Ramadan is one of the most important annual observances of the year for Muslims. Here is a guide to help you decide where to stay, what to do, where to pray, and how to stay up to date.
WHEN IS RAMADAN?
Ramadan 2021 will begin on either Tuesday, 13 or Wednesday 14 April and will end on 12 or 13 May 2021. Eid al Fitr 2021 will be on Thursday or Friday 13 or 14 May. The dates may vary according to the moon sighting. There is a uniquely South African tradition where “maankykers” (Afrikaans for “moon watchers”) gather in spots around the city to wait for the sighting of the moon. You can join in at Signal Hill, Three Anchor Bay, or most other sites that have a good view of the night sky. If you use Twitter, follow #MaanKykers for updates. Another good option is to tune into Radio786 or The Voice of the Cape for accurate and up-to-date information, and to make sure you don’t miss the announcements.
MOSQUES, AND PRAYER ROOMS
With a large number of mosques found across the length and breadth of Cape Town, the choice is wide. The two oldest Mosques in Cape Town are the Auwal Mosque, built in 1794, and the Palm Tree Mosque, established in 1807.
The city offers prayer rooms in major centres—including the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk. You’ll also find prayer rooms at Cape Town International Airport and the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The Athlone Mosque in Gatesville draws big crowds for Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power), and is one of the best places to join the prayer in town.
There are many faith-friendly accommodation options in Cape Town. Lodge 36 on Shaanti in Gatesville offers both bed & breakfast as well as self-catering options. The Crescent in Pinelands offers luxury in private and double rooms as well as executive suites—perfect for both leisure and business travel. If you are looking for accommodation in the city centre, a popular hotel is the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which has certified Halal restaurants where you can experience local and international inspired dishes, whilst enjoying the scenic Table Mountain backdrop.
Celebratory feasts are entrenched in the Cape Town food culture. “Cape Malay” cuisine is as popular with Muslim visitors as it is with all tourists. One of the top certified halal restaurants is the 126 Cape Kitchen and Cafe which is located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Check our list of great halal restaurants in Cape Town
Clifton Beach is also a really popular picnic spot for breaking your fast, if you prefer to provide your own food. It’s an amazing spiritual experience, with stunning views of the ocean and sunset. Bring along a Salah/Prayer Mat, your food, cups, and plates, and perhaps some candles.
VISIT HOLY SITES
There are also a number of Kramats that can be found around the city. Known collectively as the Circle of Saints or the Ring of Kramats, they run from Signal Hill to Faure, just outside Somerset
West. That’s where the most famous of Cape Town’s Kramats can be found— the shrine of Sheikh Yusuf, considered the father of Islam in the Cape. The Cape Mazaar Society are custodians of the Western Cape Kramats and offer Kramat Tours tailored to suit your Cape Town itinerary.
Every year in Cape Town, there are a number of pre-Ramadan markets where you can purchase products to prepare you for the month, such as: frozen savouries, groceries, kitchenware, Islamic accessories, clothing, gifts and more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these markets will not be taking place this year, with the exception of the Cape Town Halaal Market which will happen on Sunday, 11 April 2021 from 10am – 6pm at The Range in Orpen Road, Tokai. The entrance fee for the event is R10.
COVID-19 protocols and safety guidelines have been put in place to ensure the safety of visitors and locals who visit Cape Town. To find out more about these guidelines, head over to our TravelWise section.
STAY UP TO DATE
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights, browse accommodation, and rent a car now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.
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