Fish Hoek is a picturesque town situated about halfway down the Cape Peninsula, between Cape Town and Simonstown.
Fish Hoek is renowned for its friendly hospitality, proximity to all sorts of tourist attractions and activities besides boasting one of the best swimming beaches in the Cape.There is also a good suburban railway link with Cape Town. As a coastal suburb of Cape Town, Fish Hoek is popular as a residence for commuters and holidaymakers alike. The traditional industries of 'trek' fishing and angling coexist with the leisure pursuits of surfing, sailing and sunbathing
Ever since 1901, when Hester de Villiers opened her home to guest accommodation, Fish Hoek has remained, with its situation and views, a beacon of extra-ordinary accommodation. A Whale of a Time continues the tradition, offering superior self-catering and bed and breakfast accommodation.
The History of Fish Hoek:
Fish Hoek or Vissers Baay or Visch Hoek appears on the earliest maps of the Cape. The arrival of European settlers in 1652 forced the indigenous population to leave the area, and during the 1700s farmers appeared in the Noorhoek area. Fish Hoek beach was used on an informal basis for whaling and fishing, but it was not untill 1918 that it was laid out as a township.
The original Fish Hoek farm:
The first grant of Crown Land in Fish Hoek was granted to Andreas Bruins in 1818. The land was sold several times before being bought by Hester Sophia de Kock in 1883. She was then a spinster of 51 years old. In 1901, late in life, she married a local farmer, one Jacob Isaac de Villiers who came to live with her on the farm.
Although she farmed wheat and vegetables she started providing accommodation for people who wanted to stay in Fish Hoek, and so became the first local tourist entrepreneur. Fish Hoek has remained, with its situation and views, a beacon of extra-ordinary accommodation ever since. Having realised that Fish Hoek was becoming popular she left instructions in her will that the farm was to be surveyed and the land sold as building plots, after the deaths of Hester and Jacob, the land was sold off, the first sale taking place in 1918.
This was the beginning of the town of Fish Hoek. Initially people built holiday cottages but as there was a good train service to Cape Town a more permenant community soon arose. By 1940 it was big enough to be declared a municipality and was administered by the Town Council until 1994. It is now part of the City of Cape Town.
Hester and Issac de Villiers, with other members of their family are buried in the small graveyard next to the NG Kerk (Dutch Reformed Curch) in Kommetjie Road.
The farmhouse on the site of the present Homestead Naval Mess near the railway crossing became an hotel. The original building subsequently burned down in 1947.
Jager Walk / Catwalk - Fish HoekJager Walk:
Named after the first mayor of Fish Hoek is also known as the Catwalk, and forms a magnificent promenade between the sea-moulded rocks. This strip of rocky coastline has always been endlessly fascinating to children, divers and fisherman.
Whaling in Fish Hoek:
Open boat whaling took place in Fish Hoek from 1817 to 1868 where Southern Right and Humpback whales were targeted. The whalers would attack female whales who had arrived to calve, and their newborn. Eventually all the whaling operations were closed down, and nowadays the whales know that it is safe return, and come to False Bay to calve. Whales can be seen from about August to the end of November, however sometimes they arrive as early as June.
In the early days of European settlement False Bay was teeming with fish. Trek fishing has taken place ever since. Harders and yellowtail are the fish most frequently caught but nowadays in greatly reduced numberes. "Trek" is dutch for pull and refers to the pulling in of the net.
"Dry" Fish Hoek:
It is well known that there have been no liquor stores established in Fish Hoek BeachFish Hoek, due to a Deed of Grant, in which was written a clause of condition that there should be no wine house on the property, when the land was grante to Andreas Bruins.
The 1818 grant of land stated that there should be no public winehouse, and this was carried over to the new town. The residents of Fish Hoek were determined to keep bottle stores out of the town. In 1956, after having opposed many license applications they formed an association called The Defenders of Fish Hoek. They succeded in getting the Liquor Act amended so that no further applications would be allowed. Under our new Constitution the Act fell away and after consultation with the local Magistrate residents voted for restaurant and bar licenses only.
This old law was introduced at the time when wagon deliveries to Simon’s Town were common and it served to prevent the drivers from stopping off for a drink (or two or three) and arriving in an intoxicated state in Simon’s Town.
The original barn of the Fish Hoek Farm now called Mountain View can be seen in Cottage Lane. It has been converted into two cottages and is not open to the public.
Bertie PeersIn 1926/7 Victor Peers and his son, Bertram excavated the cave now known as Schildersgat, which later became known as Peers Cave. They found many stone tools and the remains of nine people, one of whom became famous as Fish Hoek Man. The skull has the largest brain area of any skull of its age found up until that time, and has been dated at 12,000 years old.
In January 1941 Peers Cave was declared a National Monument
Peers Cave is a short climb up the dunes above 19th Avenue, and affords beautiful views across the Peninsula to both oceans from across the valley and, a peep intro stone-age history.
Fish Hoek Valley
Shopping and dining
Fish Hoek valley boasts three principle shopping nodes, namely, Longbeach Mall and Sunvalley mall in the west, the Fish Hoek Shopping District in the east, adjacent to the beach, and Valyland which lies between the two. There is an excellent selection of dining opportunities available within the Valley, Tea & Coffee shops, restaurants, snack bars, and take-away's provide a wide variety of choice which should satisfy everyones tastes.
Sport, Adventure and recreation
The Fish Hoek valley boasts a diverse array of societies, associations and sports clubs including the prestigeious Clovelly Country Club which offers golf, tennis and bowls. Hobie Cat rides and kayaking facilities are available on the beach. "Surfer's Corner" offers right hand breaks for surfers.
Ecotourism and Nature
Aside from the world class beach, Fish Hoek has excellent walks and is rich in fynbos flora. The walk to the top of Elsies peak to gain an unparalleled view of False Bay is highly recommended. Moonrise and sunrise on Fish Hoek beach is simply breathtaking. The perimeter of the bay offers excellent land-based whale watching opportunities, particularly in September and October, when whale sightings peak. To see these majestic, gentle creatures of the ocean form just a few meters away is truly awesome. One cannot help but be touched by the grace and playful nature of these leviathans. The Silvermine River Wetlands is the home of the endangered Leapard Toad which emerges annually in August to breed. This is also an excellent destination for Bird Watching, within excess of fifty species having been already spotted.
Health and Wellness
The valley is positioning itself as a world class healing destination offering a wide range of health and wellness facilities form the gentle relaxing waters of the Ocean to well appointed Gymnasiums and Spas with excellent accommodation and retreats with services ranging from acupuncture to yoga. Fish Hoek is the perfect place to relax, unwind and let the cares of modern living just slip away.