Things To Do in De WaterkantFollow the cobble stone road
Where? De Waterkant Village, access via Somerset Road or Buitengracht Street or High level Road.
When? Always open.
How much? Free
A history paved in pebbles, a stone throw from the ocean, grounded on the mountain rock; De Waterkant (the Water side). Count the blessings of the Cape while counting your footsteps on the cobbles that link centuries past to cappuccino's forthcoming. Three blocks walking North to South from the direction of Robben Island to the distinction of Lion's Head. Three block walking East to West from the city scapes toward Atlantic sea escapes.
Europe's token on Africa's tip, De Waterkant serves Cosmopolitans in cocktail glasses within an ambiance of foreign accents for an accompanying cosmopolitan theme. Take a self-guided walking tour of the village that provides more paths than parking bays for a drive-through tour anyway. Footsteps on the former slave-quarters avenues will have you speculating on the brightly painted history of the sloped urban sanctuary. De Waterkant has a secretive background that unlike its architecture is not well preserved but equally appreciated.
Overhung by Bo-Kaap (above Cape), this poetic pocket had the fate of falling on the misfortuned side of the Strand street divide that left Bo-Kaap untouched by the Group Areas Act enforced in 1966. This Act evacuated De Waterkant (once titled District 5) of its native residents but could never strip the streets of its native personality. Once subject to much discrimination this pleasant portion is now prejudice free and welcomes all peoples. Known as a pink district for its gay friendly atmosphere it is the trend-setters tribute to a Niçoise salad with a crispy white wine vintage and the holiday makers destination of style. Little is recorded regarding the evolution of the area but much is loved about its atmosphere and architecture.
Since honoured as a South African heritage site and declared a National Preservation Area the eighteenth century quarters once erected by slaves from the East have been restored by citizens of the South to be admired by Westerners and inhabited by all. Small enough to explore, historic enough to herald, rich enough to inspire, quaint enough to delight; this cobbled collection of cultures has a past that reaches back to the early 1700's and a view that stretches across Table Mountain to Table Bay.
A stroll in the slanted neighbourhood will expose you to stonework and plaster skills that merged Netherlands building styles influenced by the Dutch colonisation with the Georgian structures attributed to the British invasion. One foot in front of the other, a few steps from front porch to front porch, a few porches in between cafés and you will be ready to select designer interiors from a resident decorator to personalise your De Waterkant dwelling... as soon as the historic home-owners committee approves your new colour choice for your antique front door that you fell in love with as you turned the first cobbled corner.
In French loafers, Italian stiletto's, designer boots or back-packers sneakers... follow the smell of freshly packed pastries, follow the falling view, follow the stoned façades of history, follow the cobble stone road.