Even local Capetonians might not know much about the hidden gem of Kalk Bay. This picturesque city is located on the Cape Peninsula and forms part of a great road trip along False Bay from Cape Town to Cape Point. If you’re planning to visit this beautiful part of the Western Cape, we’ve put together the ultimate Kalk Bay Travel Guide so that you know what to do, places to eat, and where to sleep at the end of your long action-packed days.
Things to Do in Kalk Bay
1. Stroll Along the Kalk Bay Art Walk
The Art Walk in Kalk Bay is a delightful experience for art lovers. This informal trail takes you through various galleries and studios, showcasing the work of local artists. You’ll find everything from contemporary paintings and sculptures to traditional African art. The walk is not only a chance to see beautiful art but also to meet the artists and learn about their work. Most galleries are within walking distance of each other, making it a leisurely stroll. Don’t miss the chance to pick up a unique piece of art as a souvenir of your visit to Kalk Bay.
2. Thrift Store Shopping
Thrift store shopping in Kalk Bay is like treasure hunting. The area is peppered with a variety of second-hand stores, vintage shops, and old bookstores. Each shop has its own character, offering everything from retro clothing and antique furniture to rare books and collectibles. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing through the past and finding unique items that tell a story. Don’t miss the ceramics, particularly the Dutch and Afrikaans pieces that offer a glimpse into South Africa’s rich cultural heritage. When shopping, take your time to chat with the shop owners – they often have fascinating stories to share about their wares.
3. Savour Fish and Chips at Kalkys
Kalkys is an institution in Kalk Bay, known far and wide for serving some of the best fish and chips in Cape Town. This no-frills eatery, located right on the harbour, offers more than just delicious food; it provides an authentic South African experience. The ambiance is bustling and lively, with the shouts of orders and the clinking of cutlery adding to the charm. The fish is fresh, the chips are crispy, and the portions are generous. Eating here is not just a meal, it’s an experience. Be prepared for a queue, especially on weekends, but know that the wait is worth it. Grab a seat outside for an unbeatable view of the harbour while you enjoy your meal.
4. Explore the Harbour
Kalk Bay’s harbour is a bustling, vibrant spot where the essence of a working fishing village comes to life. Stroll along the harbour and you’ll see fishermen busy at work, seals basking in the sun, and waves occasionally splashing the unwary visitor. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, breathe in the salty air, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the day’s fresh catch being prepared. The harbour is also a great spot for photography enthusiasts, with its colorful boats and panoramic views of the ocean. Be sure to take a leisurely walk along the pier, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the playful seals that are often found lounging near the water’s edge.
5. Join a Beading Workshop at Soul
For a more laid-back and creative activity, the beading workshops at Soul are a wonderful choice. This quaint little shop, tucked away in Kalk Bay, is filled with hand-crafted jewelry and African crafts. The workshop allows you to create your own bracelet from a selection of high-quality beads. It’s a serene setting, ideal for unwinding and embracing your creative side. You can expect a warm welcome, and the staff are always on hand to offer guidance. This workshop is perfect for a group of friends or a solo adventure. Not only do you leave with a beautiful, personalized piece of jewelry, but you also get to enjoy the therapeutic process of creating it.
6. Take a Dip in Dalebrook Tidal Pool
Dalebrook Tidal Pool, a jewel of Kalk Bay, is a must-visit for anyone who loves the ocean. This large ocean pool, caressed by the waves at high tide, offers a safe and exhilarating swimming experience. Surrounded by natural rock formations, the pool provides a perfect spot for both avid swimmers and those looking to dip their toes in the water. The chill of the water is invigorating, and there’s nothing quite like swimming with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Remember to bring a towel and some sunscreen, and perhaps a picnic to enjoy on the rocks. The best time to visit is early in the morning when the pool is peaceful, and you can catch the sublime sunrise over the ocean.
