Fish Hoek is a coastal village nestled in a valley at the mouth of the Silvermine River, on the False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula in Cape Town, South Africa. Previously a separate municipality of Cape Town, Fish Hoek is now part of the Cape Town Unicity. It is approximately 35 kilometers by road from Fish Hoek to the center of Cape Town, a journey that can take anything from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the traffic. There is also a good suburban railway link with Cape Town. As a coastal suburb of Cape Town, Fish Hoek is popular as a residence for commuters and holiday makers alike. The traditional industries of ‘trek’ fishing and angling coexist with the leisure pursuits of surfing, sailing and sunbathing. Fish Hoek is famous for being a “dry” area – one of the conditions placed by the owner who gave the land for development was that there be no alcohol sold there. Nowadays, alcohol is available in restaurants and bars but there are no bottle stores.
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. Fish Hoek has remained, with its situation and views, a beacon of extra-ordinary accommodation ever since. 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 fishermans 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 Pos Huis 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 good train service to Cape Town a more permanent community soon arose. By 1940 it was big enough to be declared a municipality and was administered by the Town Council until 1996. After being part of the transitional South Peninsula Municipality from 1996 to 2000, it is now under the City of Cape Town.
Hester and Issac de Villiers, with other members of their family are buried in the small graveyard next to the NG Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) in Kommetjie Road. The farmhouse on the site of the present Homestead Naval Mess near the railway crossing became an hotel. The original building subsequently burned down in 1947. Today Fish Hoek is regarded as a suburb of greater Cape Town and lies on the railway line from the central business districts of that city to Simon’s Town in the south.