Kalk Bay charm
|08 September 2009
||Things to do
Stumbling across Kalk Bay, writes Sumeera Dawood, is like discovering a secret village hidden from the world.
My guest house is perched on a mountain, and overlooks most of the town: the narrow, cobbled pathways, the yesteryear-styled shops, the sets of steep steps leading to the houses, the colourful minaret peeking out, the streams trickling down. To my right, Muslim men with white headgear are making their way to the green mosque for Friday prayers. My eyes trace the outline of boats trailing in and out of the harbour, always in and out, in and out. There are people on the pier. Fishermen. Fish splayed out on the ground - for sale. Seagulls glide along.
Truth be told, Kalk Bay is more than just an ol’ sleepy fishing village on the False Bay coast: sure, it has been home to a community of fishermen since 1806, but there’s nothing sleepy or mediocre about it A sense of quiet vibrancy exudes from the place – and from where I’m sitting, it is no surprise that an array of artists and mavericks prefer to stay here.
Needless to say, Kalk Bay’s main road is lined with art galleries, independent fashion labels, deco boutiques and interesting sidewalk-cafes. Some shops offer an explosion of colour and luxurious fabrics, while others offer sensational culinary experiences. Being a ‘slow movement’ foodie, there are numerous restaurants to choose from where staff are helpful and understand that good food needs to be eaten slowly. For seafood enthusiasts, The Brass Bell and Kalkies are must-see-and-eat lunch stops.
Things to do in Kalk Bay:
1. Fish with the locals
Experience the life of a local fisherman by going out to sea to catch fish with them. On the tour, you will be taught to fish using a hand line – Kalk Bay is the oldest traditional hand line fishing harbour in South Africa. A full day event, remember to bring with warm clothing as it gets bone-chillingly cold out at sea, and the tour with cost you about R300. Contact www.bookcapetown.com for more information.
2. Take a stroll to the harbour
Kalk Bay harbour, built in 1918, is a must-see. Locals haggle with quick-witted fishermen over the price of just-offloaded fish as new trawlers come in, and further on men teach their sons to hand line fish off the pier. Eat where the locals eat at the harbour and then take a leisurely walk down the pier to work all that good food down.
3. Go caving!
If you’re adventurous at heart, explore a labyrinth of caves in the mountains. The most popular of all Kalk Bay caves, Boomslang, penetrates through a ridge for 146 metres – and the hike up to this point offers breathtaking views of False Bay. Other caves in the area include Central Grotto, Johles Cave, Noonday Rest, Nellie’s Pool, Six Moles Cave and Pollie’s Cave.
4. Indulge in some whale-watching
Between June and October each year, an estimated 3 000 whales make their way to the False Bay area to calve – before heading off to the Antarctic where they will spend their summer. Take a stroll on the coastal boardwalk to watch pods of whales float and dip, or better yet, park your car on Boyes Drive, as the locals do, where it’s even easier to spot these gentle giants.
5. Take a walk back in time
Delve into the Cape’s history by visiting a few of the town’s historical buildings. The Holy Trinity Church was built in 1873 by John Gainsford, and it still has its original, Victorian architecture-styled windows. The Jamia mosque in Gordon Road is over 100 years old and is the smallest in the Peninsula, serving a jamaa’ or congregation of 150 people. There is also the neo-gothic style Old Dutch Reformed Church - built in 1875 - which is well worth a visit.