Cape Town’s Kalk Bay Harbour is an authentic lively working harbour and one of the best places to buy fresh fish straight off the boat. Here you can walk the pier, take in the sights of the colourful boats and get acquainted with the rather friendly seals that play in the waters hoping for scraps to be dropped from a boat.
A picturesque harbour, it’s best to visit in the morning when the community comes together to welcome the fishing boats back with their daily catch, and a lively market scene unfolds. Walk down to the lighthouse and take a look across False Bay, or towards to town.
Lying between the ocean and mountainous heights with crags of grey Table Mountain Sandstone, Kalk Bay is a popular destination and draws locals, and ofreignesrs to it’s theatre, book shop and incredibly good shopping, as well as may cafes and restuarnts.
A literal translation from the Dutch name “Kalkbaai” is “Lime Bay” and is derived from the vast deposits of mussel shells found here, which early settlers burned to make lime for construction. Lime kilns to roast mussel shells are still found along the west coast. The railway from the central business district of Cape Town to Simon’s Town passes through Kalk Bay and in some places the line is only metres from the water’s edge. The harbour’s Foundation Stone for the harbour was laid in 1913.
Kalk Bay is also home to the tiny but locally famous surf spot named “Kalk Bay Reef”. This is renowned for heavy barrels and the associated shallow reef. It is best surfed on a big south-easterly swell or a north west wind.
THE ESSENTIAL DETAILS.
- Location: False By between St James and Fishhoek
- The train from Cape Town to Simonstown arrives right here.
- At the harbour look out for bokkom, dried fish, drying in the wind.
- There are numerous restaurants overlooking the water’s edge. Harbour House, Kalky’s and The Brass Bell, which has a tidal pool perfect for the kids.
- For shopping look to the local Kalk Bay co-op of artisans, vintage stores, art galleries, jewellery stores and bric-a-brac.
Friendly seal at play in the blue waters.
Bokkom and snoek, traditional favourites, drying under the rafters.
*Part of my Cape Town Attractions Series.