Visit The Bo-Kaap, the Cape Malay quarter of Cape Town

This tour takes you through the colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap on the slopes of Signal Hill, to the very first mosque built in South Africa and the Bo-Kaap Museum, celebrating the Cape Malay heritage of the city


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Highlights

  • Discover the colourful Cape Malay district on the slopes of Signal Hill, overlooking Cape Town
  • Get a taste of Cape Malay food
  • Visit South Africa’s first mosque and the Bo-Kaap Museum

Description

Wander through the colourful cobblestoned Bo Kaap neighbourhood on this two-hour tour. Begin on the slopes of Signal Hill, where the brightly coloured houses unfold in an array of pinks, greens, blues and oranges. Get a taste of the spicy ‘Cape Malay’ food on offer, made famous by the people who call the neighbourhood home. Along the way, visit South Africa’s first mosque, Auwal Masjid and the Bo-Kaap Museum, which is housed in the oldest home in the area. Dating back to the 1760s, the house highlights the cultural contribution made by early Muslim settlers.

History

Bo Kaap is an area of Cape Town formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is a former township that was settled by the descendants of slaves brought by the Dutch in the late 17th and 18th centuries. They originated from different parts of Southeast Asia, but were collectively referred to as ‘Cape Malay’. Cape Malays were a mixture of political exiles, convicts, skilled craftsmen, artisans, scholars and religious leaders. While the majority of Bo-Kaap’s residents are still of Cape Malay origin, the housing boom in the past 15-years has seen an influx of diversity into the area. However, there are plenty of little local restaurants still open to sample the traditional cuisine.

Advice for visitors

The tour takes approximately 90 minutes, and all tours are guided in English. You’ll be walking the streets of Cape Town, some cobbled, so wear your comfiest pair of shoes and make sure your camera is fully charged and ready to capture the charm of the city. Be sure to try some of the Cape Malay food on offer in order to get the most of your experience of the Bo-Kaap. Also check out a great little neighbourhood nearby called De Waterkant, where you will find lots of cobbled streets to wander through, as well as many trendy bars and restaurants.

Did you know

The freed slaves that eventually settled into the Bo-Kaap area were used to cooking with spices that originated from their home countries. The Dutch East India company continued to sail to Asia via Cape Town, so many of these traditional spices were still available. Dutch housewives began to include cinnamon and cloves in their pies, while the Cape Malay cooks started adding potatoes to their dishes This resulted in a wonderful fusion of cuisines that continues to influence South Africa’s finest dishes.

 

Monday – Sunday: 14:00 and 16:15

Walking tour guides work on a tips-only basis.

Telephone: +27 (0)21 511 6000

Website: www.citysightseeing.co.za

Departure Point: City Sightseeing Stop 5, 81 Long Street, Cape Town, 8001

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