Hout Bay/Llandudno

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HOUT BAY or Houtbaai – the bay, the beach and the valley – with Llandudno just over the Suikerbossie hill is unique in South Africa.  A suburb of Cape Town but unlike any other suburb.

Hemmed in by the marine and land elements of Table Mountain National Park, its history is as old as South Africa's earliest colonial history while remnants of the first inhabitants predate recorded history.

At its north-eastern end – Oranjekloof Nature Reserve and Constantia Nek – it abuts the south side of Table Mountain.  To the north, it nestles against the Twelve Apostles chain.  To the east, Hout Bay abuts Constantiaberg.  And Hout Bay and Llandudno's unique features – Klein Leeukoppie, Karbonkelberg and the Sentinel – rise majestically from the sea to the west.

Hout Bay and Llandudno have only three access roads – arguably among the most scenic in the world – Victoria Drive from the city centre, Constantia Nek from the southern suburbs, and the world-famous Chapman's Peak Drive from the south.  So... driving to and from the rest of the world is pure pleasure!


History of Porto fragoso (bay of hanging cliffs)

From: Hout Bay – An illustrated historical profile

1488   Bartholomeu Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope.
1497   Vasco da Gama puts foot on South African soil for the first time.
1513   Hout Bay's first name, "Porto fragoso" (bay of hanging cliffs), appears on a map.
1607   The 'Consent' was becalmed at the entrance to Hout Bay and landed an exploratory party.
1614   An English sailor records having taken wood from the forest of Hout Bay for repairs to his ship.
1652   Jan van Riebeek lands at the Cape and gave Hout Bay its present name. On November 22, 1652 Van Riebeek wrote in his journal about t'Houtbaaitjen.
1662   The Boscheuwel road was extended from Kirstenbosch in a rough track over Constantia Nek to Hout Bay.
1668   The first permit to cut and saw wood in Hout Bay Forest was granted.
1672   War broke out between Holland and France.
1677   The first agreement to rent land for farming purposes was signed.
    The first freeburgher farmers arrived in Hout Bay and were granted as much land as they could work. They were to plant grain and collect woods as payment for the hire of the land.
1681   Two farms were established – Ruyteplaats and Kronendal.
1777   The first building at Kronendal was built by Jacobus Lourens Bierman. It was enlarged to its present form in 1800.
1781   The French built three forts at Hout Bay. These were part of a line of forts known as the 'French Lines' to protect the Cape from falling into the hands of the English. The West Fort at the harbour dates from this time.
1793   The South Battery Boetselaar and the North Battery Zoutman in Simon's Town are built.
1795   First British occupation by Rear-Adm Sir Keith Elphinstone and Maj-Gen James Craig.
1803   The Cape returned to the Batavian Republic by the British.
1806   The second British occupation.
1834   Abolition of slavery. Royal Navy active in crushing the slave trade and the repatriation of slaves.
In the latter half of the 1800s, the farms Moddergat, Nooitgedacht, Oakhurst and Uitkyk were established.
Early farmers who settled in Hout Bay undertook fishing as well; fishing from small boats and using the method of 'trekking' with nets from the beach. In the early 1800s, the first economic exploitation of fish began when dried snoek was exported to Mauritius in exchange for yellow sugar and other essential commodites.
1871   Jacob Trautman, a German immigrant, bought land in Hout Bay.
1880   Crisp Arnold set up fishing sheds and started curing snoek for export to Mauritius.
A company was formed to exploits the deposits of manganese in Hout Bay.
1882   Jacob Trautman II built Oak Villa, now a national monument followd by Uitkyk (1888), and Hillside (1890).
1891   The first police station and post office opened in Hout Bay.
1895   Walter Gurney built the first church. It still stands today and is known as St Peter the Fisherman. The first school in Hout Bay was started by Walter Gurney.
At the turn of the 1900s the floor of the Bay was described as being a red blanket of crayfish (lobsters).
1901   The magnificent house of Fine View was built by Fritz Jacot, a Frenchman.
1904   The Hout Bay Canning Company was formed and set up in the hulk of an old barque, R Morrow. For almost 10 years the factory operated successfully. exporting canned crayfish overseas and providing work for local inhabitants.
1909   Successful manganese mining in Hout Bay recorded with shipments to Belgium. The ship Maori ran aground at 'Oude Schip' in fog.
1911   Manganese mining ceased during the year. Reminders of the activities are the ruins of the manganese ore jetty and the old mine workings up on the mountain.
1914   An explosion on board the R Morrow put an end to the canning industry for a short while. Seven people were killed including the owner, Lucien Plessis. After repairs the company continued until 1947 when it was abosrbed into the South African Sea Products company.
1921   The Hout Bay Golf Club was formed. In 1948 the Golf Course land was sold for development. The Club and its social activities remained and it became a 'nomadic' club for many years.
1922   Chapmans Peak Drive was opened to the public. It has been built using convict labour and had taken seven years to build at a cost of £20,000.
1930s   The fishing industry expanded exponentially when fish became a popular item on menus and improving facilities for transporting fish inland were created. The Trautman family improved their fishing boats and built more sheds on the beach for processing fish. They owned Trans Africa Fisheries. The Trautman brothers introduced the valuable frozen rock lobster tail export business. The Dorman family, who had originally bought land in the late 1800s for farming purposes, becames more involved in the fishing industry. Duikersklip and Chapmans Peak Fisheries were two companies owned by the Dormans.
1937   The South breakwater was built. The post-war fisihing boom saw new companies and canning factories spreading everywhere.
1947   South African Sea Products opened a new factory for the freezing and canning of rock lobster.
1952   After many years of deliberation with the Cape Town City Council, piped water eventually arrived at Hout Bay. Up till then water had either been taken from the river or from boreholes.
1968   The North Breakwater was added.
1984   Mariner's Wharf, South Africa's first seafood & maritime-themed emporium developed by Stanley Dorman, was opened and proved a resounding success.
1987   On May 23, the citizens of Hout Bay declared themselves a republic. This was a tourist awareness and attraction ploy which helped put Hout Bay on the map.
1991   Government allocated the site of Imizamo Yethu to meet the needs of the Hout Bay squatter community.
1994   First free democratic elections. Nelson Mandela was elected president.
1996   The Masijidul Bahrayn mosque near the harbour was completed.
2003   Chapmans Peak Drive was re-opened as a toll road on December 21, after considerable repairs had been undertaken.


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