Settled in to our leafy Cape Town neighbourhood, we were ready to explore more of the city. First up on the agenda: a charming hidden suburb at the foot of Signal Hill called Bo Ka’ap (meaning ‘upper cape’), known for its jumble of restored and crumbling heritage houses painted vivid colours.

The streets are a vibrant mix of heritage architecture, artisan studios, spice shops, cafes, restaurants and guesthouses – and 10 mosques! – it feels like a historic district on the cusp of gentrification, which I hope doesn’t happen.

Bo Ka’ap is home to a diverse 300-year-old Muslim community, established by freed slaves – when the houses were painted… white! Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Apparently, the paint job is a recent addition, thought to celebrate the Muslim festivals of Ramadan and Eid.

Fun fact: Residents have the legal right to change the colour of their house as often as they’d like but apparently there is one sticking point — it’s illegal to paint your house the same colour as your neighbours!

Hot sun beating down hard, we slow right down to take in all the details – the colours, the peeling paint, cute window boxes – as the mesmerising call echos from the minarets overhead making it a magical experience. It’s hard to believe we’re only a few yards from the city’s busy business district.

We escape the hot sun and learn more about the area’s Islamic culture and heritage at the Bo Kaap Museum, set inside one of the oldest houses in the neighbourhood, before a pitstop. There are plenty of cafes dotted around like the Rose Corner Cafe with its cool dusty orange painted shopfront decorated with artwork, where we stock up on ice-cold bottles of water and spices to take home.

As our exploring comes to an end, we walk past the cute La Rose B&B, which I make a note of for our next trip. After a bit of snooping, I find out this charming guesthouse offers eight vibrantly-decorated cosy en-suite rooms and that its owner loves making authentic crepes for guests, which you can enjoy on their breezy roof garden with views across all the colourful houses.

I hope you enjoyed joining in with our Bo Ka’ap adventure.

Next up: Follow me which I hunt for treasures along the Garden Route.

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1 Comment

  1. ellie, can i come on all your future holidays please? i'm sure dan won't mind!
    yes? brilliant, thanks – where we off to next? xx

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