15 Top Things To Do In Kalk Bay
Are you ready to explore & experience Kalk Bay in the ultimate way?!
Named one of ‘The 12 Coolest Neighbourhoods Around The World’ by Forbes magazine in July 2018, out ranking major global heavy hitters and top-of-their-game international travel destinations like London’s Soho and New York’s Greenpoint, the cool and quirky seaside village of Kalk Bay is at the very top of its game and definitely lives up to all the hype!
Located along the vibrant False Bay coastline, this ocean-front fishing village is jam-packed with bohemian bric-a-brac shops, vintage bookstores, art and antique galleries, quaint cafés and restaurants, colorful fishing vessels, cool surfing spots, epic caves, thrilling hiking trails, action-packed adventure experiences, a bustling harbor, magnificent marine life, an eclectic mix of historic buildings, cobbled streets, breath-taking ocean and mountain views, and tons of hidden gems, secret spots, and one-of-a-kind finds. Guess what? That’s merely scratching the surface of what this captivating coastal town has to offer.
It’s no surprise Kalk Bay’s irresistible charm and undeniable allure, scenic beauty, countless natural wonders, bold and daring adventurous spirit, vibrant everyone-is-welcome energy, and cool and quirky seaside village charisma and magic has captured the hearts of locals and tourists from across the world. One thing is for certain, Kalk Bay offers visitors one of the most unique experiences and you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else quite like it in the entire Western Cape.
With so much to do, see, explore, discover, and experience, the charming coastal town of Kalk Bay should undoubtedly be high up (or even right at the top) of your Cape Town travel destination bucket list!
To ensure you have the best experience possible, we’ve put together a list of the 15 top things to do in Kalk Bay. Now get out there and live your best Kalk Bay life!
#1 Eat & enjoy local fish & chips at Kalky’s
Home to one of the best (if not THE best) local harborfront fish and chips spots in the entire Western Cape, grabbing a bite to eat at the famous Kalky’s is without a doubt one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay – In fact, it is an absolute MUST!
This fan-favorite fish and chips gem is all about ‘local is lekker’ – Kalky’s only sources and serves the freshest local fish, prepared the REAL local way, by true Cape Town locals. To take it a step further, it is wrapped the traditional old-school way, in a newspaper of course, and served with the perfect amount of salt and vinegar (because that’s the way we do it in the Cape). We have absolutely NO doubt that you’ll be savoring every single bite – That’s a promise!
The most popular dishes at Kalky’s are their battered hake and chips or snoek and chips, however their calamari, kingklip, yellowtail, and prawns are down-right delicious and right up there with the very best of them. With absolutely everything on their menu being top-notch and beyond delicious you can’t go wrong, regardless of what you choose to order. Pair this with a beautiful False Bay and Kalk Bay harbourfront view, it’s pure seaside bliss!
When it comes to Kalky’s cool and charismatic harbourfront setting, you better believe it is every bit as authentic as its mouth-wateringly delicious local fish and chips. Kalky’s is the real deal in EVERY way – No fancy trimmings, no experimental and inventive flavor combinations, just good ol’ back-to-basics fish and chips and fresh seafood options enjoyed in a laid-back, warm, and welcoming setting with a big display menu on the wall listing all the fresh and tasty options for the day and plastic-covered tables where you can sit back, relax, and tuck right in. Not to mention its chilled, yet equally vibrant atmosphere, that surrounds you – what more could you possibly ask for?
Beyond being one of Cape Town’s top attractions and famed Kalk Bay institutions, Kalky’s is casual value-for-money eating for the whole family at its very best!
- Where to find it: Kalky’s | Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 8pm
- Contact details: 021 788 1726 | [email protected]
#2 Take a dip in the famous Dalebrook Tidal Pool
Nestled between St James and Kalk Bay lies this often overlooked, yet equally popular among those who know it well, tidal pool. Deemed one of the most beautiful tidal pools along the False Bay coastline, as it seamlessly melds into the ocean, taking a dip in the famed Dalebrook Tidal Pool is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Kalk Bay for both the young and young at heart!
Besides its prime location, and cool and ultra-refreshing water, especially on a scorching hot summer’s day in Cape Town, the Dalebrook Tidal Pool is surrounded by a few giant granite boulders, which is perfect for sunbathing and soaking up the glorious Mother City sunshine. Not to mention the view is absolutely breath-taking!
