A Guide for Muslim Travellers - What to Do and See in Cape Town

From the familiar sound of the mosque calling worshippers to prayer, to the fascinating stories of people through time, Cape Town offers Muslim travelers a satisfying adventure on many levels.

Culture

• Bo-Kaap Museum
The Bo-Kaap Museum occupies an original house that dates back to 1768 and is one of the best places to discover the history of the Bo-Kaap area.
Address: 71 Wale Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Telephone: +27 (0)21 481 3938
Website: http://www.iziko.org.za/museums/bo-kaap-museum

• District Six Museum
The District Six Museum revives the history and stories of a vibrant community that was forcibly removed to the city’s periphery during apartheid.
Address: 25A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town
Telephone: +27 (0)21 466 7100 or +27 (0)21 466 7200
Website: http://www.districtsix.co.za/

The Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum in Simon’s Town displays various artefacts pertaining to the Muslim culture and history of the area.
Address: Amlay House, King George's Way, Simon's Town, Cape Town
Telephone: +27 (0)21 786 2302
Website: http://www.simonstown.com/museum/sthm.htm

Mosques

There are around 190 mosques in the Western Cape area, including:

• Auwal Mosque
The Auwal Mosque was built at the turn of the 18th century. It is the first and oldest mosque built in South Africa.
Address: 34 Dorp Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Palm Tree Mosque
The Palm Tree Mosque is the second oldest mosque in South Africa.
Address: 185 Long Street, Cape Town

Kramats

The holy shrines of Islam mark the graves of Holy Men of the Muslim faith who died in the Cape. There are more than twenty recognised Kramats in the Peninsula area, with at least another three in the outlying districts of Faure, Caledon, Rawsonville and Bains Kloof.
The positioning of the Kramats is said to fulfill a 250-year-old prophecy that a "circle of Islam" will be formed around Cape Town. This circle starts at Signal Hill with four separate Kramats, continues to the site at Oude Kraal, then Constantia, and further to the famous Kramat of Sheikh Yusuf in Macassar. The old tomb on Robben Island completes the circle.

• The Kramat of Sheikh Yusuf of Bantam can be found in Macassar. Sheikh Yusuf is said to be the father of Islam in South Africa and his Kramat is an important holy shrine for followers of the Muslim faith.
• The Kramat Sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie Shah al Qadri, a follower of Sheikh Yusuf of Macassar, can be found on Signal Hill.
• The Kramats of Shaykh Abdurahman Matebe and Sayed Mahmud are to be found in Constantia. Both were spiritual and religious leaders who became political prisoners of the Dutch East Company. They arrived in May 1668, after being banished to Constantia in the Cape.
• Tuan Guru, whose Kramat is in the Muslim cemetery in the Bo Kaap, was a Prince from the Trinate Islands. Tuan Guru was instrumental in the first madrasah (Muslim School) to be built in 1793, and in 1795, the first Mosque.
• Tuan Matarah, also known as Sayed Abduraghman Motura, was reputed to have been a very learned and religious man. He died on Robben Island and his grave soon became a respected shrine. This shrine has also become a symbol of the struggle for the establishment of Islam.

Muslim Specialist Tour Operators

• Cut Above Travel & Tours
Cut Above will take visitors on a journey back to the roots of the Cape Malay culture. Tours include visits to the Bo-Kaap, Kramats and mosques.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 787 5856
Website: http://www.cutabovetours.co.za/

Bo-Kaap Cultural & Heritage Gateway
The Bo-Kaap Cultural & Heritage Gateway will assist you in experiencing the Bo-Kaap through walking tours, food and craft markets, home stays, home-cooked meals and Cape Malay cooking classes. Much of their work goes towards sustaining families from the area too.
Website: http://bokaap.org/

• Oemies Tours
Oemies Tours offers tours of the Western Cape area, with a focus on Cape Slavery, Malay heritage and food, and the traditional Malay way of life.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 797 1070
Website: http://www.oemiestours.co.za/

More Cape Town Tourism Tour Operators:

  • Cape Town Holidays
  • African Ikon Travel
  • African Spirit Travel & Tours
  • Escape To the Cape
  • Infinite Explorers
  • Cape Flats Girl
  • Ozzies Golf Guide
  • Southsun Tours
  • Sun Tours
  • Cape Capers Tours
  • Freedom & Falcon Tours
  • WR Tourism Consultants
  • Procape Travel & Tours
  • Unicab Travel & Tours

Events

Bo-Kaap Crafts & Food Market Day (monthly)
Usually held every first Saturday of the month between 10am-2pm at the Schotschekloof Civic Centre, Upper Wale Street, Bo-Kaap.
Website: http://bokaap.co.za/

Freemarket (bi-monthly)
Takes place every two months at Southern Cross Drive in Constantia. Trading and entrance is free and buyers and sellers can trade using special ‘sunnah’ money provided on the day or by bartering as a medium of exchange. The event also offers food, entertainment and a great atmosphere.
Website:  http://www.freemarket.co.za/

Voice of the Cape Spring Festival (annual)
The Voice of the Cape Spring Festival takes place annually in September. It is a weekend extravaganza of Muslim fashion and food.
Website: http://www.vocfm.co.za/

Iconic Cape Town:
• Table Mountain National Park and Aerial Cableway 
• Robben Island
• Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
• Cape Point Nature Reserve
• City Sightseeing Cape Town
• Two Oceans Aquarium

Shopping
• V&A Waterfront
• Canal Walk
• Cavendish Square
• Kenilworth Centre
• Vangate Mall
• Gatesville

Atlas Trading Company in the Bo-Kaap for a wide variety of spices and ingredients.

Outdoor and Adventure
• Table Mountain National Park provides a number of access points from which to start mild contour path walks or more strenuous hikes.
• Signal Hill and Lion’s Head provide a mild form of physical activity and are great lookout points over the City Centre and Atlantic Seaboard.
• A number of official paragliding sites are located in and around Cape Town, including Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Sir Lowry’s Pass and Noordhoek. The take-off point on Lion’s Head is the closest to the city centre.
• The varied topography of Cape Town, from its soaring mountains to long, flat beaches, forested slopes and challenging mountain passes, presents the keen cyclist with an array of routes to choose from, suited to both the amateur and professional cyclist.
• Cape Town is flanked by beaches on both sides of the Peninsula. The most popular beaches are Boulder’s Beach and Seaforth, St. James, Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Strand, Mnandi, Sea Point and Sea Point Pavilion.
• Noordhoek is one of the Cape’s longest and most spectacular beaches, popular for horse rides along a white, sandy beach that stretches for miles.
• Long Street Baths has a long history in Cape Town and offers men- and women-only time slots.
Address: Corner of Long and Orange streets, Cape Town
• Blue Rock, in Somerset West, is a good option for adventure water sports such as swimming, scuba diving, kneeboarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kite boarding and more.
• Ratanga Junction Theme Park, in Century City, is a WILD ride for the whole family.
• Watch the speed freaks tear up the tar, in road vehicles to F1 cars, at Killarney Race Track.

Halaal travel portals that can also assist with Halaal travel information and bookings include:
http://www.strictlyhalaal.com/
http://www.stayhalaal.co.za/
http://www.muslim.co.za/
http://www.capetownmuslims.co.za/
http://www.halalfooddirectory.com/
http://hungryforhalaal.blogspot.com/

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