Things To Do in Hout BaySelf Drive Cape Town to Hout Bay
Where? Route: Cape Town, Kloof Nek, Signal Hill, Mostert's Mill, Kirstenbosch, Groot Constantia, Silvermine, Hout Bay
When? Best during daylight hours.
How much? Free
Route: Cape Town, Kloof Nek, Signal Hill, Mostert's Mill, Kirstenbosch, Groot Constantia, Silvermine, Hout Bay
Description: A short drive with much en route to savour; a drive rich in ancient oaks, history and vineyards, drive all the way to the fishing boats of Hout Bay's harbour
Length: 80 km
Time: easily in a day
Overnight: City Bowl, Constantia, Hout Bay
Cape Town to Kirstenbosch
Capetonians travel via the lowest dip between Table Mountain and Lion's Head to get across the mountain. Known as Kloof Nek this road links the city centre to Camps Bay. Reach Kloof Nek, from the City Bowl, by heading to the top of Adderley Street, before taking a right into Wale Street. The sixth left turn, into Buitengracht, becomes Kloof Nek Road.
Follow Kloof Nek up the hill, taking the exit for Signal Hill along the 'lion's back'.
The hill was used as a signal station during the earliest days of the Cape. On your way to the top you pass the domed kramat (tomb) of Mohamed Gasan Gaibie Shah. This is one of several Muslim shrines around Cape Town.
Backtrack to Adderley Street all the way towards the foreshore, where you take the N2 toward the airport.
As you reach the notorious 'hospital bend' (Groote Schuur on your left), get into one of the two right hand lanes, and take the M3 towards Muizenberg. As you reach the first exit to your left look out for Mostert's Mill, the oldest surviving, only complete and still working, windmill in South Africa.
Mostert's Mill forms part of Cecil John Rhodes' bequest to the nation. The mill became a national monument in 1940, whilst parts of the farm are used by UCT's residences and administrative buildings.
Continue with the M3, which passes along the edge of Newlands Forest. Kirstenbosch is signposted to your right at the set of traffic lights. This is a particularly pretty portion of the drive along the tree-clad Rhodes Avenue. Kirstenbosch is just short of 2 km later, the entrance on your left.
The Botanical Gardens, another bequest by Cecil John Rhodes, spread up the slopes of Table Mountain all the way to Maclear's Beacon. Find the remains of Jan van Riebeeck's wild almond hedge that he placed around the Dutch settlement at the Cape in a bid to ward off cattle raids, Lady Anne Barnard's bath, incredible gardens, and many walks.
Kirstenbosch to Silvermine
Turn right into Rhodes Avenue as you leave Kirstenbosch. At the first t-junction, take a right. Wind up the mountain to Constantia Nek. At the top is a traffic circle. Take the first left turn into Constantia Main Road (not the turn to Hout Bay, this is for later).
Roughly 3 km later look out for a right turn into Groot Constantia estate, at the High Constantia Centre.
Simon van der Stel chose this site as his private farm when he was governor of the Cape. He was the first to plant vines in the valley. However, the manor house that is a museum and national monument, is not what stood here during his era. This Cape Dutch style house and wine cellar date back to the 18th century and were built by Louis Thibault for Hendrik Cloete, who bought the farm in 1778. Wine produced on the farm was already famous by the late 18th century. Take a tour of the estate, or picnic under the oaks (pre-order a picnic basket from Jonkershuis).
On leaving the estate, turn right into Constantia Main Road. Pass the stone church, on the corner of Parish and Main Road Constantia and shortly afterwards, Constantia Village shopping centre. At the very next lights take a right into Ladies Mile Road extension, passing the shopping centre again on your right. At the second set of lights, take a right into Spaanschemat River Road.
This beautiful drive takes you past Peddler's on the Bend, Strawberry Lane (worth a detour), and the Constantia Waldorf School. It continues for almost 7 km before you take a right onto Ou Kaapse Weg, up over the Steenberg Mountain.
Just after the road veers right is the entrance to the eastern section of Silvermine Nature Reserve, a very popular reserve for weekend picnics, mountain biking and hikes.
Silvermine extends from the periphery of Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay in the east all the way to Noordhoek Peak in the west. The views from the top extend over the Cape Flats, False Bay, Chapman's Bay, Hout Bay and the Sentinel, depending on where you climb in the reserve.
Silvermine to Hout Bay
Retrace your route to Constantia Nek, where you drive straight over the traffic circle towards Hout Bay.
Turn right into Victoria Road, past La Cuccina on your left, until you reach the junction. Right will take you up Suikerbossie Hill and over to Llandudno (you will do this on your return). Take a left into Victoria Avenue. At the traffic circle down at the beach take a left into Harbour Road.
The locals go to one of two places for fish and chips. Either Mariner's Wharf Fish Market on the pier (walk along the pier to see the fishing boats and the seals; they comes right into the harbour and often sit on the quayside.
Or, continue along Hout Bay Harbour Road all the way to the end of the harbour toe Fish on the Rocks.
From the harbour, retrace your route and head up Suikerbossie hill or Mount Rhodes, past Llundudno, through Oudekraal Nature Reserve, to Camps Bay. This beautiful drive is one of Cape Town's finest, taking you beneath the Twelve Apostles and offering some incredible views.
When you enter Bakoven (just before Camps Bay), take a right into Houghton Road, which ends in a t-junction with Camps Bay Drive, into which you take a right. This takes you back over Kloof Nek and into Cape Town.