The 27 Best Things To Do in Kalk Bay 2018

The 27 Best Things To Do in Kalk Bay 2018

Whether it's food, art or adventure you're after, this seaside village has something for everyone.

It was named one of The 12 Coolest Cities Around The World by Forbes magazine in July 2018, among international hotspots like Barcelona, Washington and Amsterdam, and outranking London and New York in the process. After one visit to the quirky seaside village of Kalk Bay, it’s easy to understand why.

Part-sleepy fishing village and part-buzzy high street, Kalk Bay’s eclectic mix of historic buildings, cobbled streets, bohemian bric-a-brac shops, vintage bookstores, art and antique galleries, ocean and mountain views, quaint cafés and restaurants, colourful fishing vessels and creative locals is what makes it so charming, offering a unique experience unlike anywhere else in the city. If you haven’t already, pin Kalk Bay to the top of your list, and follow our guide to this Forbes-feted neighbourhood.

And, if you’ve done or discovered any exciting things in Kalk Bay that are not on our list, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Things To Do + See at the Harbour

The lighthouse

Kalk Bay Lighthouse

The Kalk Bay harbour is not just a bustling landmark, it has a rich history, too. Its famous red-and-white-striped lighthouse – situated at the tip of the bustling pier – is the perfect spot for sunset photo ops or relaxed evening ambles! In winter, it sheds its laidback armour, giving new meaning to the phrase “Cape of Storms”, as large waves are known to come hurtling into the bay, crashing against the jetty and lighthouse with substantial impact – a truly riveting sight to behold!
Contact 021 487 6800, info@capetown.travel (Cape Town Tourism)
Where to find it Main Road, Kalk Bay

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish Kalk Bay

After its existence as a whaling port was rightfully terminated, Kalk Bay Harbour became a thriving fishing port. Watch dedicated fishermen bringing in their hauls from their colourful rustic boats daily, and then make them an offer to buy some of their hard-earned produce. It makes a delicious (and healthy) meal, particularly when done over the coals – you’d be hard-pressed to find fresher fish anywhere.
Where to find it Kalk Bay Harbour, Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

The Seals

Kalk Bay Seals

Fishermen and camera-clad tourists just a third of who you can expect to see draped over the pier walls at the harbour: seals are the de facto residents of this bustling hotspot! And if you love watching these playful creatures up close and personal, then you’ve come to the right place. One such local is Sailor – a larger-than-life chap, with a penchant for basking in the sun, groaning in relaxation, and occasionally trying to nick a bite out of a distracted fisherman’s catch.
Where to find it Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Harbour House

Harbour House Kalk Bay

Enjoy a glass of wine – and a delicious Mediterranean-style meal – as the waves crash against the giant glass windows of this shore-hugging favourite. Towering over the bustling fishing pier and boasting spectacular 360-degree views of the mountain, sea and the distinct Hangklip mountain on the horizon, it’s the perfect spot for any occasion.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 4pm; 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 788 4136, kalkbay@harbourhouse.co.za
Where to find it Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalky’s

Kalky's Kalk Bay

Edwin and Liz Rosslind’s large cabin-like restaurant on the harbour quay offers the best fish and chips on this coastline. Daughter Allison now runs it, and business is brisk – especially on weekends when crowds queue for the just-caught fish on offer. The most popular dishes are battered hake and chips or snoek and chips, but the calamari, kingklip, yellowtail and prawns are also delicious. A waitress shouts out your number when your order is ready and you tuck in at one of the plastic-covered tables – it’s casual value-for-money eating for the whole family at its best, and a famed Kalk Bay institution.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 8pm
Contact 021 788 1726, kalkys@mweb.co.za
Where to find it Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Live Bait

Live Bait Kalk Bay

Nestled just below its sister restaurant, Harbour House, with an equally open expanse of bright glass windows, this beach-themed eatery offers wonderful harbour and False Bay views from its oceanside location. In summer, the sun-drenched deck is the perfect spot to sip sauvignon blanc, while in winter (between July and September), regular visits from calving humpbacks and southern rights make this one of the most covetable tables in the peninsula.
As for the food, it’s simple and tasty – ranging from sushi and moules to calamari, fish and chips, and surf and turf – what more do you need?
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 12am
Contact 021 788 4133 or 021 788 5755 , kalkbay@harbourhouse.co.za
Where to find it Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Things to do in Kalk Bay

