Historic Kalk Bay
Did you know?
Even during apartheid, Kalk Bay proudly retained its mixed-race community.
Shortly after your arrival in the Cape Peninsula hamlet of Kalk Bay, you will feel distinctly Bohemian.
The lure of the good bookshop on the corner, the fresh coffee nearby, the craft stall on the street, the deliciously decadent fish and chips for lunch at the harbour, the mojito sipped at the Cuban-style restaurant at sunset, and that late seaside dance party might all have something to do with the way you’re feeling.
Kalk Bay, which lies between Muizenberg and Simon’s Town on False Bay, was 1st encountered by the Strandlopers (indigenous Khoi people who lived along the coast), who found seafood in abundance. Then came the colonists, in the form of lime workers, who processed the huge stockpiles of seashells into lime (hence the Dutch name ‘kalk’) for the Cape Town market.
The mid-1800s saw the rise of the False Bay whalers, who harvested the large pods of southern right whales that visit annually in search of warmer waters, a place to give birth and a new mate.
The little Kalk Bay community used all manner of whalebone for décor purposes: ribs for garden fences, vertebrae for the walls, shoulder bones for the steps and stairs, and jawbones for the entrances of their dwellings.
Interestingly enough, a large Filipino community also sprung up in Kalk Bay, as if from nowhere. Some say the 1st Filipinos came from a shipwreck, others say they jumped ship in Simon’s Town. Whatever their origins, they sent word home that Kalk Bay was the place to be.
Most of them went back home after the United States took the Philippines from Spain in 1898, and the rest married within the local community and stayed on. They were soon joined by Portuguese, Italians, Afrikaners and Indonesians, who had one thing in common: a love for fishing.
The whalers are long gone, but the wonderful southern rights still visit these waters and show their young off. The fishermen still work down at the harbour, bringing in their fresh catches at noon and selling them off in a delightfully strident manner. You can pick up fresh fish here at great prices.
In the past century, Kalk Bay has taken on a creative character that has made it a favoured residential area for artists, writers, musicians, restaurateurs and nightclub owners. Many of its fine old buildings have been renovated and preserved, and buying a house in Kalk Bay is often a tedious process because no-one wants to leave the place...
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Cape Town Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)21 487 6800
Cape Point Route
Tel: +27 (0)21 782 9356