Tag Archives: fishing boats

Music, Fish, and Chips at the Vis Vlekhuis in Laaiplek (2018-03-31) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 JUN 2018

Chantelle, the girls and I joined her folks for a weekend up the West Coast back in March of this year, spending much of our time relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere of Jacobsbaai. Monty however very much wanted to show off a local fish and chips stop that they had only recently discovered, which explains then why we found ourselves winding through the small town of Velddrif and ending up in the even smaller town of Laaiplek on a rather warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now we weren’t visiting the historically significant port of Laaiplek (so named because it was the loading area for ships from Europe from where goods were then transported into the hinterland) or its adjacent sister Velddrif for their famed bokkoms or view over the Berg River, instead we were on a mission and heading straight to Die Vis Vlekhuis, a popular bar and fish and chips takeaways situated just off the main harbour of the area.

And I’m not joking about its popularity mind you. The venue was packed both inside and out (shame, their neighbours could truthfully have done with some of Vis Vlekhuis’ patrons), and the queue for food was quite the sight. (In other words, the wait time for fish and chips was a bit on the lengthy side).

Nevertheless, we got lucky in that Monty managed to secure an outdoor table, allowing us to then grab some beers, let the girls entertain themselves by colouring in (they brought their own supplies), and enjoy the live music courtesy of the rather talented and very entertaining Jay Jay who was belting out all the hits from next door in the bar area.

The food did of course eventually arrive, and I have to say, the fish and chips were well worth the wait. Generous portions, good flavour – nothing to complain about at all! Hungers were sated, seagulls were fed, and a lazy walk to look at the boats was taken.

(Oh, and a rather pleasant drive down through Bokkom Avenue along the river completed the trip.)

So, all in all a successful first visit to this small but charming in its West Coast way place then.

Extra Credit: The team behind the Afrikaans travel magazine Weg put together this short video about fish, pelicans, bakkies and bokkoms in Velddrif. Obviously you’ll need to know some Afrikaans to follow what’s going on, though that said, even if you do have a decent understanding, that distinctive West Coast accent isn’t going to make things any easier for you to follow…

In all honesty, now that I think about it, I don’t believe that I have ever tasted bokkoms. Guess I’ll have to rectify that come our next visit up the West Coast then!

Related Link: Die Vis Vlekhuis | Laaiplek | Velddrif

Seals, Cannons and Fishing Boats at Hout Bay Harbour (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 APR 2018

Visiting Hout Bay with the girls invariably means one of two things – either we’ll be checking out the bird life of World of Birds, or we’ll be strolling along the old harbour watching all the fishing boats dart in and out, and as you may have surmised base on the photos probably still loading below, this time around it was most definitely for the latter.

Hout Bay is of course a lovely place to visit (though not so much at the moment thanks to all the ongoing unrest and tension following the last major fire that ravaged the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement), with its lush leafy green farmland vibe giving way to the small beach and buzzing harbour district as you head down the mountain – no wonder then that this place is as popular as what it is with both tourists and locals alike!

We actually started our little harbour walkabout with a stop first at the West Fort (or Karbonkelberg) site, where it was rather nice to see that the long neglected antique cannons have finally undergone some much needed, loving renovations. Surprisingly enough though, despite the site’s status as a National Monument, there really is nothing there other than the cannons themselves. A bit of signage would certainly not be amiss!

Next to the cannons, the ever popular “Fish on the Rocks” restaurant was alive and kicking as always, though it was the two busking, colourfully dressed minstrels that stole Jessica and Emily’s attention, with the two of them soon foot tapping and twirling along with the quintessential Capetonian sound/tunes.

Eventually I managed to drag the two of them away, getting our visit to Hout Bay’s working harbour back on track – basically meaning that we gently strolled along the pier, counted coloured boats, and got to watch the Emerald Isle steel-hulled trawler make a surprisingly quick and graceful exit out of the bay. (Truthfully, I rather enjoyed that last part).

Boats aside though, the seals dotted all around were by far the highlight of the walkabout for the girls, while for me it was the neatly dressed skipper with a roll of barbed wire in his hand who took to chatting with us about his restoration of the old SAS Oosterland, a decommissioned SA Naval Ford Class vessel that was built in 1959 for the navy and which then eventually fell into private hands come 1990.

An interesting find indeed.

I am of course joking when I say that a visit to Hout Bay means either the harbour OR the World of Birds though – of course we did World of Birds as well on the day – there is absolutely no way that Jessica would EVER let the opportunity of interacting with squirrel monkeys slip her by! ;)

(In actual fact, this was one of those jam packed outing kind of days – we had already started the morning off with a visit to both Rhodes Memorial and Llandudno beach!)

Related Link: Hout Bay

Seals and Fishing Boats at Kalk Bay Harbour (2016-10-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 MAR 2017

It is no surprise really that the working fishing harbour of Kalk Bay, itself a small fishing village,  is as big a tourist attraction as what it is. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the False Bay coastline, the small harbour is home to a handful of eateries, sidewalk artists selling their crafts and wares, seals, and of course, most important of all, a host of colourfully painted fishing vessels.

The fishing community is very active, meaning that the harbour itself is always a hive of fishing-related activity, which then acts as a great tourist attraction (because it is interesting to all us non-fishing and probably hard labour averse people), meaning that one gets the feeling that Kalk Bay Harbour is almost always overrun with people!

The informal fish and chips eatery Kalky’s is somewhat of an institution, but in reality, all the little eateries dotted around the harbour are worth checking out, precisely because of the fact that you are guaranteed in getting some very good, very fresh fish served on a plate.

The girls and I were in the Southern Suburbs for a visit last year October, and seizing the opportunity, I decided to take them for their very first visit to Kalk Bay harbour. As I thought they might, the two of them rather enjoyed the experience, marvelling at the boats, the seals, the actual fishing, and the spectacle of watching seagulls and seals fight for fish. (Very entertaining).

(We also stopped in for a bit at the Imperial Yacht Club  on the west shore of Zandvlei to watch some of the sailboats on the water, but that didn’t last too long thanks to some hastening inclement weather!)

In summary then – If you don’t live near the sea, then a visit to Kalk Bay harbour is well worth the drive. The drive itself to get there is great (that whole stretch past Muizenberg and St James is fantastic (the views, not the roadworks-caused traffic), and the harbour itself is a bustling, tourist friendly (but not overly so), visual spectacle – with the promise of good fish and chips thrown in for good measure!

Bonus tip: don’t do it tomorrow though. Sunday is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and unless you are really big into bikes and the associated traffic thanks to all the closed roads, I would highly recommend skipping the entire Cape Town region just to be safe! ;)

Also, a handy map if you too want to go and watch the colourful fishing boats go about their business one day:

Related Link: Kalk Bay