Bo Kaap, City Bowl

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Bo Kaap, City Bowl

Bo Kaap
Bo Kaap, Cape Town City Bowl

Once you've booked your accommodation in Bo Kaap, explore our pages for info on attractions and what to do in Bo Kaap.

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.

Bo Kaap, Cape Town City Bowl
Homes here are characterised by Dutch or British influence. The older period homes, most of which are semi-detached, lie along lower Bo-Kaap, Dorp Street and would have been the homes of emancipated slaves, who settled on these slopes within easy walking distance of work in the city. Guided tours through the suburb are particularly interesting and take in local kramats (shrines) and Mosques.

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

Cape Quarter

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

Cape Town Castle

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

Long Street

Long Street could be described as the funkiest and loudest street in Cape Town, bustling with markets and boerewors roll stands during the day and hosting parties of all kinds once the sun sets. Once the vintage clothing shops and designers alleys are closed, attention is turned ... more information

Noon Day Gun

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

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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Things To Do in Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap Museum

Where: Bo Kaap
How much (per person): R1 to R100

The Bo-Kaap Museum, situated in the historic area that became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery, showcase ... more information

Watch the firing of the Noon Day Gun

Where: Bo Kaap
How much (per person): Free

Forgetful locals and unsuspecting visitors alike jolt at the sound of a midday big bang echoing across Cape Town city skies. No need for ala ... more information

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Restaurants in Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap Kombuis

Where: Bo Kaap

For the very best in traditional Cape Malay cuisine in Cape Town, visit the Bo Kaap Kombuis Restaurant and Coffee Shop in historical Bo Kaap. Yusuf and Nazli warmly welcome patrons to their fine Resta ... more information

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