Mother of two and wife to French winemaker, Thierry Haberer of VH Wine, Jené resides in the idyllic seaside village of Kalk Bay.
As a local destination expert and travel curator, she thrives in an environment and industry that involves people, travel and luxury hospitality. Driven by her love for inspired travelling and authentic experiences, her passion is to connect visitors to South Africa with her network of plugged-in locals // hotel owners, expert guides, storytellers, and travel specialists.
At home, in between beach walks and early morning ocean swims, you’ll find Jené cooking for family and friends, while enjoying their collection of small-batch family wines, produced by Thierry.
Continue reading as Jené shares with us her favourite Kalk Bay haunts for shopping, eating and exploring.
Kalk Bay is bursting with beauty, gastronomy, idyllic views and eclectic art – and exudes a relaxed and carefree vibrance. Named one of The 12 Coolest Neighbourhoods Around The World by Forbes magazine in 2018, amongst a slew of international hotspots like Barcelona’s Sants and Amsterdam’s Noord, one could easily spend a full day in this little neighbourhood snooping and snuffling around!
The quintessential fishing village, Kalk Bay combines a bohemian charm with the bustle of a working harbour where fishermen offload their catch from colourful fishing trawlers. The main road in this little nook runs parallel to the ocean; and the mountain forms a steep backdrop behind the village, so it is only a few narrow streets deep.
With numerous quaint cafés (including the famed Olympia Bakery) thrift shops, art galleries, an ice-cream parlour, and colourful shopfronts and boutiques, Kalk Bay is perfect for browsing and whiling away a leisurely afternoon.
After a year of travelling through Indonesia, Argentina and India, Cecil and Sarah Jane Bosman returned to open their flagship store on Kloof street, Cape Town – Mr&Mrs. A rebrand in 2019 under the label Jane Valken and a second store in Kalk Bay is filled to the brim with the most beautiful cottons, jewellery, and clothing. Jane Valken handloom and silk cotton ranges are the embodiment of slow fashion.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (KKBB)
A collaboration between five small local artisans, KKBB is a contemporary design store, featuring a wonderful selection of fashion (we love the classic swimwear by Grace Swims) accessories, jewellery, and art. It’s the perfect spot to stock up on gifting or for spoiling yourself!
Kalk Bay Books
We love this independent book seller for its ambience and staff with a knack for the best title recommendations! Literature-lovers can dive into their favourite reads or simply browse the shelves – and it is also the only spot this side of the mountain that hosts discussions, book launches, and author appearances.
Kalk Bay is a veritable enclave for Cape Town’s creative flock - and Artvark Gallery features local artist exhibitions alongside a shop full of African-themed prints, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, jewellery, and steelwork available for purchase. Do pop into the Gallery Shop for a selection of memorabilia to take home!
Cape Town-based clothing label, Graydawn focuses on perfecting timeless pieces for women, inspired by thoughtful comfort, expert details, quality fabrics and muted tones. For a modern approach to foundation pieces that are effortless and simple, look no further. Graydawn’s Kalk Bay pop-up is open weekends only (Sat & Sun).
SOUL is the vision of creative and designer, Abi James who takes her inspiration from African textures, patterns, and tribal adornment. During her travels, Abi has connected with a wonderful team of skilled traders, bringing together the best of African artistry with her bohemian flair. A curated space of beautifully styled rooms and shelves stocked with her jewels, as well as her favourite brands and products, the glass-fronted and enclosed balcony is where the SOUL workshops take place and it's one the most inspiring settings for a spot of jewellery-making.
It’s hard to fault the generous portions of bistro fare that emerge from the kitchen of this Kalk Bay institution. The chalkboard menu of simple, rustic food delivers on flavour every time although the service can be erratic at times. Half the charm of Olympia is its casual, ramshackle feel of cramped wooden tables and the occasional dog at your feet. Charming and bustling on good days, chaotic when crowded, the street-facing bar counter is best for watching the world pass by on weekends.
Dalebrook Café is located in a charming historic building and occupies a prime spot on main road. The Café fronts the immensely popular Dalebrook tidal pool (and adjacent Dalebook beach) and owner Charmaine Lilje had her first restaurant job down the road at Olympia Café. She went on to work under Franck Dangereux at La Colombe. All the bakes are made with stoneground flour, free range eggs and farm butter. Charmaine sells ready-made meals, and the ice creams are homemade. A favourite with swimmers for take-away coffee, Dalebrook Café is known for its generous avocado smash with salmon and poached eggs.
Clever husband-and-wife duo, Laurence and Leanne, chose to set-up their breezy beach-concept restaurant and deli, just a few metres from the iconic multi-coloured bathing huts of St James. Housed in the old post office behind St James tidal pool, with ample parking, it’s a great spot to refuel after a dip in the ocean. There’s a wonderful garden out the back. The menu features the freshest local, free range and ethically sourced ingredients – from grass-fed dry aged steaks, to pizza's, salads, fish and hamburgers, everything is fresh and delicious. The drinks menu features wine from boutique wine estates; local craft beers and spirits and beautiful pressed juices.
Located alongside the lively Olympia Café, this rather lovely small-plates joint on the Kalk Bay strip is a favourite. Conceived, owned and run by 25-year-old Nic Macleod, who is as hospitable as he is unflappable, this neighbourhood hang-out has a great vibe and buzz. Salt is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. The shakshuka is one of the only spicy brunches available in the South Peninsula and the vegan almond croissant may be the best in the country. Plus, Nic had the canny idea to sell coffee for R10 before 9am. This has created a base of local support and on weekday mornings, Salt is almost exclusively occupied by local residents with their yoga mats, laptops and wet towels. Grab a seat at the street-and-harbour-facing counter and enjoy a lazy breakfast or lunch or grab a table inside for a fun-fuelled dinner.
MUST DO ACTIVITIES
There are several hiking trails above Boyes Drive worth exploring for adventurous souls and nature lovers
With slightly more tolerable water temperatures on the False Bay coast, Kalk Bay has a choice of protected tidal pools for swimming. The pool adjoining St James is especially iconic with its colourful bathing huts, or head to Dalebrook for a sunrise swim. It is one of the most beautiful tidal pools along the coast and popular with locals and visitors alike.
Bob’s Bagel Café is tucked off the main stretch and is a wonderful pit stop, away from the crowds, to refuel on freshly prepared bagels and a good cup of coffee. It sits conveniently alongside the popular Kalk Bay Park where kids can ramble on the swings and roundabouts.
Stop by Ice Café for its homemade ice cream while strolling along the seaside streets. Made using a secret family recipe consisting of only natural ingredients, no eggs or gelatine – so it’s good for you too!
Pick up a freshly baked loaf at Olympia Café, buy the best of today’s catch straight off the boat at the harbour for the freshest seafood braai.
Tip: Kalk Bay can get very busy on weekends, especially during summer, so it is best to go early, or make a reservation if you’re planning on dining at one of the establishments.