The low wall between the Dalebrook tidal pool and the ocean allows for a seamless flow of water between the two. This ensures that the water is kept clean at all times with a constant flow of new, fresh water breaking over the wall’s edge.
Wait! There’s more! The Dalebrook Tidal Pool is also one of the best places in Cape Town to spot marine life. Be sure to keep an eye out for any of the Mother City’s Marine Big5 – dolphins, whales, Cape Fur Seals, African Penguins, and the Mola Mola Sunfish.
- Where to find it: Off Main Road, Dalebrook, Cape Town | To get to it, simply walk along the subway under the railway line.
#3 Get Ice-Cream from the Ice Café
You cannot go to Kalk Bay and not stop by the iconic Ice Café for some melt-in-your-mouth, flavor-bursting, silky smooth, down-right delicious, leave-you-wanting-more, knock-your-socks-right-off ice cream – there is just NO way! Located on Kalk Bay’s Main Road, this cool spot has become a real fan-favorite and not-to-be-missed Kalk Bay attraction among both locals and tourists alike primarily due to their famous homemade ice cream. Made using a secret family recipe consisting of natural ingredients, no eggs or gelatine, you can expect to enjoy the most indulgent and flavor-filled ice-cream you’ve ever had – YES! It’s that good! And no, we’re NOT exaggerating!
Some of the Ice Café’s famous ice cream flavors include, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Black Forest (with real cherries, chocolate cake and cream), Liquorice, Coffee, Coconut, and LOADS more – ensuring there is something for absolutely everyone to savor and enjoy. All of Ice Café’s ice creams are served either in a sugar cone or a cup (the choice is yours), which can be enjoyed while strolling along Kalk Bay’s quirky, captivating, and cool seaside streets.
If we haven’t convinced you yet, this might just do the trick – In addition to the Ice Café’s selection of beyond delicious and flavor-filled homemade ice cream, they are well known for giving ice cream lovers HUGE scoops of ice cream (they’re just generous like that), at an unbelievably affordable price. Another great thing about Kalk Bay’s Ice Café is the fact that they love to keep things fresh, interesting, and exciting by changing and introducing new fresh ice cream flavors daily. They are also incredibly environmentally conscious, encouraging customers to return plastic spoons and utilizing paper tubs only.
Its safe to say that enjoying an ice cream from the iconic Ice Café is by far one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay on any visit.
- Where to find it:93 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Sunday – Thursday: 9.15am – 6pm | Friday – Saturday: 9am – 6.30pm
- Contact: 021 788 4816
#4 Go Surfing!
Are you ready 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? Boasting consistent, left-breaking waves, with occasional savage barrels, Kalk Bay has been known to attract avid local and global surfers from all around the world.
The Kalk Bay reef, located along the False Bay Coastline, is in an exposed reef break. Although this epic surfing hotspot is deemed a world class reef break under the right conditions, surfers are advised to be extra careful of the reef and its often-unpredictable conditions. This Kalk Bay surfing hotspot is best suited to more experienced surfers.
**Tip + How to get there: While 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 maneuver, 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.
#5 Enjoy an evening at the Kalk Bay Theatre
The Kalk Bay Theatre is a 78-seater theatre / restaurant located in the old Kalk Bay DR church, built in 1876 and is a heritage protected building. This remarkable historic building has been lovingly converted into an intimate theatre with the restaurant on the upper floor. The Kalk Bay Theatre offers visitors a unique night of entertainment. Dinner, theatre, and quality time with friends and family all under the same roof.
- Where to find it: 52 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Contact details: 021 788 7257 | [email protected]
#6 Go on the famed Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre Hike
If you’re an avid hiker, eager explorer, or simply looking to do something fun and thrilling, going on an adventure-filled hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre is by far one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay.
Its no secret that Cape Town is known for its stunning vistas and magnificent landscape, however an entirely different side to the Mother City is showcased on the walk /hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre.
Starting off on Boyes Drive just above St James, the trail covers approximately 6km 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 and serenity the Cape and this scenic and equally exciting hiking trail has to offer.
While the hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre does require a bit of hard hiking graft and a moderate level of fitness, you will be well rewarded for your incredible hiking efforts with spectacular views over Kalk Bay, the entire False Bay coastline, as well as the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range in the distance.
