Seagulls squawk overhead and the salty tang of an ocean breeze tints the air. Gareth and I are sitting at a seafood shop at the harbour in Hout Bay, one of the many small towns that dot the Cape Peninsula just outside of Cape Town. This is surely one of the most picturesque of them and just sitting here makes us feel like we’re the stars of a dolce vita ad.
We watch as dogs play in the gentle surf of the secluded beach, tongues lolling in pure enjoyment as they rush into the water, sprint out again and shake themselves dry with reckless abandon, careless of anyone drenched by the spray of water.
Colourful boats bob up and down in the harbour. We take a stroll along the docks for a closer look, imagining what life must be like owning a boat, being able to travel from port to port, wherever the wind may take you. We watch as fishermen unload the morning’s haul, careful to stay upwind of the fishy smell as much as possible.
A group of locals are selling bits of fish to tourists. The tell-tale splash near the rocks along the wall soon explains why. A seal has come for its morning meal, and although we disapprove of people feeding wild animals, we can’t help but watch in fascination as its slick, black body dives in and out of the water. Seagulls try their luck too, but most of the fish end up in the animal’s body. It gives a few short barks before returning to deeper waters.
We linger along the shoreline for a while, soaking up the natural beauty and the laid-back atmosphere of this little town, so close to the bustling city, and yet seemingly a world away. Come the weekend, the streets will be packed with city-slickers escaping to the small towns, but for now, we have this little slice of seaside paradise almost to ourselves.
Have you explored the villages around the Cape Peninsula? Which little town is your favourite and why?
For more posts in the Western Cape Whirlwind 2015 series, click here.