Dalebrook Tidal Pool

Dalebrook Tidal Pool Kalk Bay
Covina Spangenberg

Nestled between St James and Kalk Bay lies this often overlooked tidal pool. To get to it, simply walk along the subway under the railway line. It’s one of the most beautiful pools along the coast, as it seamlessly melds into the ocean (as the eye skips over the low wall), but it’s best to get there in the early morning, as it loses a lot of the afternoon sun behind the mountains. The large boulders in the pool invite bathers to languish longer, while contemplating the horizon… And the low wall means that the water is kept clean with a constant flow of new, fresh water breaking over the wall’s edge. It’s also a fabulous whale-watching spot.
Where to find it Off Main Road, Dalebrook, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Park

Bob's Bagel Kalk Bay

This sea-facing park is a wonderful pitstop during or after a day of exploring. And, if you’re feeling peckish, pop over the road to Bob’s Bagel for a pricey but delicious freshly prepared bagel and a good cup of coffee, as the kids build up an appetite running around the grass and taking turns on the swings and roundabouts.
Good to know The adjoining shop stocks beautiful and unique ceramics and photographs on canvas by top and well-known local artists.
Where to find it Rouxville Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Theatre

Kalk Bay Theatre

Inside the heritage-protected old Dutch Reformed Church on the Main Road, the hand-built Kalk Bay Theatre is one of several Cape Town dinner-and-theatre venues – yet this one has a special charm. The historic space accommodates up to 72 guests, who flock here for the excellent theatre and comedy performances in a community-driven environment, with the option of a supper-club experience.
Contact 021 788 7257, kalkbaytheatre@gmail.com
Where to find it 52 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Ice Café

Ice Cafe Kalk Bay

This cool spot on Main Road is famous among locals for its homemade ice cream, made using a secret family recipe consisting of natural ingredients, no eggs or gelatine. The flavours, which taste amazingly like the real thing, include Black Forest (with real cherries, chocolate cake and cream) Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Liquorice, Coffee, Coconut, and loads more, and are served in a sugar cone or cup to be enjoyed while strolling along the seaside streets. Other than the great prices and huge scoops, we love that they change flavours daily, and are environmentally conscious, encouraging customers to return plastic spoons and utilising paper tubs only.
Opening times Sunday – Thursday, 9.15am – 6pm
Friday – Saturday, 9am – 6.30pm
Contact 021 788 4816
Where to find it 93 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Modern Gallery

Kalk Bay Modern Gallery

This contemporary arts and crafts gallery that supports local talent and developing communities is a shining star among the Kalk Bay cultural scene. Visitors can browse a number of wonderful works on display, that range from San Bushmen art to a variety of photography, textiles and homemade jewellery. There’s hardly a better representation of the free and creative spirit that flows throughout the quirky seaside town than this hidden gem – perfectly situated above the Olympia Bakery & Deli, so you can enjoy a delightful breakfast or light lunch in between perusing.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
Contact 021 788 6571, kbmodern@iafrica.com
Where to find it Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Expresso

Kalk Bay Expresso

If you’re seeking a unique spot to enjoy a scone and cup of coffee, this charming café – housed inside a restored Blue Train carriage – ticks all the boxes. When it’s chilly, pull up a seat inside the wood-panelled interior, or sit outside at one of the white wooden tables when the sun’s out, and enjoy a delicious selection of breakfasts, freshly baked pastries, cakes, pancakes, sandwiches, burgers for a train-themed seaside lunch.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 4.30pm
Contact 021 788 8843
Where to find it 73 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

The Brass Bell

Brass Bell Kalk Bay

Situated on the edge of the iconic tidal pools, this old seaside pub is an institution around these parts (and also one of local rocker Arno Carstens’ favourite spots). Though there’s a restaurant that serves seafood, pizzas, burgers and curries, the real attraction is its shore-hugging location. The ocean views are spectacular, and make for a wonderful spot to watch live bands while enjoying a cool cocktail or two.
Opening times Winter: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 11pm
Summer: Monday – Sunday, 8.30 – 11pm
Contact 021 788 5455, info@brassbell.co.za
Where to find it Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Where to Eat in Kalk Bay

