Visit the Bo-Kaap

Stop in the Bo-Kaap (Cape Malay Quarter) situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the fringe of the Cape Town city center for a memorable photo opportunity with colorful houses, which carries great historical significance. You may even have the chance to greet some of the friendly locals if they are in sight.

Explore the Bo-Kaap

The Bo-Kaap is an area of Cape Town, South Africa that was formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is a former township, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and the historical birthplace of the Cape Malay culture in Cape Town.

The Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to the slaves known as Cape Malays who were brought from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the rest of Africa to work in the Cape.

The choice of house color is said to be attributed to the fact that while on the lease, all the houses had to be white. When this rule was eventually lifted, and the slaves were allowed to buy the properties, all the houses were painted bright colors by their owners as an expression of their freedom.                         

                                                                  

 

Discover Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood

The houses are a mix of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture, in distinctive multi-coloured rows on steeply cobbled roads. The best place to discover the real history of the area and to get a glimpse into the life of a typical Malay family is at the Bo-Kaap Museum on Wale Street which is the oldest building in the Bo-Kaap.

 

 

The best things to do in the Bo-Kaap

  • Learn about the history of the colorful houses in the Bo-Kaap on a private guided Cape Town City tour 
  • Sample authentic Cape Malay Cuisine at Bismillah Restaurant or the Bo-Kaap Kombuis
  • Pick up a few snacks to take away like samoosas (crispy triangle pastry), half-moons (crescent-shaped savoury snacks), daltjies (chilli bites), slangetjies, and paaper bites (crisps), koesisters (spicy doughnuts) and boeber (sweet sago and vermicelli drink) at the corner cafe.
  • Go on a culinary exploration in the chefs home, and learn how to cook traditional foods like Cape Malay curry, samoosas, koeksisters, and rotis.

When To Go to the Bo-Kaap

The Bo-Kaap can be visited all year round.

On Tour Highlights:

  • Stop in the Bo-Kaap (Cape Malay Quarter) for a photo opportunity with pictures of colorful houses
  • Greet the locals who's heritage includes Malaysia, Indonesia, and Africa hence the name Cape Malays.
  • Shop for exotic spices and sample some traditional foods like koeksisters, samoosas and melktert
  • Learn more about the history of slavery in Cape Town from your tour guide

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