Another gloriously hot day in the bay – Kalk Bay, a quaint little fishing village in False Bay, around the corner from Cape Town’s iconic Table Bay.
Kalk Bay, from the Old Dutch or Afrikaans (Kalkbaai) meaning “Lime Bay”, is a name that originates from the vast deposits of mussel shells found there, which the early settlers burned to make lime for building. Old lime kilns can still be seen along the Cape west coast.
This tiny bay in the southern-most corner of Africa is protected by high sandstone cliffs behind the settlement, to which houses precariously cling. Linked by the railway to Muizenberg on one side and St. James on the other, this picturesque place has a lovely view of the harbour and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The main road is lined with many charming boutiques, book and antique stores, quirky coffee shops and cafes, and excellent restaurants. I can particularly recommend Bootleggers and The Olympia Café for a sunny breakfast shared with cyclists, hikers and locals. The railway line passes between the harbour and the village, and links the Cape Town city centre to Simonstown, formerly a British naval base, and now that of the South African Navy.
Kalk Bay has become a popular tourist destination, not only for the African crafts, souvenirs and night life, but also for the bohemian creative atmosphere which reflects a wide range of artistic, musical, theatrical and cooking talents, in a setting of old world charm and Victorian architecture.
Kalk Bay also has a popular surfing beach, especially when the southeaster wind blows, producing huge swells that rise and fall along the coast. False Bay is sometimes the playground of the magnificent Southern Right Whales which come here during the whaling-watching season to frolic and nurse their young.
It was among the quaint boutiques in Kalk Bay’s main road that I came upon a pair of elderly ladies enjoying their ice-creams. They were very accommodating and friendly, when I asked if I could capture the moment on camera, and we soon engaged in unexpected and delightful conversation.
Three more ladies emerged from the ice-cream parlour – also armed with cool confections – and joined us. They told me that they meet here every three months, and have done so since they left their school forty-three years ago! A delightful way, indeed, to meet up with dear friends from one’s youth.