I sit on the Hout Bay beach barefoot with the sand between my toes. The sun is warm and a light breeze comes off the waves. I breath in the salty sea air and feel alive.

I look to my right and see Hout Bay Backpackers with it’s deck and light blue roof against the dune bush and think how lucky I am to stay there, on the beach. I and a lovely home cooked meal in the glass walled dining room with a view and had a good nights rest in a comfortable queen sized bed with a big spaceous en-suite bathroom. The view from the room was amazing. I met some interesting All Out Africa volunteers working on community projects in the local townships. I also met some fun travelers getting out of the bussle of Cape Town city centre before heading off up the garden route.

After waking up and having a coffee and breakfast on the deck looking at the view, we visited table mountain. We rode in a cable car to the top of the mountain with spectacular views all around. Dassies played in the rocks and made for very cute photographs. After a lunch at Dunes restaurant we are now getting some relaxing beach time before visiting the Hout Bay craft market at the old harbour. My daughter draws patterns in the soft white sand which are occassionaly wiped clean by a soothing wave. The beach makes for a soft experimental canvas and she takes pride in her creations. The waves come in rhythmic repetition, a bit like time and I can’t help wondering how this beautiful bay looked before the first person set foot on the sand. Although it was no doubt very different, it still has a natural charm that development hasn’t managed to spoil.

I see a boat pull out of the Hout Bay harbour heading for seal island with an excited crew of tourists. In the distance beyond the bay stands chapman’s peak looking out over the ocean. Cyclists and joggers dot the chapman’s peak drive and the realisation hits me: this is a lovely place to be outdoors and a great time to be on the beach!