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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Kalk Bay

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Nature, beauty and community make this 17th-century coastline village one of the 12 coolest neighbourhoods in the world. It offers exceptional property value in False Bay

Named in the 17th century for the chalk which was mined nearby, Kalk Bay became a fishing and whaling station populated by immigrant Filipino fishermen.

Earlier this year it made the Forbes list of the 12 coolest neighbourhoods around the world, joining places like Sants in Barcelona, Amsterdam Noord, District 5 in Saigon and Maboneng in Joburg.

“A seaside haven slightly removed from the bustle of Cape Town, the former fishing village Kalk Bay is attracting more than just the local surfer community,” commented Tom Marchant, founder of the luxury travel website Black Tomato.

“Blanketed with quaint cafes, rustic fishing boats and colourful storefronts, this vibrant harbour neighbourhood is recently the talk of the city. Olympia Cafe, a standby for locals, is an ideal launching pad for a day of False Bay coastline exploration. An intricate origami installation created by Kalk Bay local Sanae Sawada decorates the walls of the iconic cafe, which is just steps from the charming seal-invaded wharf.”

Communications consultant Kim Barty, who moved here from the suburbs eight years ago, says nature, beauty and community are just three reasons why Kalk Bay is home.

“Our fisherman’s cottage overlooking the harbour means we have the sea out the front door and mountain out the back. In summer we swim daily in the tidal pools and walk on the mountain all year round. We never have to leave – there are eclectic shops and galleries, an array of restaurants, all mostly run by the owners, and friends on most corners.”

While the area is a price leader in False Bay, it still offers exceptional value. – Kalk Bay Bay area specialist for Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate Ashley Barnes Picture: Supplied

The picture Barty paints of Kalk Bay features fishing boats bobbing in the harbour and seals lounging on sunny steps.

“It’s a lively working harbour and one of the best places to buy fresh fish straight off a boat,” she says. “I buy from Fariel, one of the local women who work from the harbour’s edge.

“When we arrived here, we met Abdullah, whom we affectionately refer to as the Kalk Bay mayor. He was born in the village and his family’s livelihood remains the waters of False Bay.”

Kalk Bay is the jewel in the crown of the False Bay coastline with its retro-inspired atmosphere and spectacular sea views, says area specialist for Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, Ashley Barnes.

“Artists abound in this interesting fishing community that also features quaint cafes, rustic fishing boats and colourful storefronts.”

The view of Kalk Bay Harbour from homes higher up the mountainside. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Kalk Bay has found favour with local and international buyers and offers properties ranging from lock-and-go apartments to magnificent colonial mansions which are sheltered from the prevailing summer south-easterly wind, with most offering spectacular ocean and mountain views, she adds.

“With the roadworks on Main Road completed, the area offers further appeal as it is conveniently situated with a five-minute drive over Boyes Drive, offering easy access to the M3 freeway and some of the best schools in the southern suburbs,” says Barnes.

“Kalk Bay is a small village, and as is the case with any commodity in limited supply, prices in the area have been particularly robust as demand continues to outstrip supply,” she says.

“That said, one can still find charming cottages around the R5million mark with the upper end having broken through the R20m mark some time ago. Even in the current market, prices have remained buoyant.

“The area has long been seen as a ‘holiday/ weekend’ destination, but in recent years we have seen more and more permanent residents settle in the village.

“While the area is a price leader in False Bay, it still offers exceptional value when compared with properties on the Atlantic seaboard. It is an excellent investment opportunity.”

Kim Barty’s favourite places and things to do 

What’s not to love about living in Kalk Bay? The joy of living in a fishing village is the stuff of movies and novels, plus Kalk Bay features on Forbes’ Coolest Neighbourhoods List. – Resident Kim Barty Picture: Supplied

1 Eat

A local gathering place on the Kalk Bay Strip for breakfast is SALT, after an early morning tidal pool swim. Owner Nic McLeod will welcome you warmly and remember how you take your coffee and your favourite thing on the menu. We’re regulars on a Friday night when we feast on the scrumptious tapas. Call 021 788 3992. A visit to Kalk Bay is not complete without eating at the Olympia Cafe. Whether a take-away pastry and coffee or fresh line-fish, Olympia has been feeding locals and visitors for nearly two decades. Call 021 788 6396. Fish and chips is a must in Kalk Bay – Kalky’s is a noisy, but heartfelt spot on the edge of the harbour. Call 021 788 1726.

Olympia Cafe, well known for daily-baked pastries. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

2 Drink

A Cape Town institution, the Brass Bell boasts the best views of any restaurant in the Mother City. Perfect for a beer and calamari on a hot summer’s day. Call 021 788 5455. Buy a bottle of Cabernet Franc from Kalk Bay Vineyard, believed to be the smallest and closest vineyard to the sea in South Africa. Its location gives this boutique bottle a salty quality. Owned and managed by friend and writer Karena du Plessis, I helped plant the vineyard more than 15 years ago and it’s an annual joy to join fellow residents with a pair of secateurs, to harvest the vines and breakfast in the vineyards. Call 083 448 8462.

3 Outdoors

There are five tidal pools in walking distance of Kalk Bay. My two favourites are Dalebrook, famous for high tide waves that crash over the wall; or the best-kept secret of the Brass Bell tidal pools. Lever Park, the local park, flanked by the famous Bob’s Bagels, is the heart of the village, enjoyed by ice-cream licking children in sun hats, lazy teenagers languishing on the roundabout or older folks enjoying life on display. In summer we meet friends most Friday evenings for a picnic in the park. Call 083 280 0012. The Kalk Bay mountains guarding the False Bay coast above the village offer hiking trails with views to die for, streams in summer and caves to be explored. A friend and I are in the mountains weekly. We have two sea kayaks that we garage in the harbour and there is nothing better than being out in the ocean on a beautiful day.

4 Shop

Warm wood panelling in Kalk Bay Books will cocoon you for an afternoon of reading. Owner Audrey will find you the perfect read from her hand-picked stock and I am a regular at the weekly book launches. Call 021 788 2266. The SPCA Charity Shop is a treasure chest of designer finds and vintage garb, kept well stocked by the many swallows who make Kalk Bay their home. I am not a big shopper, but Catacombes Clothing, a boho boutique is my personal favourite, whimsical ranges created by owner Eva, whose reversible halter-necks are a hit. Call 021 788 8889.


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