- Where to find it: Starts in Boyes Drive, St James, False Bay Coast, Cape Town
- Best time to go: Daylight hours
- Hiking distance: +/- 6km
- Total hiking time: 3 – 4 hours
- Cost: Free
#7 Visit & take a stroll along the Kalk Bay Harbour
The renowned Kalk Bay Harbor is a beloved landmark that forms an integral part of Kalk Bay’s history. In addition to its grand landmark status and being one of Kalk Bay’s top attractions, taking a leisurely stroll along the Kalk Bay Harbor has become a firm family and fan-favorite activity on a lovely sunny day in Cape Town.
Strolling and exploring the iconic Kalk Bay Harbor is especially popular among the kiddos as there is always something cool and interesting to do and see. One of the best things is seeing their little faces light up with pure joy and excitement as they watch the Cape Fur Seals swimming, sunbathing, and playing around in the water.
Along with the vibrant False Bay coastline, the Kalk Bay Harbor has established itself as the main hub and hangout spot for the beloved members of Cape Town’s Marine Big5 (dolphins, whales, Cape Fur Seals, African Penguins, and the Mola Mola Sunfish). This means visitors can expect to enjoy incredible marine life and Cape Fur Seal sightings, with these charming and playful ocean locals often draped over the pier walls.
You can also enjoy seeing the fishing boats docking and the fish traders praising their catch. The sights, smells and refreshing sea air are nothing less than spectacular. There are many traders in the area, selling a variety of interesting goods and there is always an amazing atmosphere when walking around Kalk Bay.
Your lovely and laid-back stroll along the pier and Kalk Bay Harbor should without a doubt be topped off with a visit to one of the many street-lined seaside cafés or restaurants to enjoy some traditional ocean-front fish and chips, sensational seafood, or whatever your heart desires. Paired with a sensational ocean view and potential marine life sightings, how could you possibly resist?
- Where to find it: 167 Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- When: Open all day
- Cost: Free
~ Kalk Bay Lighthouse ~
**Extra Tip: Make sure you visit the famous Kalk Bay Lighthouse when going to the harbor! The Kalk Bay harbor 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 watching the stunning sunset over False Bay or enjoying some relaxed evening ambles.
In winter, it sheds its laidback armor, 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!
- Where to find it: Main Road, Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Contact details: 021 487 6800 | [email protected] (Cape Town Tourism)
#8 Go cave exploring | Boomslang Cave
Are you keen to add some excitement and thrill to your Kalk Bay experience? Look no further! If you’re up for an exhilarating adventure, going cave exploring is by far one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay any time of the year!
Believe it or not, there are several caves worth exploring in and around the mountains of Kalk Bay. Kalk Bay’s variety of caves and hiking trails range from beginner to more advanced – this gives absolutely everyone the opportunity to join in on the epic Kalk Bay cave exploring fun!
The infamous Boomslang Cave is definitely one of the best (and certainly a top local fan-favorite) Kalk Bay hiking trail and cave to visit and explore. It is great for novice hikers, keen adventurers, and families looking to enjoy an exciting adventure experience. 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 your ultimate destination – Boomslang Cave.
Hold on, you’re not done yet! In fact, 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 up 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 you emerge / come out on the other side of Boomslang Cave.
Once you make your way through the cave you will be extremely well rewarded for you efforts and daring adventurous spirit with breath-taking views over the Noordhoek valley and False Bay Coastline – Be sure to take in every single second of the magnificent view!
**Boomslang Cave Hiking Details**
- Starting point: Boyes Drive | Echo Valley
- End point: Boomslang Cave above Kalk Bay
- Route distance: +/- 3.9 km
- Average hiking / climbing time: +/- 2 – 3 hours (depending on your fitness & experience level)
- Level of difficulty: Easy
- Fitness level required: Low – Moderate level of fitness required
Check out our ‘Boomslang Cave Hike’ blog for everything you need to know about this not-to-be-missed cave and hiking adventure.
**Note: If you’re thinking of tackling one of Kalk Bay’s more daunting caves, it is important to familiarize yourself with the environment beforehand to avoid getting lost or wandering too far off the beaten bath. It is also a great idea and highly advised that you take someone knowledgeable and experienced along that knows the area well.
#9 Go to the Brass Bell
Situated on the edge of the iconic tidal pools, adjacent to the Kalk Bay Harbor, The acclaimed Brass Bell Restaurant is regarded as somewhat of a local Kalk Bay institution, boasting one of the most magnificent settings. In fact, the Brass Bell Restaurant was designed to maximize its unique and breath-taking position / location right on the edge of the water, providing visitors with the most spectacular panoramic views of the ocean, False Bay coastline, and the Kalk Bay Harbor.
