Bo-Kaap: 7 Things to do

A trip to Cape Town would be sad without a visit to the iconic Bo-Kaap. Hanging down the lower slopes of Signal Hill, on the edge of the CBD, the Bo-Kaap sits with colourful enthusiasm. Famous for its brightly-painted Cape Dutch houses that stand in line like individual soldiers along cobbled streets. This place is definitely a must-see for any new travellers in the city of Cape Town. This area with a 260-year old history has welcomed many Instagram photos in the past, thanks to its ultimately unique streets.

1. Visit the Bo-Kaap museum

Begin your sight-seeing in the Bo-Kaap museum which is located in the oldest building in the Bo-Kaap. This beautiful home was built by the developer of the Bo-Kaap, Jan De Waal, in the 1760’s. Now a national  monument, this home/museum welcomes all visitors to browse the history of the Bo-Kaap for only R20.

2. Meander through the streets

After soaking in the history and culture of this stunning place, it’s time to go for a walk through the brightly-coloured streets and meet some of the residents. We recommend that you take your time wandering through these cobblestone streets, taking photos and enjoying the imagination of its rich history. Listen to this great and very insightful audio of the Bo-Kaap by local resident Shereen Habib to gain a richer sentiment and knowledge.


3. Auwal Mosque

The Auwal Mosque was built in 1794 which was the first mosque to be built in South Africa. Inside this mosque was the first place the Cape Malay traditions and language was able to be taught and observed along with public prayers. This place has lent itself as a symbol of faith and freedom for the community for a very long time.


4. Tana Baru cemetery

When religious freedom was given in 1804, this cemetery at the edge of  Signal Hill was the very first muslim burial  site in South Africa. While at the moment not in use, the cemetery is a very respected one. The graves and shrines of very important muslim imams can be found at this site.

5. The Atlas Trading Co.

Open since 1946, the Atlas Trading Co. can be smelt from far away. It is a family-owned spice shop where generations of Cape Malays have come to buy what they need for their exceptional cooking. It’s impossible to leave without actually buying something.

Cape Town

6. Eat Cape Malay food

One of the best ways to understand a culture and to get to know it is to eat their food. For some of the best meals, visit the Bo-Kaap Kombuis. With the most beautiful views of Table Mountain and some of the most authentic Cape Malay curries this place is must-see. The second place in the Bo-Kaap to taste some great food is the Biesmellah. A place that is especially popular for its Bobotie. A dish that consists of a spicy minced-meat base, baked with an egg topping. Rose-corner Café is another famous place to eat in the Bo-Kaap. Its famous for its Koeksisters, which are spiced donuts which are then fried in syrup and sprinkled with coconut shavings.

Cape Town

7. Cape Malay cooking class

Join Gamindah Jacobs at the Lekke Kombuis for a very interesting cooking class where you’ll also be able to take a tour of the more local shops and markets for food and ingredients. Then you’ll be learning how to make exceptional curries and take in the true complexities of the culture.

So if you’re interested in coming to the Bo-Kaap for a day to tour the rich history of this place then don’t hesitate to book a Cape Town tour with us by following this link: