Tobi and I have gypsy blood. We’ve moved house five times in our six years of marriage. It is always tough to say goodbye to friends. But we have never been so sad about leaving a place, as we are about moving away from the Cape Peninsula: green mountains all around, the ocean just ten minutes away on either side, chilled community vibes, the secretiveness that surrounds it all… Read More →
East, West… (for now) Fish Hoek is best
Tobi and I (Natasja) moved into our apartment two weeks after arriving back in South Africa. We searched city wide for a place to our liking (and within budget), and when stress and frustration drove us to our favourite spot on the southern peninsula, about 30 km from the Cape Town city bowl, we decided to stay right here.
Fish Hoek is a sleepy little town tucked in a valley between the Silvermine Nature Reserve and Table Mountain National Park. From the beach you can look out over the big blue and see the Hottentots-Holland mountain range on the opposite side of False bay. To the left is the bohemian fishing village of Kalk Bay, and to the right, Simonstown, South Africa’s third oldest European settlement and the principle naval base.
Due to a clause in the Deed of Grant (1818), there are no liquior stores or alchohol sold in grocery stores – a tradition that the Defenders of Fish Hoek try hard to maintain, though restaurants and bars are now allowed to sell it. The law was introduced to keep wagon drivers from arriving intoxicated in Simonstown when they did deliveries. Whether or not because of this fact, or the permanent holiday atmosphere, Capetonians mockingly refer to Fish Hoek as the place for the newly-weds or nearly-deads.
Though Tobi and I are neither, our two bedroom flat is across the street from the main beach entrance. Apartment number 3 sits in the bottom left corner of an older building, with our own little “stoep” (porch) and white picket gate. We are neighbours to a retired ballerina from Germany, who loves watching evangelical Christian day-time TV and playing the piano, an Afrikaans couple who are waiting for their paper work to be finalized so that the can emigrate to Canada, and a friendly, but scatterbrained, single mom who is lovingly sharing her wi-fi with us.
Fish Hoek (apparently) has a mild Mediterranean climate. It rains non-stop during the winter, and the dry summer days occasionally gets blown away by the strong and persistent South-Easter – or “Cape Doctor” as the locals call it, for it blows away the pollution and pestilence. When the weather permits, Tobi and I like to stroll along Jager’s Walk – a walkway that stretches about 1 km along the water from the beach to the whale watching look-out at Sunny Cove. There is a tidal pool along the way, with seabirds scavenging for food on the rocks, and the occasional seal playing between the sea bamboo. And if you are lucky, you might spot a whale lolling around in the bay (whale watching season is between June and November). On the way back to the beach, you look onto the town and its surrounding mountains – especially picturesque on a late afternoon as the sun turns the valley into deep greens and golds.
Starting over is always a challenge. But I guess moving to a beautiful place like this helps a bit. That, and sharing the adventure with loved ones, preferably over a a cup of tea (or with wine!).