Colorful Bo Kaap

One of the central districts of Cape Town, South Africa, located at the foot of Signal Hill, Bo Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, is an attraction for many travellers.

The origins of Bo Kaap date back to the 1760s when numerous houses were built for slaves from Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia, who were imported by the Dutch. While on lease, all the houses of this district had to be white and when the slaves where allowed to buy the properties, all were painted with bright colors as a symbol of freedom.

Today Bo Kaap is a multicultural area with cobble stoned streets and colored buildings based on a mix of Dutch and Georgian architecture. The best place to discover the history of this area is the Bo-Kaap Museum, located in one of the oldest buildings of Bo Kaap, with an exposition of photos and decors of the Islamic culture.

Many of the families have been living in this suburb for generations, passing on craft and cooking skills and creating their own “Cape Malay cuisine” that is based on a combination of Asian, Arabic and European food. Visitors can enjoy a Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour organized by Zainie Misbach, who teaches how to cook traditional dishes, explaining old recipes and secret techniques.

In Bo Kaap travellers can also try traditional meals and snacks at the local restaurants and cafes, discover the district through walking tours or enjoy the produce and craft markets every first Saturday of each month.


Photo Credit: ©Cape Town tourism,