South Africa’s barbecue) and enjoy the undeniable hospitality of the South Africans.

Weather Check

Hout Bay is prone to strong winds and rough sea conditions, especially during the southern winter (June through August), when storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean are more frequent. The winds blow mainly from the west and southwest, with often very strong gusts coming from the mountains, the so-called katabatic winds. I myself have experienced over 60 knots of wind at the Hout Bay Yacht Club in the marina.
However, during the summer months (December through February), the winds are calmer. The weather in this area can vary considerably from day to day and season to season. Average temperatures range from 54°F (12°C) in winter to 73°F (23°C) in summer. Precipitation is more frequent in winter, with an average of 3 to 4 inches (80-100 mm) of rain per month, while the summer months are generally drier.

Trawlers in the port of Hout Bay, where both fishermen and boaters gather.
Trawlers in the port of Hout Bay, where both fishermen and boaters gather.
Hout Bay in its magnificent setting...
Hout Bay in its magnificent setting...
Sea Lion Island, only 2 miles from the port,  is within reach of a good dinghy.
Sea Lion Island, only 2 miles from the port, is within reach of a good dinghy.

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