Bo Kaap is unique and charming. A stroll along its cobbled streets lined with colourful houses is a pleasure in itself. Visitors can't resist taking loads of photos - all those shades of pink, orange, green and turquoise will look beautiful in the pictures. Little restaurants tempt you to come in with the scent of oriental spices.
But there is much more to Bo Kaap than picturesque surroundings. It's steeped in history. Many of its residents are descendants of the slaves from Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India who were brought to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch in the 16th and 17th century. They were often, though incorrectly, referred to as Cape Malays and that's why Bo Kaap is often called the Malay Quarter. The fact is that most of its residents are Muslims and that's why you can find here a couple of mosques.
Let's hope that the quarter will retain its unique character for long. Unfortunately, it may change because of commercial reasons - there's a high demand for property here, so with time the local residents may be replaced by wealthy outsiders.
Bo-Kaap local Yayga Arend takes you to a 1 to 2 hrs stroll to experience in his Bo-Kaap and its cuisine through the stories of past and present on the slopes of Signal Hill. View the the colorful facades of 18th century slave homes on cobbled lanes, the Bo-Kaap Museum and the oldest Mosque in the southern hemisphere, before sampling a traditional Cape Malay cuisine on the balcony of the homes of the residents in ‘The Malay’ Quarter.
Mr Arend is a very nice young man involved in many intresting cultural activities with his family.
Also you'll get to meet his family and eat some of the incredibly good food cooked by his mum!
We loved it!
(free with Cape Town Pass)
This is a traditional residential area of Cape Town's Muslim community, the suburb is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill. You will find cobbled streets and brightly colored houses from the 19th century, Muslim shrines and mosques. Very interesting place to visit. Stop into the Bo-Kaap museum also.
The brightly painted buildings and a walkway are all we got to see as our guide stopped briefly in the Bo-Kaap for a look around. You can take a guided tour of this historic, Muslim area. I wish we had done this.
It was Tweede Nuewjaarsdag, Jan 2nd, 2008, no longer a public holiday.
We'd forgotten and tried to go Zerbans @ the Garden Centre for Breakfast.
The attempted traffic's eastern diversion resulted in the familiar Kaapse Klopse (Cape Town Minstrels)music.
So park the car and join the crowds on the old forshore to watch the colourful groups parading from the Castle via Adderley and wale Streets up to the Bo Kaap.
["Our songs come from our forefathers and their fathers before. They were oppressed when they came. They came here as slaves you know and they were always the oppressed and so the only way they could express themselves was putting it in words, singing, dancing, making music and being jolly. So that the next one would think we are happy. In the meantime we are expressing our feelings about certain things"]*
Bo-Kaap is a quarter in the city of Cape Town which is considered the home of the Cape Malay culture. The area has attracted muslim immigrants for the far east in the 19th century, but also other ethnic groups moved in this time to the Bo-Kaap. This led to a coulourful mixture of culture, which is not only visible in its inhabitants but also on the buildings. The Bo-Kaap is famous for their coulourful, small houses. A stroll through the streets of the Bo-Kaap is a good option to get an impression of this different part of Cape Town. For more information, there’s also a small museum.
This colorful quarter of the city is called Bo-Kaap, the residents are mostly descended by slaves brought here by the dutchs in the seventeenth century, and are known as Cape Malays. It´s a beautiful place to walk.
Walking along the Malay Quarter, which lies between Strand and Wale Streets on the one side and between Chiappini Street and Buitengracht Street on the other, is a cultural experience in itself.
The lanes are quaint and cobbled, and their Cape Dutch-styled terraced houses are painted in a variety of festive colours.
Many homes have been beautifully restored to their former glory, although some parts of the Quarter have become slums.
Those were then cleared and new homes in the same traditional Cape Dutch style, have been built in their stead.
Globally, the Cape Malays are unique to Cape Town. They were originally slaves and prisoners brought here from the Dutch East Indies.
Their name Malay comes form the fact they spoke Malay, a trading language at that time.
Cliche but so true I love this up and coming area. Visit it soon b4 it becomes trendy beyond relief!
This is the traditional Muslim quarter that is a must visit during an afternoon stroll. Afterwards hit signal hill and the Noonday Gun TeaHouse.
This is the old Cape Muslim quarter. Still to this day the residents are primarily Muslim and the brightly painted houses are somewhat a Muslim signature. When I was out on tours some of the guides mentioned that whenever you would drive by a neighborhood you could always tell where the Muslim quater was beacause it had the brightest colored houses. They were not allowed to worship publicly until the early 1800's and then began to build mosques in their community starting with the Al Auwal Mosque (1798). Something to note though, the dates on some of the mosques actually symbolize when the abolishment of slavery occured in Cape Town (1835), not when the mosque was built. The homes are an 18th century combination of Cape Dutch and Edwardian architecture style with flat roofs and flat facades, which doesn't look like much. Almost all have a small elevated front porch where family and friends can gather. It is still a tight knit community where people are actively invovled in each others lives and help support one another.
The people were brought here originally by the Dutch from various parts of African, Indonesia and other places in Asia. Many of them were skill laborers and others were political exiles. Islam came with them and started to establish itself in Cape Town in the 1700's.
The food of these new inhabitants was dubbed Cape Malay Cuisine is some of the best I have ever had. It is a mixture of Dutch, Indian and Asian spices and even fruits. It is very unique to South Africa. Rootis on the waterfront serves Cape Malay food as well as the Noon Gun Tearoom. There are a few restaurants in the Bo Kaap area that serve food with guests sitting on the floor and eating communally.
The 2nd of January is a great time to visit for the annual carnival that takes place there. It used to be called the "Coon Carnival" but I think the name has changed.
Cape Grace Hotel Cape Town
5 Reviews and 584 Opinions Rooms are very nice, and service is spendid. However, the hotel is simply too expensive.
An African Villa Cape Town
1 Review and 563 Opinions An African Villa is tucked away in Tamboerskloof - this area on the slopes of Signal Hill is...
Mount Nelson Hotel Cape Town
9 Reviews and 465 Opinions I had one stay at the Mt. Nelson, an older hotel that is off the waterfront on the edge of downtown...