7. Relax at Kalk Bay Park
Kalk Bay Park, nestled in the heart of the village, is a serene green space perfect for a relaxing afternoon. The park has well-maintained lawns, benches, and a playground for children. It’s a great spot for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or just to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The park also hosts occasional community events and markets, adding to its charm. It’s a nice contrast to the bustling streets and provides a tranquil escape within the village.
8. Visit the Kalk Bay Theatre
The Kalk Bay Theatre, housed in a converted old church, is an intimate venue offering a variety of live performances, from drama to comedy and musicals. The theater’s ambiance is cozy and inviting, making it an ideal place for an evening of entertainment. The performances here are known for their quality and diversity, often showcasing local talent. It’s a great way to experience the artistic side of Kalk Bay. I recommend booking tickets in advance as shows often sell out. The theater also has a lovely bar and dining area, perfect for a pre-show drink or dinner.
9. Find Special Treasures
Shopping in Kalk Bay isn’t just about thrift stores. The area is home to several contemporary shops that showcase the work of local artisans and small businesses. From hand-knitted jerseys and handcrafted ceramics to organic skincare and sustainable household products, there’s a wealth of unique items to discover. These shops are a testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the local community. As you browse, you’ll not only find beautiful items to take home but also support the local economy. Each purchase is a story of someone’s passion and craft, making it more than just a shopping experience.
10. Book Shopping
Book lovers will find themselves in paradise in Kalk Bay. The village boasts a number of bookstores, ranging from second-hand and antique shops to vendors selling new titles. Each store has its own charm and an impressive selection of books. One of the highlights is the street vendor outside Olympia Cafe, known for his extraordinary collection and knowledge of books. It’s not just about buying books; it’s about the joy of browsing, discovering rare finds, and engaging in conversations about literature with fellow book enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a specific title or just want to add to your collection, you’re sure to find something special.
11. Olympia Cafe and Bakery
Olympia Cafe and Bakery is a Kalk Bay institution, renowned for its delicious baked goods and eclectic menu. This charming cafe has a rustic, bohemian vibe, and it’s a favorite among both locals and visitors. The food here is simply outstanding, with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The bakery section is a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth, offering a variety of pastries, bread, and cakes. The cafe is also known for its hearty breakfasts and lunches. Be sure to try their signature dishes, like the nutty triangles or cinnamon sticks – they’re heavenly! The ambiance is relaxed and welcoming, making it the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring Kalk Bay.
12. Hiking Adventures
For nature enthusiasts, the hiking trails around Kalk Bay are a dream come true. Trails like Spes Bona and Echo Valley offer breathtaking views of the bay and the vast ocean. The routes are well-marked and range from easy to intermediate, making them suitable for most fitness levels, including families with children. Along the way, you’ll encounter indigenous forests, diverse flora and fauna, and some impressive rock formations. Don’t forget your camera, as the panoramic views from the higher points are truly spectacular. Ensure you have good hiking shoes, water, and snacks, and always let someone know your route before you set off.
13. Ice Cream at Ice Cafe
No visit to Kalk Bay is complete without stopping by the Ice Cafe. Located in the heart of the village, this ice cream shop is famous for its wide range of flavors, with something new to try on each visit. Whether you’re a fan of classic vanilla or looking to try something more adventurous, there’s a flavor for everyone. The cafe has a charming, retro vibe, and it’s a popular spot among both locals and tourists. Enjoy your ice cream on the bench outside and soak up the lively atmosphere of Kalk Bay, or take a stroll to the nearby beach for a scenic treat. Remember, this spot is especially delightful during the warm summer months!
14. Spelunking at Boomslang Cave
For the adventurous at heart, spelunking in Boomslang Cave is an exhilarating experience. The cave, named after the poisonous “tree snake,” offers a unique underground adventure. It’s a bit challenging, with narrow passages and low ceilings, so it’s recommended to go with a guide, especially for first-timers. Inside the cave, you’ll find sleeping bats, fascinating rock formations, and vast caverns. It’s essential to bring a strong head torch, wear long pants and a shirt, and carry sufficient water. Exploring Boomslang Cave is not just about the physical challenge; it’s about stepping into a different world, one that’s dark, mysterious, and utterly captivating.
