Kalk Bay

This small, fascinating harbor, which shelters a weathered fishing fleet, takes its name from the seashells that were once baked in large kilns near the shore to produce lime (kalk in Afrikaans). Tiny cottages crowd the narrow, cobbled streets, which cling to the mountain. The town's funky clothing shops, galleries, antiques shops, and cozy bistros can fill a whole day of rambling. Here gnarled fisherfolk rub shoulders with artists, writers, surfers, yuppies, New Age trendies, and genteel ladies with blue hair. During whale-watching season the gentle giants rub up against the harbor wall, and if you time your visit right, you can almost touch them. You can also walk up any of the steep stairways to Boyes Drive and from there up the mountain, or relax and down a few beers in the sun at the Brass Bell while local surfers strut their stuff on Kalk Bay Reef. Other possibilities on your to-do list might include dropping your own line off the pier (fishing supplies are available from the small supermarket on the Main Road) or watching the harbor seals that loll around waiting for fishy discards when the boats come in. The lives of the fisherfolk are changing rapidly because of declining fish stocks, and many are now shorebound without an income, in part because of the controversial requirement for fishing permits.

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