Arniston Fishing Village Hike

Arniston and a bench overlooking the sea.

This hike takes you from the centre of Arniston, past the harbour, through the old fishing cottages of Kassiesbaai to a beach. On the way back you climb through tall sand dunes. It’s a very diverse walk with many points of interest.

Arniston harbour with its colourful fishing boats.
Arniston harbour.


Arniston is a seaside fishing village along the south coast of Western Cape, South Africa. We started this hike at the car park in front of the Arniston Spa Hotel in the centre of the village. To reach this place from Cape Town takes about 2.5 to 3 hours and 209 km along the N2 and R316.


  • As almost always in South Africa, take a sunhat and sunscreen to protect yourself.
  • You can keep on going further along the beach if you like – the sand dunes further away looked super beautiful.
  • We got a bit stuck on the way back by a fence, but there were some houses there and the people were very friendly and let us through their gate in the fence.
  • Kassiesbaai is the name of the part of Arniston where the old fishing cottages are.
  • Find more great hikes in South Africa.

To read all details of our weekend trip from Cape Town to Agulhas, go to our trip report. After our lunch in the village, we parked by the cliffs and harbour. This is just in front of the Arniston Spa Hotel. We set off and first checked out the cute colourful fishing boats. These were behind a metal grill fence, but you could peek through. It was a Sunday. However, probably in the week, especially early morning (fishermen fish early right?), the fishing boats will be out at sea.

Kassiesbaai fishing village cottage.
Another cute fishing cottage in Arniston, South Africa.

Arniston Seaside Cottages

Then we wandered through the super cute old fishermen’s cottages of Kassiesbaai and onwards to the beach. We continued our way along the beach for 600 m, until at some point we went inland and followed a track for a little while. Shortly after we left the path and went more inland to some nice looking sand dunes.

History of Arniston

View of Arniston from the beach.
Looking back at the village.

In 1815 the British ship ‘The Arniston’ crash-landed at Arniston, though it wasn’t called that yet. The fishing village of Kassiesbaai sprang up a few years later – the name comes from the kassies (Afrikaans for boxes) that washed ashore from the shipwreck, and were used to help build houses.

The coloured fishermen from Kassiesbaai are known for their successful fights for their rights, when twice in the past they were threatened with the relocation of their village. because of these struggles, the village still stands today and is now a national heritage site.

The beach we followed north of Arniston, South Africa.
The beach north of Arniston.
Vicky on a sand dune north of Arniston.
Vicky on one of the sand dunes.

On the way back from the sand dunes we followed one of the many tracks. Near the village we came across a fence, and some friendly locals helped by letting us through. Then, we walked back through the cottages to the car and drove to the start of our next short hike south of Arniston where we saw many birds.

Kassiesbaai seaside cottage.

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