The Brass Bell’s layout consists of a stunning general seating area as well as the legendary Brass Bell Bikini Deck and Pavilion which are positioned mere meters above the ocean at high tide – how unbelievable is that? Making it the picture-perfect place to enjoy a meal or a few sundowner cocktails, which the restaurant is renowned for.
The restaurant specializes in all sorts of Sea Foods along with a delicious selection of pizzas, burgers, curries, and so much more (ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy), HOWEVER, there is no denying that the real attraction is its shore-hugging location.
Whether you’re looking to have an amazing meal, enjoy Brass Bell’s renowned cocktails, a glass of vino, or an ice cold beer, or simply sit back, relax, and soak up the glorious ocean-front view and stunning surroundings, going to the Brass Bell Restaurant is definitely one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay on your visit. Plus, they have live music too!
- Where to find it: Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Winter: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 11pm | Summer: Monday – Sunday, 8.30 – 11pm
- Contact details: 021 788 5455 |[email protected]
#10 Visit The Kalk Bay Fresh Etc Market
The Kalk Bay Fresh Etc Market provides locals and visitors to Kalk Bay with a variety of fresh food and drink options along with a great view of the bay. With only 20-25 stalls in this beautiful 1906 community building overlooking the ocean, the Kalk Bay Fresh Etc Market is small, intimate, and personalised, and gives visitors the great opportunity to hang out with family and friends, as well as get involved in the community and perhaps even make a few new friends and acquaintances.
The Kalk Bay Fresh Etc Market also boasts a spacious balcony, perfect for hanging out, enjoying your food and drinks, and keeping a look out for any marine life, especially whales, in the surf just a few hundred metres away.
- Where to find it: Kalk Bay Community Centre, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- When: On the 3rd Sunday of every month from 10am – 3pm
- Cost: Free to browse
- Contact details: 021 788 8088 | 083 332 9785
#11 Explore the cool, quirky & vibrant streets of Kalk Bay
There are SO MANY reasons why Kalk Bay was named one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Forbes, with its cool, quirky, colorful, and lively streets lined with arty craft shops, quaint cafés and coffee shops, cool hangouts, ocean-front cocktails spots, top-notch restaurants, cool eateries, trendy street-lined shops, garden escapes, tucked away secret spots, one-of-a-kind finds, second-hand gems, and an array of beyond talented buskers, and local musicians scattered about merely being one of the reasons for Kalk Bay’s cool status and why people love this captivating coastal town so much.
There truly is nothing quite like strolling the cool and trendy streets of Kalk Bay any time of the day or year. To top it off, in true Kalk Bay style of course, just when you think you’ve discovered it all, you’ll suddenly stumble upon another hidden gem that will make you fall head-over-heels in love with Kalk Bay all over again.
#12 Go to Cape to Cuba
This vibey beachside cocktail bar boasts a vibrant beachy feel and buzzing atmosphere all around.
Inspired by Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, with a few nods to rum-drinking American novelist Ernest Hemingway on the side, the iconic Cape to Cuba is well known for serving a wonderful selection of Mexican tapas, fabulous sharing platters, delicious pizzas prepared in an outdoor pizza oven (to mention merely a few), as well as an incredible variety of cocktails that will NOT disappoint! Why not try the classic margarita and pina colada or perhaps brave the manic mai tai or delectable chocolate cake mojito? The choice is yours!
All of this can be enjoyed at either Cape to Cuba’s inside bar which offers exquisite views of the harbor and ocean, at the restaurant which is a delightful place to sit and enjoy a more intimate meal away from the buzzing bar’s hustle and bustle, or at the beautiful beach themed outside area (which boasts thatched lapas) with your toes and feet wedged in between the sand, overlooking the Kalk Bay Harbor, its vast and colorful boats, and magnificent seascape and False Bay coastline.
The must-visit Cape to Cuba is the ultimate laid-back locale – so much so that even the thunder of the Kalk Bay train as it occasionally whizzes past becomes just another aspect of its unique character.
- Where to find it:165 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 2am
- Contact details: 021 788 1566 | [email protected]
#13 Visit the Olympia Café & Deli
This rustic café & deli situated on the Main Road is probably, if not definitely, the most popular café and deli in this cool boho seaside suburb – not to mention the potential reason why Kalk Bay locals wake up in the morning – Undoubtedly making going to the renowned Olympia Café & Deli one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay.
