Bo Kaap, The Cape Malay Quarter

Cape Town is easily one of the most colourful cities I have ever visited, but certain areas stand out more than others. The Cape Malay Quarter – also known as Bo Kaap, is one such standout. This area is famous for its colourful houses, cobbled streets and distinctly Dutch vibe. Once full of Cape Malay people, this area is now popular with students and foreign expats.

On a sunny Sunday, I once again met up with Hannah and Marit to explore this beautiful area, and more of the Cape Town city centre.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

It was a blisteringly hot day, and despite how oppressive the heat felt, it did mean that the throngs of other travellers were thinner than usual.

Beautiful Marit!
Beautiful Marit!

Photo 29-12-2014 10 58 56 am

Photo 29-12-2014 11 02 49 am

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Gorgeous Hannah!
Gorgeous Hannah!

Photo 5-05-2015 10 58 43 am

We spent about an hour walking and exploring before we then decided to join a small Cape Malay cooking class, where a wonderful long time resident of the area – Zainie – showed us how to make amazing Cape Malay curry and other delicacies. Zainie takes people into her own long-time home in Bo Kaap and while showing them how to cook the food of the Cape Malay people, explains how life was for this people during different eras and different points in South Africa’s history. It was a wonderful way to learn more about South African history, escape the heat and fill our bellies with yummy food all at once!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The lovely Zainie!
The lovely Zainie!

As it turned out, my lack of cooking skills back home follows me around the world, but Hannah – who is a proficient baker – took to the class like a duck to water. She was easily able to recreate all of Zainie’s demonstrations, and her samosas looked picture perfect.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Photo 5-05-2015 10 58 46 am

Photo 29-12-2014 11 17 58 am

After cooking for several hours, we sat down to a lovely meal where Zainie regaled us with stories about immigrating to Cape Town, and what life was like for the Bo Kaap people during and after Apartheid. It was both a delicious and informative afternoon.

Photo 28-04-2015 9 43 09 pm (1)

New blog idea: Cats of Cape Town
New blog idea: Cats of Cape Town

After we had filled our bellies (overfilled may be a more accurate term) we decided to walk around the District 6 area before Marit had to catch a train back to Muizenberg.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Photo 5-05-2015 10 58 39 am

Green Elephant Backpackers
Camera: iPhone 5
Budget: R150 ($15) per night for an eight bed dorm
Remember: Sunscreen and a healthy appetite
Bo-Kaap Cooking Class: A three hour class with sit down lunch and brief tour of the Bo-Kaap area is R600 ($60)
Get There: Catch any bus, minicab or train into the city centre and the Bo Kaap area is then a brief walk from Long Street

I love Bo Kaap and I really love Cape Town! I would love to hear what your favourite spots are in the Mother City, fill me in in the comments!

Posted by

30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

37 thoughts on “Bo Kaap, The Cape Malay Quarter

  1. Looks amazing! And a cooking class sounds like a great place to learn some of the stories from the area, much friendlier and more interesting than the usual tour πŸ™‚

  2. A really beautiful post. You’re so right about the colours and you three ladies looked to be having a fabulous time. I’d have loved to join that cooking class, too. Thank you for sharing those wonderful photos. πŸ™‚

  3. The colors of the houses in your photos reminds me of the ones on the hills throughout San Francisco. Thank you very much for sharing.

  4. Judging from the photo of the curry and the paratha (or roti canai as we call it here in Malaysia), it seems that the Malay-ness of the Cape Malay people still exist. As a Malay from Malaysia myself, I couldn’t help but to wonder what it feels like for the earlier Malays to be staying in a totally different place i.e. Cape Town and to endure the apartheid era.

    From my readings, I notice that the Cape Malays could not speak the Malay language anymore. So, maybe you can enlighten me of other cultural or heritage that these Cape Malays still practice.

    Nice blog post anyway!

  5. You tell it well! I’ve walked some of those streets… before the paint arrived!! Must say, it looks a lot better now!! πŸ˜‰

  6. Everything about this series is just beautiful. The vibrant colors, great food, unique experiences, plus all the smiles are an unbeatable combination. I love how you are meeting with real people like Zainie who have a deep connection to their community and a very interesting story to tell. Great stuff!!

Leave a Reply