15. Evening Cocktails at Cape to Cuba
Cape to Cuba is an iconic spot in Kalk Bay, offering a unique blend of Cuban and South African cultures. This colorful bar and restaurant, with its beach hut vibe and vibrant decor, is the perfect place to enjoy an evening cocktail. The Latin music adds to the lively atmosphere, making it a great spot for both a relaxing drink and a night out with friends. The cocktails are creative and delicious, though a bit on the pricier side. It’s not just about the drinks; the entire experience of Cape to Cuba is memorable, from the eclectic ambiance to the picturesque views of the ocean.
16. Catch a Train Back to the City
Rounding off a day in Kalk Bay with a train ride back to Cape Town is an experience in itself. The train journey offers stunning coastal views and a glimpse into local life. The trains in Cape Town have a character of their own, with colorful graffiti and a lively atmosphere. It’s a cheap and scenic way to travel, and you’ll find yourself sharing the journey with a mix of tourists and locals. For safety, it’s advisable to travel in a carriage with other people and avoid late evening trips. This train ride isn’t just a means of transportation; it’s a window into the heart of Cape Town, offering picturesque views and a sense of adventure.
Restaurants in Kalk Bay
Here is a quick summary of the best restaurants in Kalk Bay. Grab a quick bite while exploring this idyllic coastal town:
- Harbour House – Offers exquisite seafood with stunning ocean views. A blend of elegance and culinary excellence.
- Brass Bell – Known for its varied menu and vibrant atmosphere, perfect for a casual dining experience.
- Cape to Cuba – Not just for cocktails! Enjoy a unique dining experience with Cuban flair and delicious food.
- Lucky Fish & Chips – A local favorite for quick, delicious seafood.
- Olympia Cafe and Bakery – Indulge in their freshly baked goods and diverse menu options.
Places to Stay Near Kalk Bay
Check out these exceptional accommodation options near Kalk Bay if you are planning a weekend getaway or longer holiday in the area.
- Admiralty Bed & Breakfast [$] This cozy bed and breakfast is located right on the edge of Sandvlei Lake and offers a relaxing family vacation spot with a deck, braai facilities, and beautiful views. You can book it here.
- Chartfield Guesthouse [$] Situated in the heart of Kalk Bay, this guesthouse offers comfortable accommodation with fantastic breakfast and an excellent location. Book your stay here.
- A Boat House [$$]: With stunning views of False Bay, this guest house is ideal for both couples and families, offering a serene atmosphere just minutes from Boulders Beach. You can find more details and book here.
- The Inn at Castle Hill [$$]: A private home in Kalk Bay offering a comfortable and conveniently located stay. For more details and to book, visit their website here.
- Steenberg Hotel & Spa [$$$]: For a luxurious experience, this hotel offers a spa, golf course, and fine dining in a beautiful setting. You can book your luxury stay here.
- Tintswalo Atlantic [$$$]: Known for its exceptional service and attention to detail, this boutique lodge offers a unique and luxurious stay. Book your experience here.
Best Time to Visit Kalk Bay
The best time to visit Kalk Bay is during the summer months, from December to March. The weather is warm and sunny, perfect for beach activities, outdoor dining, and exploring the village.
- Safety First: Be mindful of your surroundings and valuables, especially when using public transport or exploring busy areas.
- Dress for the Weather: Summers are warm, but evenings can get cool. Pack a light jacket.
Ready to Explore Kalk Bay
Now that you know what to do, where to eat, and have a list of great accommodation options, you should have no problem planning your next trip to Kalk Bay. This town is absolutely picturesque and has plenty of great things on offer. Don’t let this hidden gem slip you by the next time you plan a trip to the Mother City!