Visiting the Colorful Neighborhood of Bo-Kaap


Bo-Kaap is a vibrant neighborhood situated at the foot of Signal Hill that has preserved a distinctive identity over centuries of change. It is one of the most visited places in Cape Town not only for its colorful picturesque terraced houses and steep cobbled streets but also for its invaluable historical and heritage value.

The houses in the streets of Bo-Kaap are a mixture of Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architectural styles combined with the Islamic faith, culture and eastern origin of the majority of its inhabitants. Many of the families in the Bo-Kaap have been living there for generations. The residents are mostly descendants of the slaves who were imported by the Dutch during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to work in the Cape.

Bo-Kaap Brief History

bo-kaap brief history

Bo-Kaap is one of the oldest urban residential areas in Cape Town. Its long history dates back to 1760s when Jan de Waal built several small “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) on this land, which he rented out to his slaves. This earliest development in the Bo-Kaap area became known as Waalendorp,

This neighborhood was formerly known as the Malay Quarter because its residents were brought from Malaysia, Indonesia, other parts of Asia and the rest of Africa to work in the Cape as slaves. They were convicts, slaves, political exiles, skilled craftsmen, artisans, famous scholars and religious leaders. And because a majority of them were East Indies who came from the Malay Archipelago, they became known as the Cape Malays.

When the slaves were freed in 1834, the need for modest houses arose which prompted the property developers to build many “huurhuisjes”. Many Muslims then moved to the new parts of Bo-Kaap.

The bright colorful houses of today are said to be attributed to the fact that while on the lease, all the houses had to be white. So, when the slaves were allowed to buy the properties, all the houses were painted bright colors by their owners as an expression of their freedom.

The Bo-Kaap Museum

bo-kaap museum

The Bo-Kaap Museum is the last remnant of Waalendorp. It is housed in the oldest still standing building in Wale Street. The museum is the place to find out about resident Islamic community, its history and culture. The building was restored in the 1970s and opened in 1978 as a satellite of the SA Cultural History Museum and was furnished as a house that depicts the lifestyle of a nineteenth-century Muslim family.

The museum falls under the Iziko group of Cape museums and is in the process of transformation into a social history museum.

Cape Town’s Muslim Community

bo-kaap mosque

Although the Bo-Kaap has over centuries been home to people of various origins and religions, it has been … Read the rest

The Castle of Good Hope

castle of good hope

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. It was built in the 1600s. It is shaped in a pentagon with five bastions and flaunts both elements of Medieval and English Renaissance architecture. Before the land reclamation forced the building inland, it was originally a marker of the Table Bay shoreline. This fortress was once the center of civilian, administrative and military life in the Cape. The Castle of Good Hope arguably represents one of the best preserved 17th century DEIC architecture on the entire globe.  The Castle formed part of a formidable defensive system at the Cape that discouraged attacks. It has never been attacked. It is hoped to become South Africa’s next UNESCO World Heritage Site.

castle of good hope

The History

In 1664, tensions between Britain and the Netherlands renewed rumors of war. With the fear of a British attack on the Cape, a five-pointed stone Castle similar to other such fortifications in Europe and the East was built. It was planned around a central point with five bulwarks known as bastions.

The site of the Castle was chosen in 1665 by the Commissioner Isbrand Goske who later became the first Governor of the Cape. Pieter Dombaer, as the engineer, was responsible for the construction of the Castle which was built by slaves, burghers, Khoikhoi and company workers.

The foundations of the Castle of Good Hope were dug in 1665 and the cornerstones of the first bastion were laid on the 2nd January 1666, after which building started in all earnest.

The building of the castle was delayed when peace returned to Europe in 1667. The first bastion, Leerdam, was completed on the 5 November 1670. Followed by Buuren, Catzenellenbogen, Nassau, and Oranje. The five bastions were named after the main titles of William III of Orange-Nassau on 26 April 1679. The height of the walls of the bastions on the sea side was 10 meters, and those on the land side were even higher.

In 1679, the Castle was finally completed. It was called a Castle because of its defensive structure and because it comprised a small community or town on its own similar to those castles in Europe. Inside its walls, there were among others, a church, living quarters, bakery, offices, workshops, cells and other facilities.

castle of good hope entrance

This castle can be entered through the Main Gateway from the Grand Parade and City Hall side. Between 1682 and 1684, this entrance was built to replace the original entrance which was situated between the Buuren and Catzenellenbogen bastions. The pediment above the entrance bears the crowned lion rampant with the seven arrows of unity in its paw which was the coat-of-arms of the United … Read the rest

What Are The Zululand Battefields

When people want to travel to a location to learn about the history and know more about what happened they need to realize it can be easier to do than what they imagined. To that end people may want to know more about what the Zululand Battefields are and why they would want to go and see these locations. Without this people may have some problems in justifying a trip to this location and that can make it nearly impossible for them to have a great trip because of the lack of knowledge they have on what makes this a great place to go to.


The number of battlefields that are around is going to be one of the main things that people are going to enjoy with the locations. While a lot of times people would think they are going to only see a couple of battlefields they need to realize this was a long and drawn out affair. Since it was such a long and drawn out affair it is going to have quite a few different battlefields for people to enjoy looking at and visiting. In fact, their are eighty two different battlefields that people can enjoy.

The museums that are considered part of the eight two battlefield locations are going to have a lot of different features for people to enjoy. Usually people do not think about this, but they are going to notice this is a location that is going to be filled with a lot of different artifacts, historical pieces, and even information that is going to be given regarding the type of information that people were given by accounts or images. So this may be another feature that people are going to enjoy with these locations.


Ability to select the different wars or campaigns is something else that is going to make it easier for people to have a good trip. Usually people would never think about this, but with this place it is going to allow people to follow the line of the war and know what happened and how it happened. This way people are able to get a feel for the battles and see how they progressed towards the end of the wars and such. Without this, people may end up jumping around in the locations and not realize they are looking at the ending battlefield first, and the first battlefield last.

Location of these battlefields is another factor that is going to want to make people travel here. While most of the time people would not think about the location being one that is going to make a major impact on their life because it is just a battlefield, … Read the rest