Olympia Café & Deli

Olympia Cafe and Deli Kalk Bay

This rustic café on the Main Road is probably the most popular restaurant in this boho suburb. Renowned for its freshly baked pastries and bread, it also has a blackboard menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner specials that changes daily – and a charming hidden bakery around the corner. Be warned: if you don’t want to queue for a table, we’d recommend you get there early to secure your spot, as this is one attraction you don’t want to miss!
Don’t leave without trying one of the delectable, car-sized croissants!
Opening times Deli Restaurant: 7am – 9pm
Bakery Shop: 6.30am – 7pm
Contact 021 788 6396, info@olympiacafe.co.za
Where to find it 134 Main Road, Corner Windsor and Main Roads, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Ohana Café

Ohana Cafe Kalk Bay

When popular coffee shop C’est La Vie closed its doors, locals and discerning coffee lovers were left bereft.… until this vegan-friendly café and bakery opened in its stead. Situated a stone’s throw away from the lapping waves of the rocky Kalk Bay shore, it’s now a favourite for day visitors, out-of-towners and locals seeking a light bite, good coffee, or a cold-pressed juice. In addition to all-day breakfasts and freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries, it also serves a selection of healthy wraps, salads, quiches and sandwiches. Casually clad tables line the wooden deck under sun-shielding umbrellas for diners during warm days, and in winter, the large glassed-in interior is the perfect spot to soak up the scene.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 4pm
Contact 072 756 9055, ohanakbay@gmail.com
Where to find it 23 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

SALT

Salt Kalk Bay

Located alongside the buzzing Olympia Café & Deli, this rather lovely small-plates joint on the Kalk Bay strip deserves a visit. Conceived, owned and run by 25-year-old Nic Macleod, who is as hospitable as he is unflappable, this buzzy 50-seater has nailed the “health food made tasty” concept. Grab a seat at the street-and-harbour-facing counter and enjoy a lazy breakfast or lunch, or reserve a table inside for a fun-fuelled dinner.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6.30am – 11pm
Contact 021 788 3992
Where to find it 136 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Satori

Satori Kalk Bay

This cosy Italian restaurant on the Main Road (opposite the bustling Brass Bell) is a popular spot for hungry diners seeking delicious, thin-based pizzas, tasty pastas – or even a whole fish! With an emphasis on close-knit neighbourhood in a laid-back environment, Satori is no stranger to romantic dinner dates, family lunches, casual midweek meals and everything in between. Place your order, then challenge your table mates to one of the board games provided, while you wait for your meals to arrive.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11.30am – 10pm
Contact 021 788 1123, cjglob@mweb.co.za
Where to find it 76 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Cape to Cuba

Cape to Cuba Kalk Bay
Isabella Ibba

This vibey beachside cocktail bar is inspired by Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, with a few nods to rum-drinking American novelist Ernest Hemingway on the side. It serves a wonderful selection of Mexican tapas and cool cocktails, to be enjoyed at the quirky-cool tables or with your toes in the sand at the beach-reminiscent bar overlooking the colourful harbour boats and seascape. So laidback is the locale that even the thunder of the Kalk Bay train as it occasionally whizzes past becomes just another aspect of its unique character, rather than a disruption.
Opening times Monday – Thursday, 11am – 11pm
Friday – Sunday, 11am – 12am
Contact 021 788 1566, kalkbay@capetocuba.com
Where to find it 165 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Lekker

Lekker Kalk Bay

As its name suggests, this buzzy restaurant on the Kalk Bay strip is rather nice. A proudly South African spot, Lekker serves fresh and simple food inspired by a number of local cultures, in a lovely laid-back environment. With its magical views of the harbour and bustling Kalk Bay street life, together with a friendly atmosphere and excitable diners looking to broaden their horizon, enjoying a meal here is a pleasure at any time of day, be it a quick breakfast, lazy lunch or casual dinner.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6.15am – 9pm
Contact 021 788 3424, kalkbay@lekkerkalkbay.co.za
Where to find it 106 Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Where to Shop in Kalk Bay

Catacombes

Catacombes Kalk Bay

Like most shops in Kalk Bay, this boho-boutique offers more than meets than eye. Located across the street from the train station, Catacombes puts the hippy into hipster – and vice versa – featuring individually inspired styles from around the world. Think antique Indian handbags, Mexican-print jeans, Peruvian pom-pom-adorned shoes, silk saris, and Middle Eastern kaftan-inspired beachwear, displayed alongside locally made arts and crafts, evening dresses, and handmade jewellery.
Contact 021 788 8889, catacombes.kb@gmail.com
Where to find it 71 Mellville House, Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Casa Boho

