Walking Around Cape Town: Bo-Kaap Tour

Bo-Kaap

When I go to a new city, I like to get acclimated to the place through a guided tour. Bike tours are scarce in Cape Town, probably because of all the hills, but there are good guided tours thanks to Cape Town Free Walking Tours.

Cape Town Free Walking Tours offers 3 walking tour options at 2 different times of day. Our first day in Cape Town, we took the tour of Bo-Kaap.

Bo-Kaap Tour
Bo-Kaap
Photo taken on the Bo-Kaap walking tour

The Bo-Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town is one of the  best known areas of the city and has a tour of its own. Bo-Kaap is a multicultural part of town, originally inhabited by Malaysians, Indonesians and other Africans. It is also the site of the country’s first Muslim mosque, Auwai Mosque.

Bo-Kaap Mosque
Auwal Mosque, first mosque established in South Africa, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Our tour guide, Ken, encouraged us to be friendly with the locals, who were also very friendly with us. In addition to sharing history regarding Bo-Kaap, he emphasized the melding of cultures in this neighborhood as a metaphor for the city and South Africa itself. He also gave us tips on local restaurants and nightlife spots. The highlight of the neighborhood is the colorful houses, which Ken tells us started as a marketing stunt. I can’t remember who he said started the trend, but one of the businessmen painted his house a bright color so people could find him. His success led to copycats, so that the butcher had the red house, the cobbler had the blue one, etc. etc. Now the area may not have those tradesmen, but the bright houses remain and it is definitely popular for photos!

Bo-Kaap Street Art
Street Art in Bo-Kaap