On the magnificent coastal drive from Cape Town to Cape Point is Hout Bay and its world-famous Mariner’s Wharf, Africa’s and the Southern Hemisphere’s first harbourfront emporium.
Conceptualised and built during the 1980s by Hout Bay’s very own Stanley Dorman, it has continued to grow under his and his family’s watchful eyes.
Its restaurants, shops and markets exude a maritime ambience as is nowhere else to be found, and has become a unique destination where the famous and locals, jetsetters and tourists, rub shoulders with old salts and venerable fishing captains.
On Mariner's Wharf's 21st birthday in 2005, Maritime Southern Africa summed up the experience in a few succinct paragraphs:
``It's not just a fish shop; a restaurant, a bistro; an antique, curio or jewellery shop. It's not even a combination of all these - Mariner's Wharf is so much more to Hout Bay and its visitors.
Representing the first waterfront emporium development in Africa, Mariner's Wharf exposes visitors to a culture that's rich in its maritime authenticity. Certainly not ostentatious in its outward appearance, Mariner's Wharf has shunned all the usual trappings of themed waterfront developments where interior designers and clever architects effectively create watered-down versions of the real thing.
At Mariner's Wharf it is all real. From the figurehead that welcomes you to the restaurant upstairs, to the fishing boat and wheelhouse that overlook the fresh fish shop and deli. The antique shop bursting with maritime collectibles and the curio and gift shops both stock marine-related souvenirs. Everything there has a story to tell like so many of the seafarers that have and still do traverse our oceans.
It's not just about things though - it's about the people. Some of the employees date back to the old fishing days and the artisans and shipwrights have been retained to craft and build many of the decor items that now lend a sense of authenticity to the Wharf. From signage to candle holders and other furniture, they're kept as busy as if they were still working on the fishing vessels of the old days.``
All of us at Mariner's Wharf look forward to welcoming you!