Renowned for its freshly baked pastries, breads, and sweet treats, indulgent, swoon-worthy, sweep-you-off-your-feet coffee selection, its famous blackboard menu of breakfasts, decadent deli style lunches, and amazing dinner options and specials that change daily, as well as a cool and charming hidden bakery around the corner – the Olympia Café & Deli is a not-to-be-missed experience!
To sum it up, the Olympia Café & Deli is a bustling, vibrant, welcoming, and high energy seaside café that has loudly and proudly established itself as a true Kalk Bay institution among food and coffee lovers from around the globe.
**Tip: Due to its wild popularity, the Olympia Café & Deli can get EXTREMELY busy. If you don’t want to queue for a table, we highly recommend you get there early to secure your spot, as this is one Kalk Bay attraction you don’t want to miss!
- Where to find it:134 Main Road, Corner Windsor and Main Roads, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Deli Restaurant: 7am – 9pm | Bakery Shop: 6.30am – 7pm
- Contact details: 021 788 6396 | [email protected]
#14 Kalk Bay Modern Gallery
The Kalk Bay Modern is an art gallery that features some of the most intriguing works from local artists. However, more than that, this contemporary gallery which aims to uplift, empower, and support local talent and developing communities is regarded by all as a shining star among the Kalk Bay cultural scene.
Visitors and art lovers can browse the vast, incredible, and unique works of art on display, ranging from San Bushmen art to a wide selection of photographs, textiles, and even homemade jewelry. There truly is no better representation of the bold, wild, and free creative spirit that flows throughout the cool, charismatic, and quirky seaside town of Kalk Bay than this hidden gem – The Kalk Bay Modern Gallery. Its safe to say that paying this one-of-a-kind gallery a visit is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Kalk Bay!
**Note: The Kalk Bay Modern Gallery is open every day and is located above the famous Olympia Café.
- Where to find it: Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
- Contact details: 021 788 6571 | [email protected]
#15 Spend the day on Danger Beach
Who is ready for a beautiful, blissful, sun-kissed beach day?
If you dare to wander slightly outside of the hype and hustle of the city of Cape Town, you’ll discover some of the most beautiful destinations, glorious hidden gems and natural wonders, and several seaside towns bursting at the seams with charm and character. St James and Kalk Bay are two of these treasures, and also happen to be the homes of the one-and-only Danger Beach! Don’t let the name scare, fool, or intimidate you for 1 second as it simply refers to the rip tides and massive waves which this secret beach has become known for.
Danger Beach is great for swimming, surfing (for those that are comfortable in the ocean), lazy strolls on the warm sand, flanked by the mountains and False Bay, sunset watching, as well as various water sports; including surfing, body surfing, and stand-up paddling.
For the little ones or those that aren’t quite up to braving the ocean waves just yet, there is a small tidal pool located on one side of the beach for all the kiddos to enjoy. Children will also love playing in the sand and building castles, all while surrounded by the unspoiled prettiness of the Western Cape. There is something for absolutely everyone to enjoy at Danger Beach in Kalk Bay.
**Tips + How to get there: Danger Beach is close to the train station at St James and is a short walk from the quirky street-lined shops and restaurants of Kalk Bay. It is accessible via the subway that runs under the railway. There are toilet facilities available at the beach, as well as parking. Lifeguards are on duty during peak times. Pets are not permitted, unless they are service animals (such as guide dogs for those that are visually impaired).
- Where to find it: Danger Beach, Between Kalk Bay and St James, False Bay, Cape Town
- When: Best during daylight hours
- Cost: Free
Here are some more great things to do in Kalk Bay:
- Dine at Kalk Bay Expresso
- Hike & explore Tartarus Cave
- Go to the Adult Puppet Theatre
- Visit the famed Kalk Bay Books
- Explore & discover everything the Cook’s Room has to offer
- Visit the French creperie ‘Excuse my French’
- Dine & watch the waves crash at Polana – A Morrocan-inspired restaurant
- Visit the Kalk Bay Park
- Harbour House Kalk Bay
- Shop at Casa Boho
- Artvark Gallery
- Visit the Kalk Bay Garden Shop
- Explore and shop at Quagga Rare Books & Art
- Enjoy a cup of coffee & bite to eat at the Courtyard Café