While is hard to fathom from their awkward land based shuffling, seals when underwater are majestic and poetic. They slide and glide like ballet dancers as they twist and turn with ease and poise in their aquatic domain. Sea snorkelling with Animal Ocean gives you privileged access to the Cape Fur seals underwater home off Duiker Island in Hout Bay. Duiker Island is home to over 5 000 seals and lies within the Karbonkelberg marine protected area, so the seals here interact naturally in their own environment.
The tour takes two and a half hours and you can expect to spend an hour in the water scouting the seals natural habitat. As this is the cold water of the West Coast, it’s a shark free zone, so you can explore with confidence. Seals are naturally inquisitive, so don’t be surprised if they swim over and check you out, they also naturally playful so they may also just as fast shoot off to catch the next wave. Yes, surfing seals are a real thing. You have to be over 10 and be a confident swimmer to snorkel.
The Hout Bay Manor, a well positioned treasure, beautifully tucked away between the Mountains and Constantia Nek is offering a magical day featuring an exquisite three-course Christmas lunch. Enjoy the tree-lined mystical feel of the drive offering amazing views just a mere 25 minute drive from Cape Town central, This in itself is worth the experience before you have even reached your delectable Christmas feast.
Upon arrival you can expect to be warmly welcomed with a merry complimentary drink, before being seated at your beautifully decorated festive table. Survey the starters on offer which include the choice between three delicious variations. From a well prepared panko crumbed Fish Cake infused with fresh peas and dill, accompanied with horseradish crème fraiche, fried capers, micro herbs and lemon wedges.
Alternatively, there are two other starters to choose from. An amazing vegetarian delicacy featuring sweet potato rounds, lavishly topped with humus and finely sliced spring onion, feta, dried cranberries and topped with roasted pine-nuts, finished with crisp micro-herb and olive oil. Your second choice is a crispy phyllo parcel generous filled with roasted figs, fresh thyme, goats cheese, prosciutto and finished with the restaurants own famed balsamic glaze and micro-herbs
The luxurious and intricate mains present a choice of: Bacon wrapped pork loin with cranberries served with apple cider roasted root vegetables and silky, smooth mashed potatoes.
Lamb shank rubbed with Gremolata, slow roasted and served with apple cider, roasted root vegetables and perfectly prepared mash.
Phyllo pastry nut and roast veg tart with ricotta, thyme & sage.
Hard choices, but you can't go wrong with whatever you choose as everything has been prepared with the highest standards to entice your taste buds.
Let's get to the important bit, dessert!
Christmas lunch is never complete without the traditional sweet treats that follow!
A roasted roasted pineapple and ginger pavlova finished with granadilla pulp. Or
The drunken Christmas pudding served with ice-cream and custard OR
Hout Bay Manor’s famous Christmas Trifle. Take your pick, either way the experience will leave you feeling spoilt and satisfied!
Further along the coast, between Llandudno and Hout Bay you’ll find a beautiful and semi-antique location at the head of the Valley that leads down to Hout Bay Harbour, the Sentinel and Chapmans Peak.
Their Sunday buffet really kicks it up a notch, the starters include a selection of Meze’s, soup, pate (snoek, peppadew and chicken). The mains are beef fillet, gammon, honey-mustard pork belly and slow roasted chicken, fall off the bone tasty goodness.
Top it off with ice-cream, meringue, eclairs and mini pavlova’s.
Some say that the Lookout Deck has the best sea view in the Western Cape, we highly recommend you go and have a look for yourself, because it truly is awesome.
This is not fine dining, but it is good, wholesome and fresh, served up in a big outdoor vibe under umbrellas with lots of beer on tap.
The menu covers everything from freshly caught line fish brought in daily by the local fishermen, to live Cape Rock Lobster, succulent LM prawns, plump and juicy Black Tiger prawns, fresh steamed black mussels, legendary tender calamari steaks and seared Yellow fin tuna steaks.
They also offer oysters and sushi complemented by their bubbly and sake.
A weekly event that has meteorically risen in popularity is the Bay Harbour Market. Housed in a once abandoned factory at the harbours edge in Hout Bay, over 100 entrepreneurs, foodies and creatives display their goods at a market that draws over 24,000 people a month. The Saturday and Sunday market is open from 9.30 am to 4 pm, and the strict vendor criteria ensure that every stall brings something unique to the trestle table. Exciting foods explore over 26 different culinary styles and antiques, linens, leathers and fashion. There are ample activities for all ages and many little treasures to be uncovered. Seeing as this forms part of the coastal drive which goes from Cape Town, past kilometers of white sand beaches and all the way to Cape Point, it is a “must-include” on your sightseeing itinerary.
Hout Bay (also called “The Republic of Hout Bay” by its’ residents on account of the fact that there are only three access roads) is a beautiful coastal town with a long history. Within the Hout Bay valley you will find country living, a fishing village and an informal settlement. All three of these locations within a location add their own measure of local flavour. For the best fish and chips in the cape, you must pop by Fish on the Rocks, a very casual chip shop that’s been around for decades. Also a Hout Bay icon is Dunes restaurant, with it’s amazing play area for kids, spectacular views and brilliant seafood & cocktail specials. Various markets adorn the wharfs and quays of the working harbour on weekends, with the full bouquet of sea-related activities available to you, from sea-kayaking to shark-cage diving to tours to Seal Island. Hout Bay has long been seen as a kind of retreat from the hectic nature of city life, and the locals make sure that it stays that way.