Bo Kaap, City Bowl
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The Bo-Kaap, which lies on the fringes of Cape Town’s city centre, is full of character and colourful houses (pink, orange, lime green and turquoise), many of which are national monuments and date back to the 1750s, with cobbled streets that rise up to meet the lower slopes of Signal Hill on which the suburb lies.
A lively suburb, the Bo-Kaap’s inhabitants are a blend of cultures that descend from slaves imported by the Dutch in the 1700s. They came from Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Indonesian Archipelago. Not only were these people incorrectly branded as ‘Cape Malays’ but the Bo-Kaap became known, and remains so today, as the Malay Quarter.
There is a strong Muslim influence - more than 90% of the people who live here are Muslim - as many of the early slaves were Muslim scholars and religious leaders, as well as craftsmen and artisans. This is a throwback from the apartheid era when the Bo-Kaap was declared an exclusively Cape Muslim residential area, and people of other religions and ethnicity were forced to leave.
Cape Malay food has earned a reputation combining fruit, spices, vegetables and meat and can be sampled in a number of traditional restaurants in the area. The Bo-Kaap museum, which presently shows the lifestyle of a typical 19th century Muslim family, is worth a visit, and the CBD is moments away.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Bo Kaap
Home décor, art and artefacts, fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle related stores all delivered in a unique Cape Malay architecture. This is where the best of Cape Town people are drawn together, attracted by the authentic ambience of great restaurants and eateries, shops and offices. This is the ... more information
A unique combination of history, fine wine, traditional food, military ceremonies and craftsmanship awaits you at this pentagonal fortification. Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. The Castle, was, however, not the first fort to be built at the Cape. A ... more information
Up on Signal Hill at 12:00 exactly every day, a cannon is fired. Accurate to the nearest millisecond, it booms over the Mother City, Table Mountain in the background, yet never ceases to surprise even long-term Capetonians, and certainly has visitors looking anxious. The daily noon gun (cannon) is not only ... more information
Signal Hill, which connects Kloof Nek to Lion’s Head, in the distinctive shape of a lion’s rump, is one of the most famous spots in Cape Town for sundowners. Views from the 350m high summit are nothing short of spectacular, particularly at night, and picnic dinners with accompanying drinks is something of a capital ... more information
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