History. Or more specifically, stories. The world of Kalk Bay colours the imagination with what once was, what could’ve been and what still is.
This slice of humble sea-side home has been mesmerising minds since the 17th century. And like an iconic vista of its ilk, the view here beckons important human questions.
Questions like “what’s behind that hill?” and “shall we open a restaurant?”
No doubt, every famous place invaded by us has been questioned in that manner. As nature inspires us, we can’t help but add something in return.
And when you look at this view, it just demands some good old, traditional, greasy fish n chips.
Kalk Bay as we know it today – with its loud, hungry seagulls and fresh ocean air – is an eclectic mix. What was once a mini-port for the Dutch, has become a family favourite and an Instagram thirst trap.
Back in the 17th century there was a complicated Uber eats delivery of sorts taking place here. At the time there was no proper road to Simon’s Town. This created a problem of getting goods to the ships. Food and items such as anchors, masts and sails – as well as construction materials for the building of Simon’s Town – were sent to Kalk Bay by ox-wagon and then loaded onto barges to reach the ships in the bay.
After the completion of the road to Simon’s Town, the once thriving community of Kalk Bay took a bit of a backseat. Once all options were considered, they found survival in the oceans during the boom of whaling, an activity that was prohibited by the next door neighbour, Simon’s Town.
Schools came into existence, there were more houses, more hotels, shops opened and the whale thing got luckily banned.
And if you press that fast forward button to today, Kalk Bay is still one of the oldest working harbours in South Africa, and the scene looks like it has been ripped straight from the glossies of your favourite Weg magazine. But it couldn’t be more realer than a slice of Sasko white.
It is here that the Rosslind family opened the doors of their takeout café, Kalky’s, and started serving the community with something they knew best: fish.
No-frills. No-fuss. Fish n chips.
A favourite from day one. A crowd-pleasing restaurant in its own right, a False Bay coast favourite. Loved by locals, sought-after by out-of-townies and on foreign travellers’ lists of things to do.
Over the years everyone has found home in Kalk Bay. The Filipinos came and the Filipinos stayed after they were ship-wrecked at Cape Point. Emancipated slaves from Java, Batavia and Malaysia found a home in Kalk Bay and they also stayed. Fishing became their livelihood and they started playing an important role in the community. Over the years the multi-cultured and multi-race community of Kalk Bay grew; it was the only area that resisted the Separate Group Act during the Apartheid years and it stayed a mixed-race community.
And when you come here today, you can still feel all of it. Bits of the past. Heaps of today. And even hope for the future.
One such person, who has also found a home in Kalk Bay is Egyptian-born Greek George Mandalios who moved to South Africa more than half a century ago. He is the manager of Kalky’s, reports for duty early in the morning and calls it a day late at night. The locals fondly refer to him as Mr Kalky.
Watch the video below and meet salt-of-the-earth fish n chips fundi, Mr Kalky.