When we moved to Hout Bay from the Cape Town City Bowl, I kept waiting to miss our old ‘hood. I had loved living in town so much – the vibe, the constant stream of things to do, the feeling of being in the heart of Cape Town with a lovely view of Table Mountain. But then we moved to Hout Bay, and a year and a half later, I’m still waiting for the day I wake up and wish we lived in town again.
The truth is, I love living in Hout Bay. It is absolutely home to me – to us. This morning I dropped Arty at playschool (a 2 min drive from home) and went for a walk on the beach before work. It was cold and crisp – the first real Autumn morning – and the sun slanted over the mountains and lit up the waves. There are mountain views on all sides, and a wide expanse of sea, and I saw a ship chugging out to start its day, surrounded by flocks of seagulls; a man SUPping in the first rays of the day’s warmth; a legion of people walking their dogs and a sole horse rider trotting along the shore.
It is so, so beautiful here. Never mind the fact that we can afford a house with a garden that has mountain views every way you look and is a 5 minute walk from the beach – even grocery shopping is beautiful, with these amazing views and the scent of the sea as you step out of the shops.
And I love that everything is so close. The shops, the library, the beach, the garden centre – because we’re cut off from the rest of Cape Town, there’s one of everything (except the movies, sob!) here. Which means there’s a real sense of community: you see the same people moving around their business every day, and we’re all in this together.
The two things that worried me most about living in Hout Bay were the commute and the crime, and I feel like we have a handle on both of them now. The commute is just a matter of adjusting timing – everything takes 20 to 30 minutes, but the drive is a joy, either way. The coastal road is filled with tourists taking photos because it’s so beautiful, and the forested drive up Constantia Nek is similarly lovely and peaceful. The crime took us a little longer to master because we had to grow up and realise that we didn’t live in a flat anymore… but now that we have an electric fence and beams in our garden and a proper alarm system, we don’t have to think about it anymore – it’s a daily reality. And at least there isn’t all the petty crime of town, that used to drive me nuts!
Really, all this is is a little love letter to Hout Bay: the place that I call home. I am so grateful to live here!