Hotels in and around the Kalk Bay suburb
Kalk Bay has successfully combined its fishing village charm with a distinct appreciation for arts and culture, giving it a conspicuously bohemian feel. Beautiful buildings line the main road and are home to coffee shops, art galleries, antique shops, book stores and an eclectic range of restaurants. The sea spray permeates the entire area, carrying a nostalgic sense of seaside holidays, rest and relaxation.
While Kalk Bay is considered to be a suburb of Cape Town in the Western Cape, it has become a destination in its own right. Cobbled roads and eateries on the rocks have ensured that visitors come back year after year.
The Dutch ‘discovered' the Cape in the mid-1600's. They soon learnt that this fertile land and its teeming waters had much to offer them in terms of food, minerals, natural resources and land. Simon's Town became the site of their winter anchorage every year and needed to be developed as a town for this purpose. However, bad infrastructure and dangerous roads hampered this development somewhat. Kalk Bay was established as a mini-port, which acted as the base to and from which building supplies could be shipped to Simon's Town after their transport from Cape Town to Kalk Bay on ox-wagon. Lime (or kalk) and fish were then shipped to Kalk Bay and taken back to Cape Town via wagon. Soon, this port became a bustling intermediary. Unfortunately, it also became a popular whaling spot in the early 19th Century, as Southern Rights made their appearance during spring and summer. Eventually, their numbers had depleted to such an extent that whaling had to be banned.
When slaves from all over the world were emancipated in the 1800's, many of them settled in Kalk Bay to pursue a fishing career. These ones formed the basis of the community that still occupies the region today. Fishing remains to be a major industry in the area. In addition, Kalk Bay also thrives from the shops, boutiques and its prime property, much of which boasts breath-taking sea views.
Kalk Bay is approximately 30 minutes' drive from Cape Town's city centre, depending on traffic. It is situated between the Mother City, as Cape Town is affectionately known, and other tourist hotspots like Simon's Town, Fishhoek and Cape Point, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. The roads are safe and well indicated.
Should you require a taxi, call a reputable service to organise one or request that your hotel or tour operator does this for you. Do not make use of the minibus taxis in South Africa, unless you are comfortable and familiar with local customs and languages. These are not always roadworthy, and have been notorious for their wreckless driving.
Cape Town's airport has been revamped in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. This means that it is even better equipped to handle large numbers of flights and visitors with efficiency and safety foremost in mind.
Kalk Bay has become a haven for art galleries, craft stalls, book shops, and so on. It promises hours of meaningful meandering down cobbled streets and into intriguing alleyways.
Several restaurants and bars are situated right along the beach. Diners can sip on a cold glass of champagne or nibble on local fare while watching the waves crash on the glass beside them.
Whale watching is a must for visitors between about September and December. Humpback and Southern Right whales are commonly spotted just metres off the coastline, offering locals and visitors hours of fascinating viewing as these giant mammals leap and breach in mating ritual.
Being in such close proximity to Cape Town also means that visitors may have Kalk Bay as their base from which to explore attractions such as the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain and Robben Island.
HIV / AIDS remains to be a problem in South Africa, as with many other lands around the world. Do not engage in any unprotected sex, under any circumstances. Do not assist any person that is bleeding without protective rubber gloves, and do not administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without the proper mouth covers (in case of mouth ulcers and less obvious bleeding).
Sun protection is essential when visiting South Africa, regardless of the season in which you come. Wear a high-factor cream on all exposed areas of the body. In addition, wear a sunhat and light, cotton clothing that covers the neck and shoulders, particularly during midday.
It is advised that you bring your prescriptions for spectacles and medication so that you can restock at a local pharmacy without having to consult with a doctor. Ensure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.
Kalk Bay exudes a seaside village charm. However, as with any other destination in the world, there are areas in which it is unsafe to walk. Speak to your tour operator and accommodation provider to learn about such areas and be vigilant in avoiding them. Do not walk around the town centre, isolated areas or local tourist attractions with large amounts of money on you and do not accept help from strangers. Go into the bank for assistance rather than asking those around you. Do not, under any circumstance, pick up hitchhikers.