Cape Town Trip: Bo Kaap neighborhood

Posted on January 1, 2013


The Bo Kaap area of Cape Town is a predominantly Muslim neighborhood overlooking town from its perch on the higher flanks of Table Mountain–‘Bo Kaap’ translates to ‘Upper Cape’ in Afrikaans. Its eccentric and varied building colors make it a great stop for a few hours.

Our jaunt began with a quick breakfast at one of Rea & Lea’s favorite places, named Haas, in an unassuming corner building painted a dark shade of ‘pariah’ grey. Once inside, Haas, became a fairytale little art shop; its modernly minimalistic decor shelves photos, locally produced crafts, and incredible sculptures–giving nooks of the restaurant a feel more akin to the market where you need to watch yourself.

During the Apartheid injustices, this neighborhood was forced to settle and stay where it still exists; however, it is now a fairly sought after locale with its overlook and collection of unique, tourist attracting, set of buildings. It is also undergoing a revitilization of sorts, which is being met with some resistance from those in the neighborhood as then now have to conform to new codes and regulations that are viewed as counterproductive in keeping the charm that makes this neighborhood special. As the country and neighborhoods (and people) continue to evolve away from their recent historical inequities, I only hope all are taken into account when decisions are made. Without rattling off a number of cliches, I’ll opt for the visual representation. Below are a number of the house-fronts we rambled passed in the Bo Kaap area.