You can buy alcohol only at bars and restaurants, but for some residents this is part of the charm of the village of Fish Hoek, along with its mountains, long safe beach, and pleasant walks
It was a whaling and fishing village until about 100 years ago, when people began building holiday cottages. By 1940 it was big enough to be declared a municipality and was administered by the town council until 1996. It is now considered a suburb of greater Cape Town and falls under the City Of Cape Town.
Besides being well-known for its beach, Fish Hoek is also famous for being a “dry” suburb – there are no bottle stores, although you can now get alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants.
Resident Robyn Gwilt says: “The fact there is no off-sales liquor outlet in the town is a big attraction, and I hope it stays dry. There are bottle stores in the Kalk Bay and Sun Valley malls.”
Gwilt semigrated from Joburg nearly five years ago, and has not looked back: “I wake each day to amazing sunrises and views of the sea, and join the local ‘A’ Team swimmers/boogie-boarders for a sunrise boogie throughout the year.
“Water temperatures in winter drop from ambient 170C to 180C to a brisk 90C to 100C, and only thunder and lightning deter this feisty group. The morning swim is followed by chit-chat and coffee.
“We’re spoiled for choice with C’est La Vie in Recreation Road, a tiny French bakery, with amazing breads and breakfasts; The Stag Coffee Shop on the next block; and across from Stag, also in Recreation Road, Chalk And Cheese. All these coffee shops are run by locals, serving home-made breakfasts/lunches/cakes/breads and other delicious temptations.”
The best part of Fish Hoek is its community. It’s tight, incredibly supportive and comes together when help is needed, whether it be fighting fires or cleaning up our beautiful beach. As a photographer, although I have a home-based studio, I revel in the landscape and seascape opportunities I’m presented with on a daily basis, literally from sunrise to sunset. This is a special place, and I can honestly think of nowhere else I’d like to live. – Resident Robyn Gwilt Picture: Supplied
Fish Hoek is especially popular with retirees and holidaymakers, although its peaceful atmosphere, good schools and relatively inexpensive real estate also make it attractive to Cape Town buyers with families, say Giselle Donaldson-Cross and Liz Richard, area agents for Chas Everitt International.
For those who need to commute to work in the CBD, the journey only takes about an hour by Metrorail train from the Fish Hoek station, and about 50 minutes by road via Ou Kaapse Weg or Boyes Drive and then the M3, or via Main Road along the coast and then the M5.
The village now spreads up the slopes of the surrounding mountains, with many of the elevated homes here offering spectacular sea views. However, say the agents, there are few hillside stands left for sale now, so these properties can sell for as much as R8million for a five or six-bedroom mansion.
“Prices for three and four-bedroom homes on the lower slopes start at about R3m, and they offer great value compared to similar homes elsewhere in Cape Town,” says Donaldson-Cross.
“In the valley, prices range from just under R1m for a two-bedroom seaside cottage to around R3m for a three- or four-bedroom family home with mountain views, pool and double garage,” says Richard.
Most apartments in Fish Hoek are in the central part of the village, and prices begin from around R675000 for bachelor units, R825000 for one-bedroom units and just under R1m for two-bedroom units.
“There is high demand for rental properties, so apartments here remain an excellent investment,” says Donaldson-Cross.
Robyn Gwilt’s places of interest and things to do
“We have some great restaurant gems,” says Gwilt. “Fish Hoek Fisheries Takeaway (0217822314) on Main Road has people coming from Cape Town’s northern suburbs for the best fish and chips in the country. Also on Main Road, Bhandari’s (0217821525) serves great curry, with Monday night specials; Tian Xiang (021782 9677) serves the best duck wraps and Chinese food, and has a Thursday buffet special; and Barracuda’s (021782 3066) has daily specials of fish, and its own very hot Durban curry.”
“Fish Hoek beach is one of the warmest swimming beaches in the Cape,” says Gwilt. “ We have our own shark exclusion net, and on any day the folk of Fish Hoek are at the beach, walking, swimming, life-saving, paddling, holding weddings, memorials. In whale season, traffic comes to a standstill as locals rush to watch the gentle giants that come into our bay to mate and calve.”
Cycle the Cape (0217827374) hires out quality road bikes and helmets and offers guided cycle tours around Fish Hoek and the Cape Peninsula. It can also create personalised routes, depending on cyclists’ fitness levels and the time they have available. “Being an avid cyclist, both road and mountain trail biking, means I’m spoiled for choice,” says Gwilt. “A ride from Fish Hoek to The Hub in Scarborough and back gives me a good 60km workout on a Sunday, and if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, a ride over our beautiful Chappies to Suikerbossie and back is just as rewarding.”
Walk up Elsie’s Peak to the south of Fish Hoek for fabulous views of False Bay, or go birdwatching along the Silvermine River Wetlands trail. Other popular walks will take you to Boomslang Cave or Peers Cave, which is a heritage site where the remains of the 12000-year-old Fish Hoek Man were discovered, together with stone age tools.
Local sports facilities include the Fish Hoek Bowling Club (0217821612) and the Fish Hoek Sports Grounds (0215561141) – home to a soccer club, athletics club, cricket and hockey club and a baseball team. For keen golfers, the Clovelly Country Club (0217842111) has one of the finest 18-hole courses in Cape Town.