Western Cape DestinationsWalmer Estate, City Bowl
Cape Town is a vibrant city, bursting at the seams with culture and entertainment, complemented by a well-established commercial and retail hub. The City Bowl is the center of the Mother City, and is characterised by the tall office blocks, long streets flanked by boutiques, breath-taking views of Table Mountain and its tall mountainous companions, and a number of historical suburbs that represent so much in the way of change.
Walmer Estate is one of these suburbs and, while it is no longer particularly residential, it tells an important story of struggle and victory. It is part of what used to be known as District Six, which was occupied by black and coloured South Africans during the Apartheid regime (a political and social state that extended from 1948 to 1994 and demanded the splitting of white and no non-white people).
However, because many of the residents of Walmer Estate spoke English, this suburb was considered to be of a higher class than its surrounding areas, and earned itself nicknames like the Coloured Bishopscourt.
In recent years, a renewal of the City Bowl's historical neighborhoods has seen a decrease in problems like gangs and poverty in Walmer Estate. Many of the original residents have moved to other parts of the Cape Flats, and the area is very different from its District Six days.
Still, it is close to many of the tourism hotspots, as well as to a number of cultural and historical gems. De Waterkant and the Bokaap are two of these must-see areas. Woodstock is alive with quirky shops and markets, while Tamboerskloof never sleeps and offers diners and shoppers a world of things to see and do. Other nearby areas include the Company's Garden, Higgovale, Zonnebloem, Vredehoek, Oranjezicht and University Estate. The harbour is nearby too.
Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Devil's Peak and the iconic Table Mountain all loom over Walmer Estate in quiet majesty. There are various hiking and cycling trails up and around these mountains, along with viewing points that promise spectacular views of the city and the ocean. The cable car takes visitors right up to the flat top of Table Mountain, on which there are shops and restaurants. But, most importantly, it is from here that the exquisite appeal of Cape Town and its surrounds can be savoured to the full.