Cape Town – Bo Kaap

The Bo Kaap is colourful suburb dating back to the 1700’s.  It is on the slopes of Signal Hill.  It was previously known as the Malay Quarter. Some of the streets still have the original cobblestones.     

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  In 1658 the first Muslim people were brought to the Cape as slaves of the Dutch East India Company.  Slaves were mainly brought from Malaysia and Indonesia.  They brought Islam as well as some exotic foods and traditions to the Cape Colony. Bobotie, a well known South African dish (see Recipes on this blog), was one of the many dishes that the Malay slaves brought from the far east to South Africa.

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The only holiday that the slaves were allowed was on 2 January each year. 

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Today carnivals are still held in Cape Town on 2 January each year to commemorate this.

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We visited the Bo Kaap Museum at 71 Wale Street.  This is the oldest house in the Bo Kaap that is still in its original state.  The people from the Orient  brought many skills with them.  They were builders, tailors etc.  Many of the freed slaves started small businesses.

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The Malay slaves brought Islam to the Cape Colony.  

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Christians and Muslims lived happily together.

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These local Muslims readily gave me permission to photograph them resting in the cool shade of their kramat (local mosque or shrine).

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The colours and intricate designs on the buildings of the Bo Kaap
are fascinating. 

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Many of the buildings have an Orient  flavour because so many of the builders were from the far east.

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Some have been beautifully restored.  Houses in Cape Town from the 1700’s to 1900’s are a mixture of Cape Dutch, Georgian (the British invaded in 1795) and the Orient.

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Devil’s Peak is one of the mountains viewed from Bo Kaap.  It can be seen behind these colourful houses.

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Local residents go about their daily business while tourists happily take photos.

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This building is proudly Arabian and circa 1893.

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Some of these homes have been turned into B&B’s to help accommodate the many tourists that visit Cape Town.

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Some buildings accommodate small businesses.

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We left the colourful Bo Kaap and drove towards the city centre.

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We saw some beautiful churches around the city.

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It was nearly lunch time.  We wanted to enjoy lunch at an historic venue.

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We decided to visit the famous Mount Nelson Hotel which has a fascinating history.

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Named after Lord Horatio Nelson who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, this was the first hotel in South Africa to have both hot and cold running water.

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The Mount Nelson has always been known for its wonderful gardens

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These hydrangeas flower in December and are nicknamed ‘Christmas Flowers’.

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Royal visitors have stayed at the Mount Nelson over the years.  In 1925 the Prince of Wales, later The Duke of Windsor, stayed at the Nelson.

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Tea at the Mount Nelson is a stylish affair.

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HRH Princess Alice also stayed at the Mount Nelson.

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The hotel is full of South African flowers.  These proteas were beautifully displayed.

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We left the historic Mount Nelson Hotel and travelled to Camps Bay. We stopped above Camps Bay to photograph the mist creeping into the bay.

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Camps Bay is a popular tourist spot.  Watching the sun set over the turquoise Atlantic Ocean in the evening is a popular local tradition.  The beach is lined with restaurants and bars.

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Author: valvs

I live in Umhlanga, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Much of my schooling was done in the Eastern and Western Cape. After I matriculated from Rhenish Girls' High in Stellenbosch, I went to Grahamstown Teachers' Training College. Most of my teaching was done in Margate and Durban. My hobbies are reading, traveling and photography.

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