Kalk Bay is a fishing village on the coast of the Western Cape’s False Bay with a very different ‘vibe’ to the capital, Cape Town. This gives sellers a unique product to sell to clients coming to South Africa. Liesl Venter finds out more.

The biggest benefit of Kalk Bay, says Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, is probably that it is independently known internationally, and was listed by Forbes as one of the ‘world’s coolest neighbourhoods’.

Situated on the False Bay coastline, it is about 35 minutes’ drive from Cape Town city centre and is an easy self-drive destination. Parking is, however, limited and ridesharing to the village is gaining popularity.  Another option is taking the Southern Line train that runs from Cape Town Station to Simon’s Town daily from 06h00 to 22h00. The trip offers good views of False Bay – there are more than 20 stops on this line including Kalk Bay.  Several tour operators, such as Cut Above Travel & Tours, also provide scenic tours of Kalk Bay.

While it plays an integral part in Cape Town’s overall tourism offering, it is a unique seaside escape that is renowned for its retro, quirky feel and slightly slower pace. “It has a raw beauty, interesting shops, a vast selection of restaurants and stunning views,” says Duminy. “You could easily spend a full day in this little neighbourhood and still not be able to experience it all.”

The village boasts loads of accommodation, including excellent bed and breakfasts and guesthouses as well as several self-catering cottages for clients who want to spend the night. Most of these have stunning sea views.

Harbour experience

The Kalk Bay harbour is a buzz of activity with local fishermen and fish sellers, balanced with a cultural offering of local art and street sellers’ crafts. Several restaurants can be found in the area, with beautiful views of False Bay. The harbour is also home to a resident population of seals.

Buy fresh fish

Even just watching the process of local fishermen bringing in their catch and how it is prepared at the local open-air market at the harbour, is an entertaining activity, says Duminy. Colourful, rustic boats are used for the fishing hauls and are visually synonymous with the village.

Retail therapy

The village has an eclectic mix of retail offerings, from bohemian bric-a-brac shops, antiques and vintage shops, to art galleries and quaint bookshops – which can be explored while enjoying the cobbled streets and historic buildings.

Culinary offering

Kalk Bay has a range of restaurants and coffee shops, with most being easily accessible from the main road, and open from early until late at night.

Dalebrook Tidal Pool

Situated between St James and Kalk Bay, this tidal pool is easily accessible and just the place to cool down on a hot day, says Duminy. Large boulders are situated in the pool that is surrounded by a low wall, meaning fresh water from the sea flows in constantly.