Long before the advent of modern conveniences like an online bookstore, the Internet, engine driven transportation, and etc., Fish Hoek was occupied by indigenous groups from South Africa.
However, when the Dutch and English showed up, Fish Hoek became private property when it was given to Andries Bains way back in 1818. The person behind such a generous gift was Lord Charles Somerset, governor of the Cape Colony in South Africa during the time. Bains sold the land and its ownership kept changing until it was bought in 1883 by Hester Sophia de Kock. At time she purchased the land, she was single and 51 years old. At age of 71, she married Jacob Isaac de Villiers who was a local farmer. He moved in with her and lived in Fish Hoek.
De Kock used the land to plant vegetables and wheat. She also built homes for the people who wanted to visit Fish Hoek, turning it into a part-time vacation getaway. Its fame as a wonderful place to relax with scenic views grew and when she died, she stated in her will that the farm was to be subdivided and sold after the death of herself and her husband. The first plot was sold in 1918. The couple is buried in a small site near the NG Kerk (“church”) in Kommetjie Road. Their farm unfortunately burned down although a replica was erected and is now a hotel. The barn has been renamed Mountain View and turned into 2 cottages although they are not accessible to the public.
The main industry in the area was fishing and whaling. However, when de Kock began putting up accommodations for tourists, others soon followed suit and began to build cottages for rent. By 1940, the population grew enough to be turned into a municipality although this was again changed and Fish Hoek is now part of Cape Town.
Fish Hoek burst into the international scene in 1926 with the discovery of the Fish Hoek man, a skeleton believed to be 12 000 years old at the time it was discovered. The cave where it was found is called Peers Cave after the father and son team who found it. They also discovered prehistoric tools and other interesting relics.
When the world became focused on preserving endangered animals, whales were one of the first animals to be placed on the endangered list. This resulted in the closure of the whaling station in Fish Hoek, which has been good as whales have become to be more visible in Fish Hoek, and they are valued as part of the environment where they remain protected.
Today, the oldest house on Fish Hoek is owned by the Mossop family of Mossop Leather. It was once a fisherman’s home with a post office and whaling station on the same property. It is private property although their business, Mossop Leather, is now a world renowned brand and the largest tannery in all of South Africa.
Fish Hoek continues to attract tourists making tourism one of its prime industries, which in turn has resulted in the establishment of a host of support businesses around the area.