Information on Fish Hoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Fish Hoek situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa including information on history, location, geography, attractions.
Fish Hoek History
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 Noordhoek area. Fish Hoek beach was used on an informal basis for whaling and fishing, but it was not until 1918 that it was laid out as a township. 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. Having realized 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. The oldest house on the bay, now named Uitkyk, was bought as a fisherman's cottage in 1918 by the Mossop family of Mossop Leathers and is still in the Mossop family. There had been a building on that site since the 1690s; a post house and a whaling station office is all that is known of its history.
This was the beginning of the town of Fish Hoek. Initially people built holiday cottages, but as there was a reliable train service to Cape Town a more permanent community soon arose. By 1940, it was large enough to be declared a municipality and was administered by the Town Council until 1996. Hester and Issac de Villiers, with other members of their family are buried in the small graveyard next to the Dutch Reformed Church in Kommetjie Road. The farmhouse on the site of the present Homestead Naval Mess near the railway crossing became a hotel. The original building subsequently burned down in 1947.
Fish Hoek Beach
The beach is about 2.5 km long and fairly flat, and the bay is protected from the currents and stronger surf in the rest of False Bay. Swimming is allowed along the entire beach with lifesavers on duty during the summer peak season, and body surfing, boogie boarding, wind surfing and kayaking are popular. Restaurants and children's play areas are situated at the southern end, and a path known as Jagger Walk runs past rock pools on the southern side of the bay. Shark spotters are often on duty, especially during the summer tourist season. Despite this, there have been two fatal attacks on swimmers in the bay in recent years, one in November 2004 and one in January 2010. The northern parts of the beach are less developed, and are used by Trek fishermen to launch their boats and clean nets. This part of the beach is popular for walkers, and dogs are allowed. Private security provides 24 hour security for beachgoers and the beach parking area.
Fish Hoek Geography
Fish Hoek is situated in a bay at the end a broad, low valley, between two and three kilometres wide, which runs from east to west across the Cape Peninsula from Fish Hoek on the False Bay side to Noordhoek and Kommetjie on the Atlantic side. When sea levels were higher than they are today, the valley used to be a sea passage that separated the Cape Peninsula into northern and southern islands. The valley is mostly sandy, and the bedrock is Cape granite. In places this is deeply weathered, and in the past the rotted granite was mined for pockets of the mineral kaolinite, which is used to make ceramic goods such as hand basins and bath tubs. The valley is famous for 12,000 year old paleolithic skeletons discovered in a cave by Bertie Peers and his father in 1927. Bertie Peers was a lover and explorer of the great outdoors, a keen amateur scientist and a dedicated naturalist but his enthusiasm eventually cost him his life, when he was fatally struck by a puff adder. Fish Hoek has a mild mediterranean climate and is spared over hot summer days by the southeasterly wind known locally as "the Cape Doctor". The mountains nearby are famous for large numbers of complex caves in sandstones of the Table Mountain Group. Caves are usually found in limestones, and it is not common to find complex cave systems in pure sandstone.
Towns and Suburbs of the Western Cape province of South Africa
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