The Bo-Kaap is one of Cape Town’s most distinct neighbourhoods known for its vibrant, predominantly Muslim, Cape Malay community and its equally bold flat-roofed colourful houses and cobbled stone roads.
Situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the fringe of the city centre, and formerly known as the Malay Quarter, the Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to slaves and political exiles brought here from other Dutch colonies in the east including Indonesia’s Batavia, Sumatra, Java and also East Africa. Most of these groups spoke some Malay, hence this new community becoming known as the Cape Malays.
The houses in the area are a mix of Cape Dutch and Georgian architecture and the bright colours, it is said, is attributed to the fact that while on 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 colours by their owners as an expression of their freedom.
When visiting this area be sure to go see the oldest mosque in South Africa – the Auwal Mosque in Dorp Street and the oldest building in the Bo-Kaap in Wale Street which currently houses the Bo-Kaap Museum. This is the best place to discover the real history of the area and to get a glimpse into the life of a typical Malay family.
Be sure to try a local cooking tour specialising in traditional Cape Malay treats and visit one of the eateries owned and run by families who are historically rooted in the area
From Kirstenbosch Gardens, to Table Mountain Forests and home to Western Cape Rugby and Cricket, Newlands has so much to offer.
Newlands is one of the most affluent and beautiful neighbourhoods in Cape Town resting on the slopes of Table Mountain. There is a wide range of accommodation available.
Newlands is home to some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a night out on the town, there’s something for everyone on offer.