Kalk Bay Books And Quagga Rare Books And Art, Kalk Bay, South Africa
KALK BAY, SOUTH AFRICA
Kalk Bay Books; Quagga Rare Books and Art
The seaside village of Kalk Bay, about half an hour down the coast from Cape Town, is a quaint hamlet with funky boutiques, fish-and-chips shops and a couple of beloved bookstores.
Kalk Bay Books is the quintessential indie bookstore, with floor-to-ceiling shelves brimming with best sellers, a cozy seating area and engaging staff more than willing to share their opinions on local writers — maybe skip Sally Andrew’s “Recipes for Love and Murder” and opt for Nadia Davids’s “An Imperfect Blessing” instead. A spiral staircase leads to a loft overlooking the space, where you can browse secondhand books along with boxes of vintage records —- everything from “Jesus Christ Superstar” to Paul Simon. Kalk Bay Books is also a literary hub, attracting authors like Barbara Kingsolver and John Maytham for readings and even the occasional musical event. Locals know to follow its Facebook page for the latest schedule.
Down the street, Quagga Rare Books and Art is the kind of place where you’ll while away hours and come back with obscure works you never knew you needed but suddenly can’t fathom living without. The rambling store is a collector’s delight, doubling as a museum of quirk: Every surface not heaving with books is cluttered with whale ribs, giraffe skulls, old playing cards, warthog tusks and more. Quagga specializes in Africana and South African art, and you’ll want to explore the warren of rooms, picking up crumbling volumes with names like “Home Life on an Ostrich Farm” and “Medical, Poisonous, and Edible plants in Namibia.” Also on offer are vintage framed maps of South Africa, 19th-century nautical canvases and nail sculptures by a Kalk Bay artist, Eduard Ladan. Quagga’s hand-painted exterior is a work of art in itself, and makes the 25-year-old stalwart hard to miss.
— SARAH KHAN
Correction: December 8, 2016
An earlier version of this article described incorrectly the owners of Munro’s Books. Jim Munro was the owner until he turned it over to a group of employees in 2014. His first wife, the author Alice Munro, was never an owner.