Monday, March 27, 2017

Tourists for a day in our own town - a bus ride to Hout Bay

We decided to take the bus to Hout Bay and behave like tourists this week. We love the MyCiti bus, it has transformed getting round Cape Town and the routes are growing daily. We topped up our cards (you need to buy them beforehand and they are available at various venues in your neighbourhood. Check out the website. We met our friends at a Sea Point bus stop at 10h55. Sadly, the timetable information Lynne was given on the phone by Enquiries was wrong and we missed the first bus by five minutes, but there was another along in 20 minutes. You can check the timetables online too, but we don't find them very user friendly. You can deposit money onto the MyCiti card and use it if you need cash. You can't board the bus without it. They don't take cash
There are two Hout Bay buses, the 109 goes to the Harbour side, the 108 to the Chapman's Peak end. We took the 108, direction Hangberg, to the harbour
It is a lovely trip along the coast road and takes about half an hour. Here we are passing through Camps Bay, also worth a stop
Looking lovely on a weekday morning
Time to chat and enjoy the scenery
Past the tourist spots and the curio vendors on Victoria Road, just beyond Bakoven
We arrive and Lynne points out some of the sights
Mariners Wharf
This has a small collection of shops and restaurants
The creamy white sandy beach stretched before us
A street trader with remarkable bead work
Dunes, a pub restaurant on the beach across the bay, is one of our favourite haunts
Paddle surfing, a fairly new and now very popular sport
The colourful fishing fleet in the harbour
We explored the Pearl shop and bought some presents to take home
Watching the gulls
John remarked: "Well, he is not going to get another ship..."
Hout Bay declared itself a Republic several years ago. It's a rather fun tourist initiative
Inside Mariners Wharf fish shop with a selection of fish under plastic. We were distressed to see that they sell live crayfish, which are now so endangered that they are on the SASSI red list and we are all being asked NOT to buy them. They have a sign prohibiting photography. Perhaps this is why
Salted dried snoek, a local fish
Although feeding the seals in the harbour by hand is not allowed, the tourists love it, so it continues
The seals are tame and beguiling, "Kiss me dammit!"
But they can be very dangerous
Fish head stew anyone?
A huge catch of hake had just been landed at the public fisheries. This is where to buy fish in the harbour, fresh and filleted to your specification. Most of this will end up in the local fish and chip shops today
These ladies are very skilled and have years of experience
The NSRI building; it housess the lifeboats and the Atlantic Boat Club. Above it is Hangberg, which means "hanging on the mountain". It's a local township, where locals (many involved in the fishing industry) have lived for a long time
Gulls waiting for fish scraps
Up on the Hangberg, a luxury home that must have been very threatened by the recent mountain fire which came very close to it
We now begin our walk along the beach, intending to go for a draught beer at Dunes. Sadly, it was so close to lunch time that we passed and moved to our lunch destination. Next time.
It was a beautiful hot day and the hot air and cold sea made lots of mist that came into the bay.
It's a dog's paradise
A fishing boat heading out of harbour
Into the mist
This is where we were heading for lunch, the Chapman's Peak Hotel on the other side of the bay
The sea mist creeps up the warm mountainside where it drops welcome moisture
The view behind us, where we had just left. You can see how bad was the fire on the mountain earlier in the year
The tourist cruise boat Nauticat coming in to harbour after a trip to Seal Island. John was involved with sponsoring it in the 90s
We disturbed these gulls on our walk. Young, just fledged kelp gulls, losing their baby plumage and learning the skills of flying
Lovely to watch
The Leopard on the rock at Flora Bay. This sculpture has been on the rock since March 1963, a gift from Ivan Mitford Barberton (a local sculptor). The bronze leopard is in memory of the last leopard sighted in the area in 1930 and a reminder of the wild life that used to roam these mountains
A family enjoying the beach. The sea is a marvellous colour, a range of blues
We arrived at the newly painted Chapman's Peak Hotel at 1, just in time for lunch
A table with a view of the Sentinel mountain
It is very popular with locals and with tourists. They don't take bookings, so come early at the weekend if you want a table
The menu
A bottle of Adi Badenhorst's Secateurs Chenin blanc 2016, served by a lovely lady named Temperance
We ordered one serving to share of one of the specialities of the hotel, Peri Peri chicken livers, which we wanted our friends to taste; we converted them. These tender, hot and spicy livers with a Portuguese slant, are superb
Three of us had the succulent calamari, so well cooked, which comes in a light crisp batter, with lemon, and a side portion of golden crisp chips. One of the best places to eat calamari in Cape Town, as well as other seafood and fresh fish. It is a large portion. You can also have it as a starter
John went big with the combo of Steak in a red wine garlic and chilli sauce with calamari
Dessert was not manageable, but a local speciality, a Kahlua Dom Pedro (Kahlua liqueur blitzed with vanilla ice cream) was enjoyed by Peter. It's a uniquely South African experience and you can vary the alcohol
We had good double espressos
 The bill
The sea mist envelopes the Sentinel as we set off to catch the bus home
Chapman's Peak Hotel
The hotel has a deli and wine shop nearly next door
The bus terminus for the 109 back to town
You pass Kronendal, a National Monument in Hout Bay, which houses a very good Thai restaurant, Kitima
and Imizamo Yethu, the huge Hout Bay township which, tragically, had a devastating fire the previous weekend that displaced over 15 000 people, who lost their shack homes. Tragically, three people died. The people of Cape Town came to the rescue with huge aid to help with the loss of all their possessions. Food was provided, and a place to sleep. The City Council is now helping to re-block and rebuild the township so that fire engines and other emergency vehicles can get through in future. The shacks are normally built too closely together
Llandudno beach is another to visit, but go by car. The bus only stops at the top! Take a picnic; there are no shops or restaurants, it is purely residential
A popular view of our glorious Cape Town coastline. It was a lovely day out

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