Previously named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Forbes, the quirky sea-side town of Kalk Bay definitely lives up to all the hype. Located along the vibrant False Bay coastline, this ocean-front fishing village is jam-packed with tons of character, hidden gems, one-of-a-kind finds, trendy street-lined shops, quaint cafés, scenic beauty and a certain authentic charm and vibrant energy you won’t find anywhere else. You can easily spend a whole day exploring the streets of Kalk Bay and still not discover everything it has to offer.
To ensure you have the best time on your visit to this cool coastal town, we’ve put together a list of the top things to do in Kalk Bay.
#EAT FISH & CHIPS AT KALKY’S
You absolutely cannot go to Kalk Bay and not visit one of the BEST local harbourfront fish and chips spots in the entire city, Kalky’s – There’s just no way! Kalky’s is local fish and chips, made the real local way, by real Cape Town locals. Wrapped in a newspaper and served with a hefty dose of delicious salt and vinegar (because that’s the way we do it in the Cape), you’ll be savouring every single bite. Paired with a beautiful Kalk Bay harbourfront view and a few Seagulls flying about, it’s pure bliss! There’s no denying that a visit to Kalky’s is one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay.
Kalkys’ harbourfront setting is every bit as authentic as its down-right delicious fish and chips. No fancy trimmings, just a laid-back, back-to-basics eating area with a big display menu on the wall listing all the fresh and tasty options for the day.
Its time to surf the cool Kalk Bay waves! Did you know that Kalk Bay is home to one of the best surfing beaches in Cape Town? Its consistent, left-breaking waves, and occasional savage barrels have been known to attract avid local and global surfers alike.
The Kalk Bay reef, located along the False Bay Coast, is in an exposed reef break. Although this epic surfing hotspot is known as a world class reef break under the right conditions, surfers are advised to be extra careful of the reef and its often-unpredictable conditions.
**Tip + How to get there: Although Kalk Bay boasts one of the coolest surfing beaches in Cape Town, it’s also somewhat of a local hidden gem. This makes getting there quite an adventure as it requires some extra effort and killer navigation skills. Firstly, you will need to cross-over the railway line, perform a bit of a hole in the fence manoeuvre, hop onto a small sandy beach, make your way down to the infamous Brass Bell restaurant, and enter the water directly from the peak. Besides ticking a cool surfing experience off your bucket-list, the warmer Indian Ocean means you can spend more time in the water, which is always a massive bonus for any die-hard surfer.
If you’re looking to tick a few more of Cape Town’s top surfing beaches off your surfing bucket-list, have a look at our ‘Top 5 Coolest Surfing Beaches in Cape Town’ blog to find out everything you need to know about the Mother City’s coolest local surfing hotspots.
#GO CAVE EXPLORING
If you’re up for an adventure, going cave exploring is definitely one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay. There are several caves worth exploring in and around the mountains of Kalk Bay, ranging from beginner to more advanced. The infamous Boomslang Cave is definitely a fan-favourite Kalk Bay hiking trail and cave to explore. It is great for novice hikers, keen adventurers and families looking to enjoy an exciting day out. Located above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave tunnels right through the mountain – making it quite a thrilling experience to tick off your Cape Town adventure bucket-list!
**Tip + How to get there: You can either drive or take the train to Kalk Bay Train Station and head up Boyes Drive where you will find the sign for Echo Valley. This marks the start of your Boomslang Cave hike. From there it is a relatively easy climb as you follow the path through Echo valley for about an hour until you reach Boomslang Cave. Now this is where the real fun and games begin – You will need to get down on your hands and knees to enter the cave. After a bit of shuffling and navigating your way around, the cave will open into a larger chamber. As it can get pretty dark inside the cave, taking a headlamp or torch along is a great idea to help you explore the labyrinth of tunnels within the cave before coming out the other side. Once you make your way through the cave you will be well rewarded for you efforts and daring adventurous spirit with breath-taking views over the Noordhoek valley and False Bay Coastline.
If you’re thinking of tackling one of Kalk Bay’s more daunting caves, it is important to familiarise yourself with the environment beforehand to avoid getting lost or wandering too far off the beaten bath. It is also a great idea to take someone along that knows the area well.
#VISIT THE KALK BAY HARBOUR
The Kalk Bay Harbour is a beloved landmark that forms an integral part of Kalk Bay’s history. Its famous red and white striped lighthouse that sits at the end of the bustling Harbour pier, has become a must-see attraction when visiting this quirky seaside town.
The Kalk Bay Harbour is also the main hub and hangout spot for the beloved members of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5. Visitors can expect to enjoy amazing Cape Fur Seal sightings, with these charming and playful ocean locals often draped over the pier walls. Be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins and Southern Right Whales too as the False Bay Coastline is known for its incredible marine life sightings.
#TAKE A DIP IN THE DALEBROOK TIDAL POOL
Nestled between St James and Kalk Bay, the Dalebrook tidal pool is undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s top tidal pools. This makes taking a dip in the popular Dalebrook tidal pool one of the best things to do in Kalk Bay for kids and adults alike.
Besides its refreshing allure on a hot summer’s day, there are a few large boulders scattered around the tidal pool, inviting bathers to languish a little longer and catch some lovely Cape Town sunrays. The low wall between the Dalebrook tidal pool and the ocean also allows for a seamless flow of water between the two. Bathers can thus rest assured that the water is kept clean due to the constant flow of fresh water breaking over the wall’s edge.
**Tip: How to get there: To get to the Dalebrook tidal pool simply walk along the subway under the railway line. It is located just off Main Road in Dalebrook.
#EXPLORE THE QUIRKY STREETS OF KALK BAY
There’s a reason why Kalk Bay was named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Forbes, and it’s quirky streets lined with arty craft shops, quaint cafés, trendy street-lined shops, tucked away secret spots, one-of-a-kind finds, second-hand gems, cool eateries, and talented buskers, musicians and artists scattered about is just one of the reasons why. There truly is nothing quite like strolling the cool and captivating streets of Kalk Bay – Just when you think you’ve discovered it all, you’ll stumble upon another hidden gem that will make you fall head-over-heels in love with Kalk Bay all over again.
If you’re an avid hiker, going on an adventure-filled hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre is by far one of the top things to do when visiting Kalk Bay. Starting off on Boyes Drive just above St James, the trail covers approximately six kilometres and includes sections of yellowwood, Cape beech and assegai tree forests. The Amazon Forest, also known as Kroon se Bos, is located in the Echo Valley, and gives hikers the opportunity to immerse themselves in all the natural beauty this scenic hiking trail has to offer.
Although the hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre requires a bit of hard hiking graft and a moderate level of fitness, you will be well rewarded for your efforts with spectacular views over Kalk Bay, the False Bay coastline and the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range in the distance.