What to see, eat, and do in Kalk Bay
I've just spent two weeks escaping the deep dark winter in the UK for the early summer of Cape Town in South Africa - specifically in the harbour town of Kalk Bay, which sits on the Indian Ocean side of the peninsula where the sea is slightly warmer (allegedly) than the Atlantic side.
Why Kalk Bay?
We opted to stay in the quieter Kalk Bay rather than in the busy Centre of Cape Town for a few reasons, but the primary reasons where that it put us in a picturesque small town to wake up to every morning and we were only a 30 minute walk away from the Penguin colony in Simon's Town which is a delightful novelty to have on your door step.
It was also a nice opportunity to spend an extended period outside a city setting, where everything you need is on your door step and your surrounded by natural landmarks rather than buildings.
While in Kalk Bay we would be staying in the Chartfield Guesthouse, who I cannot say enough about. Our 'room' was a little cottage with an external shared kitchen, an open plan, en suite bathroom which consisted of a giant bath, shower and interestingly, a sofa. The staff were always happy to help and give insight on what to do and where to go. They also brought you a complimentary coffee of your choice in the morning if you wished - which being the addict I am was a lovely touch. I think we got a bit of an upgrade because the room was much better than what we deserved based on the money we payed, so if by any chance you book the Chartfield Guesthouse try and get the "Little Pearl" room.
Whats on in Kalk Bay?
Kalk Bay is a quiet little town, which happens to be fairly sleepy but has enough going on so that you don't have to travel out to have fun if you don't fancy it. Walking round is a pleasure and at no point do you feel unsafe (its worth noting at this point actually, at no point during our two weeks in Cape Town did me or my partner ever feel unsafe.), there is a small beach which is just off the harbour which seems to be used by the locals rather than tourists and if you walk around to the actual harbour you will see a selection of restaurants which are all pretty good and a collection of Cape Fur Seals who seem to spend their day accosting the fishermen for a freebie - there is a particularly chubby and grumpy, who I didn't actually see spend in the time in the water, I'm a big fan of him.
There is a pretty cool little pop-up market which is open 6 days a week, which has a top bar in it, with a very nice selection of beers and even Gin and Tonic on Tap which wen't down a treat with my partner. There is a also a number of food stalls including a couple of Mexican options, and Indian stall and a burger bar, so most tastes are catered for! We had one rainy day while in Kalk Bay and watching the world go by from the bar with a beer didn't feel like a wasted day at all!
While I'm talking about drinking and bars there is the awesome Cape to Cuba which offers up live music, cocktails and food - with an obvious Latin feel the rum is always flowing and on the weekend it looks like a lot of locals make their way to Cape to Cuba for an afternoon piss up - its probably the only 'tourist trap' in Kalk Bay but it's a great spot for a quiet drink or a big night, just depending on what time you go.
There is also a small theatre in Kalk Bay, I didn't really expect to spend an evening here when I was researching things to do but we decided to buy tickets for one of our last nights to have dinner and then watch the show "Caliente", which is unfortunately only running until 20th January 2018. This was more for my partner but I loved it to be fair, the guys were all talented as hell and the show was really well written and performed - with a good mix of humour and self-awareness, enough that I even managed to enjoy modern dance!
Kalk Bay might not be for everyone in their late 20's but there is enough going on and your only 15 minutes in a Uber away from the surfing paradise of Muizenburg to enjoy a proper night out and get to wake up in a small fishing town on the backdrop of a mountain range which has coffee, fresh fish and cheap beer in abundance.
Restaurants in Kalk Bay
There is no shortage of places to eat in Kalk Bay, and the majority are of a very high quality - as you would expect they all have an abundance of fresh seafood on the menu - with the British staple fish and chips being a particular favourite across the whole peninsula. Our accommodation, Chartfield Guesthouse does a really good breakfast option, which is open to non-guest if you just happen to be in the area, and Cafe Olympia would be my other big pick for breakfast - on that note, just something I noticed, everywhere in Cape Town seems to nail crispy bacon!
One must try in Kalk Bay is Kalky's which again, specialises in good old fish and chips, its not something I have a lot in the UK but Kalky's absolutely nail it. As fresh as you could ever hope for and not too greasy and you can order with a side of calamari, something everyone's local chippy could do to introduce. Price wise Kalky's is below the average in Kalk Bay and represents excellent value for money. it was a real experience to sit outside eating fish and chips while watching some seals swimming about the harbour.
The only restaurant we ate at in Kalk Bay which I wouldn't recommend eating at is the Brass Bell, by no means rubbish but way below the standard of the rest of the town - however its a decent place for a drink and has regular live music on, that's where their strength lies - top tip though, they charged the same for single or double spirits so fill your boots!
I didn't mean this post to become a love letter to Kalk Bay, but I honestly did fall in love with it. If anyone is familiar with my neck of the woods, Kalk Bay is basically Hebden Bridge-on-sea. Even if you don't think this is the perfect spot to stay in Cape Town, you'd be mad not to pass through and stop for a beer and a bite to eat!
Cheers for reading,