WATCH | Kalk Bay, one of the world's coolest hoods? Well duh‚ say locals

10 July 2018 - 11:42 By Aron Hyman

Forbes magazine recently rated Kalk Bay as one of the 12 trendiest neighbourhoods in the world.

The rustic Victorian-era village sandwiched between the sea and the steep mountainside which forms part of Table Mountain National is where people move to get away from the city.

And apparently that is just the thing international tourists are desperately searching for when they decide to go and visit Soldier the veracious Cape fur seal during a stroll through Kalk Bay harbour.

Soldier‚ like many other locals‚ did not seem fazed by the idea that he now officially lived in one of the coolest places in the world.

But what makes Kalk Bay so cool?

According to harbourmaster Fred Martin‚ it’s a mixture of different styles of architecture which gives the town a particular quaintness and beauty.

“If you look at the Italian harbours‚ you can see that this harbour has an Italian style. The buildings in the town have a Victorian style‚” said Martin‚ who has worked at Kalk Bay harbour for 13 years of his 34-year career.

“This place is 102 years old. It’s a traditional place people came to meet‚ families came to have picnics. If you speak specifically to the coloured population about camping‚ then you’ll hear them say Kalk Bay was the best place for that.”

Fisherman Duwayne Paulse said it was the people who made Kalk Bay one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world.

“It’s because we have a different type of colour and we speak in different tongues‚ but we always have a way to relate‚” said Paulse.

“You should just have a Liverpool sweater on and then we start to relate. We like our English fans and people who come from Spain‚ we like chatting with them about the soccer and stuff like that.

“It’s not like if we’re not going to make a sale from you today we’re not going to talk to you. We’re here to have a mad time you see‚” said Paulse.

Tourists weren’t surprised to hear of Kalk Bay’s new accolade‚ which it shared with another South African neighbourhood‚ the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg.

Neighbourhoods in 10 other cities from around the world also made the cut‚ including Keramikos in Athens‚ District 5 in Saigon‚ Navy Yard in Washington‚ DC‚ and Sants in Barcelona.

German traveller Nils Dellert explained that he came to the harbour to buy fish on Sunday but the experience was so good he brought his wife and son on Monday to experience it for themselves.

“We were sitting over there having coffee‚ some people were talking to friends‚ there were tourists‚ there were locals. You have Kalkies where the locals eat‚ very cheap‚ and Harbour House where the tourists eat‚ very expensive. So‚ ja‚ it all comes together‚” said Dellert.

His wife Frederika was charmed by the quaint shops and galleries which line the main road through the town. “It’s a nice mix of a little shopping and relaxing and there is also great nature around‚” she said.

It’s the fact that we all live locally and work locally and we have a harbour across the way‚ beautiful views
Olympia Cafe owner Stuart McClarty

Olympia Cafe owner Stuart McClarty says it’s the authenticity of the place and its people which makes it so cool.

“It’s the fact that we all live locally and work locally and we have a harbour across the way‚ beautiful views‚ something that Maboneng does not have‚” he said.

Olympia Cafe has been everything from a sleazy nightclub to a cinema‚ and even a squash court.

Under McClarty it serves as a bustling bakery which often hosts concerts and other events. “Most people here don’t go north of Muizebberg. If we live here‚ we try and do everything here. Your coffee shop is here‚ your bakery is here‚ your local restaurants‚ you just don’t want to go anywhere else‚” said McClarty.

“It’s different. Today is a beautiful day‚ later in the week it will be raining‚ it will be fantastic‚ it’s a different experience.

“You can expect good food‚ you can expect interesting people on the streets‚ you can expect beautiful views.”