71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa

The Bo-Kaap was one of the few Cape Town neighborhoods to escape apartheid’s bulldozers—the cluster of bright buildings, once known as the Malay Quarter, housed many of the slaves who worked for the 17th-century Dutch colonialists. In this colorful area, you can also see some of the oldest, most beautiful mosques in the country, including the Auwal Mosque on Dorp Street. Upscale shops have been moving in lately, but don’t miss one of the originals, the spice merchant Atlas Trading Company. To go back in time, explore the Bo-Kaap Museum, furnished like the house of a typical 19th-century Muslim family.

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Bo-Kaap Colors in Cape Town

The Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town, formerly known as the Cape Malay Quarter, is eye candy for any photographer. The people and the buildings are so rich in color that it’s hard to ever leave. This traditionally Muslim neighborhood on the slopes of Signal Hill is worth the walk from the heart of Cape Town. If you can, head there in the final few hours before sunset to see colors really shine and see the neighborhood kids playing rugby or football upon their return from school. After your visit to Bo-Kaap, walk over to Brewers and Union for that killer sausage and locally brewed craft beer.


Although English is widely spoken throughout South Africa, so is Afrikaans and it has certainly made its way into everyday language. Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch, but the influence of other languages and accents transformed it into a distinct tongue over the centuries. As so often happens, words for food are usually the most important in language and this is certainly the case in Afrikaans. One of my favorite dessert items in the Dutch dialect is something known as koeksister. Koeksisters are a syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape. Like most doughy delights around the world, the pastry is deep-fried and then a sugary syrup is added to make a delicious if not sticky sweet. When you visit you will see these everywhere, so instead of being confused by the term now you know to add these to your culinary must-do list.

Beauty on a gloomy day

Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap district, also known as the Muslim or Cape Malay Quarter, is instantly recognizable by the vibrant façades in lemon yellow, lime green, and hot pink. If you’re feeling under-the-weather because of a gloomy Cape Town winter day, then there’s no better neighborhood to head for: the pops of color, even set against the gray skies, will immediately cheer you up.

Bo-Kaap District, Cape Town

In 2010 we made our first trip to Cape Town and within 5 days it became one of our all time favorite places. The scenery, the people, the history, the places to see are so rich in culture and it’s ‘stormy’ past all add to one’s experience. Here’s only one example and why we will be there again in 2012. The residents of Bo-Kaap are mostly descended from slaves who were imported to the Cape by the Dutch during the the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They reigned from Africa, Indonesia, Java Malaysia, and elsewhere in Asia. They were known as “Cape Malays”, which is an incorrect term as most of BoKaap’s residents are not entirely of Malaysian descent. There are still traces of Indonesian vocabulary in BoKaap’s dialect. There are also many words which have also been substituted with Afrikaans. The Dutch imported slaves who were political exiles, convicts, skilled craftsmen, artisans, famous scholars and religious leaders. Islam started in Saudi Arabia some 1400 years ago and many people with that background also reside there, having come in the 1700’s.

Carnival during New Years

I have always wanted to attend the carnival in Cape Town because of its historical significance. The area where the carnival takes place is where the slaves settled. On January 2, it is said that the slaves were able to have the day off. Later on after slavery ended, the people from the Bo-Kaap community, which is a predominantly Muslim community, incorporated the minstrelsy which was introduced from america in the early 1930’s, with the slave tradition...It was definitely a trip of a lifetime!

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