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Bo-kaap Accommodation, Cape Town
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Bo-kaap Accommodation

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Bo-Kaap District (Malay Quarter) in Cape Town  © Brian Snelson , License


Cape Town is fondly known as South Africa's Mother City and is home to some of South Africa's most iconic landmarks such as Table Mountain and Robben Island. But at the foot of Signal Hill you will find another one of South Africa's Treasures, known for its brightly coloured houses, Bo-Kaap. If you travel up Wale Street you will arrive at the brightly painted Georgian terraces and narrow cobbled streets, the spiritual home of the Capes Muslim community, the Bo-Kaap.

Not only is Bo-Kaap one of Cape Town's most colourful suburbs, it also has a fascinating history. During the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch Settlers imported slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and various other African countries into the Cape of Good Hope. None of these slaves experienced that good hope and for their descendants it would take centuries before that Good Hope would become a reality when South Africa finally became a truly democratic country. Some of these descendants are still residents if the Bo-Kaap. These descendants inherited a name from the slaves, Cape Malays, which was not essentially true as most of the slaves were not entirely of Malaysian descent. But the name stuck and the area which we know today as Bo-Kaap is also known as the Cape Malay Quarter.

To try and explain the area's history would be futile so it is suggested that you pay a visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum. This Quaint museum is the best place to discover the history of the area. The building itself dates back to the 1760s and is the oldest house in the area that is still in its original form. The house museum depicts a recreation of the life of a typical Malay family and most of the focus is on the contribution made by early Muslim settlers.

The Auwal is regarded as South Africa's first official mosque and can be found as you head up to Dorp Street. The influential Imam Abdulla ibn Abd al Salaam, who was a well-known Muslim scholar and activist, founded the historic building in 1797. Today the building looks very different to how it did back then, with only two of the original walls having remained intact after it collapsed back in the 1930s.

There is something special about traditional Cape Malay foods and if there is one thing you should not miss out on, it's a visit to one of the areas restaurants. The meals are spicy and made from recipes which date back for centuries. It is said that there is no better way to get to know the locals than by eating with them.

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Bo-kaap Accommodation, Cape Town
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