Casa Boho Kalk Bay

If you’re crazy for ceramics and homeware stores are your heaven on earth, then this well-curated lifestyle locale is right up your alley. You’ll find everything from locally crafted Mungo You’ll find everything from locally crafted Mungo throws and towels, hand block-printed linen and table cloths, 100% organic beauty products, and handmade Moroccan lamps to wool, jute and hemp rugs, contemporary ceramics, handmade kitchen products, and Marrakech-imported leather bags under one wander-filled roof.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 021 709 0309, info@ohsoboho.co.za
Where to find it 108 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Books

Kalk Bay Books
Pamela Sendee

What is quite possibly the bookshop with the best (sea) views in South Africa, if not the world, Kalk Bay Books offers a lovely, cosy atmosphere for literature-lovers to dive into their favourite reads or simply browse the shelves. It’s also the only spot on this side of the mountain that hosts discussions, book launches, and author appearances, all of which you can sit back, relax and enjoy from the comfort of a comfy leather sofa – with a glass of red vino in hand. More like Kalk Bay Bliss.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 021 788 2266, books@kalkbaybooks.co.za
Where to find it 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Artvark Gallery

Artvark Gallery Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is a veritable enclave for Cape Town’s creative flock. Strolling the streets, you’re likely to hear the whir of a potter’s wheel or the thud of a hammer in a jeweller’s shop. One such place is the popular Artvark Gallery, where local artist exhibitions are hosted alongside a shop full of African-themed prints, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, jewellery, and steelwork available for purchase.
If you’re looking to leave with a small souvenir, visit the Gallery Shop for a selection of memorabilia.
Opening times Winter (May to end October): Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Summer (November – end April): 9am – 6pm
Contact 021 788 5584, artvark@iafrica.com
Where to find it 48 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Co-op

Kalk Bay Co-op
a Love Supreme

This collaborative space will satisfy all of your shopping desires in a matter of footsteps, featuring an expansive collection of clothing, arts and crafts, jewellery, homeware and much, much more from an ever-changing group of talented local designers. The individually curated sections make for easy browsing.
Opening times Winter: Monday – Sunday 9am-5pm
Summer: Monday – Sunday 9am-6pm
Contact 021 788 1334, coop1@kalkbaycoop.co.za
Where to find it 100 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Global beads

Global Beads Kalk Bay

This slightly smaller sister of the bead giant in Durbanville is a jewellery-maker’s dream. Situated down a quaint sidestreet alley opposite The Brass Bell, this charming store features a selection of imported beads, chandelier crystals, semi-precious stones, sterling silver, shell beads, recycled glass beads, wooden beads, necklace and bracelet chains – and anything else you could possibly need to make a masterpiece. It’s the perfect spot for professionals as well as first-time beaders, looking to flex their creative muscles.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Contact 021 976 8091
Where to find it 80B Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Kalk Bay Garden Shop

Kalk Bay Garden Shop

This small but sweet seaside nursery nestled alongside the Kalk Bay train tracks offers a beautiful selection of potted plants and herbs, colourful flowers, hanging plants, fun accessories, basic tools and welcoming, smiling service. If you’re in the area, pop in for a browse, or fill your trolley with a selection of greenery to add to your home garden.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 060 446 4544
Where to find it 67 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Papagayo

Papagayo Shop Kalk BayKnown for its crazy-cool (and undeniably quirky) selection of imported clothing, handicrafts, and textiles, this funky store is somewhat of a Kalk Bay icon. The large space is packed wall-to-wall with colourful, eclectic backpacks, purses, shoes, peplum pants, jewellery, lanterns, glass, hacky-sacks, and more, made from exotic patterned fabrics. One visit to Papagayo, and your friends and family will wonder whether you spent the day in Kalk Bay or Mongolia.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
Contact 021 788 1923
Where to find it 1 Belmont Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town

Research by Kent Cloete, Nikki Benatar, Matthew Flax, Annabel Short and Michelle de Bruin

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 15 August 2018

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4 Responses to “The 27 Best Things To Do in Kalk Bay 2018”

  1. Alistair Kannemeyer

    The Holy Trinity Anglican church in Kalk Bay is a must-see. The church is in existence for more than 140 years.

    Reply
  2. Olga Minnie

    Beste kos en kurios in Kaapstad.

    Reply
  3. Rubey

    ‘Some’ of the best things to do in K’bay – The real magic and character of K’bay lies between many of these very well known names.

    Reply
  4. Ann Leslie

    Kalk Bay Quarter for fabulous local jewellery, clothing, pottery, deco, and second hand books.

    Reply