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

Why People Need To Consider The High Tea 12 Apostles Hotel

Finding the perfect place to stay when you are traveling to a a place as exotic as South Africa you may find that it is rather hard to find the perfect place to stay. This is when you should know more about the High Tea 12 Apostles hotel. By knowing about this location you can see why it is consistently rated as one of the best hotels in South Africa, but also why it has become such a destination place for people of all ages and charms.


On site restaurant that is present is going to be one of the major pluses that you will enjoy when you stay at this hotel. With some of the hotels when they say they have an on site restaurant it generally means you are going to be going out to eat because the food and drink leaves you wanting more. However, with this location it is going to have some of the best food and the food quality is good enough that it has a tendency to draw in the locals who are going to want to enjoy the food along with you.


The amenities offered at the location are going to vary from the on site spa to the nature hikes that you can go on. All of these when you combine them together for your full trip is going to make your trip one that you will not forget anytime soon. Instead, you will find that the trip is going to make it easier for you to remember your trip for years to come. However, what else you will enjoy is the fact this is a location that has broken down a lot of their adventures into what people enjoy from family adventures to trips the wine lovers will enjoy.


Finally the rooms are simply amazing. The rooms have a lot of the modern day comforts that you would expect from a five star resort, but they also have the down home feel that you want to have as well. So you will have a chance to really enjoy the region even more because you know that when you get back to the hotel the room will be properly prepared for you and it is going to make it easier for you to enjoy the trip because you have a great place to go back to at night.


Finding the perfect place to stay at night when you are traveling can be difficult to do. This is when you should know about a place like the High Tea 12 Apostles Hotel. By knowing about this location in beautiful Cape Town, it will be easy for you to find the … Read the rest