About Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay gets its name from the lime extracted from sea shells and used for the construction of buildings in the 1800s. Unique in Cape Town with its picturesque working harbour and bohemian feel, Kalk Bay is a delightful mix of old and new. It has a vibrant, colourful community of salty old sea dogs, artists, writers and ordinary citizens. It was one of the few areas in South Africa where the local residents were not forcibly removed during the bad old days of apartheid and so it has remained a rare multi-ethnic, mixed community.
Its history is extremely interesting: in the 1700’s Kalk Bay became a mini port for the Dutch to transport supplies to their ships overwintering in Simon’s Bay further up the coast. The Dutch East India Company would send provisions by ox wagon to Kalk Bay and then onward by boat to Simon’s Town, which was under construction. The ox wagons then took lime (Kalk) and fish back to Cape Town.
By 1820, whaling had become an important enterprise too in Kalk Bay, being banned in Simon’s Town by residents who complained of the smell. After being hunted almost to extinction, the Southern Right whales are now back with a vengeance, thanks to whaling bans. From August to November females and their calves can be seen all along the coast, but are especially active around Kalk Bay and can be seen and heard clearly from Kimberley House.
In the mid 1840`s, a Filipino crew was shipwrecked at Cape Point and they settled in Kalk Bay. Fishing was abundant so the community thrived and their descendants can still be recognised in the village today. The brightly coloured fishing boats in Kalk Bay Harbour are still based on the Filipino design.