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“Learning the history makes it a 5 star attraction” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bo-kaap

Bo-kaap
Cape Town Central, South Africa
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Top Rated
$46*
and up
Cultural Cape Town - Langa and Khayelitsha
Type: Neighborhoods, Cultural
Activities: City walk sightseeing
Attraction details
Okatie, South Carolina, USA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Learning the history makes it a 5 star attraction”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

I went to Bo-Kaap on my own. I was lucky and met a 50 year native of the area who was kind enough to spend an hour with me describing the area and its long, painful history. Without a local guide you will not get the full understanding or experience what this neighborhood has to offer. It helps you to understand Cape Town today and Cape Town 40 years ago. I love Cape Town, and the time I spent in Bo-Kaap will be an experience I shall remember for a very long time.

Visited April 2013
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Date | Rating
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sydney australia
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Must get Cyril to do BoKaap tour.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Bought a ticket on the Hop on hop off bus so my huband could see the sights without having to drive, but the main reason being we wanted to do a BoKaap walking tour. We got to the Dutch Manor antique hotel lobby where the tour starts. I didn't read the brochure properly where it said tour commenced at 11:00am we got there at 11:20. But The girl on the desk organised someone to take us, she sent out Cyril Johnson who was only too happy to take just the two of us on a 1.5hr guided tour of BoKaap for only 90R each. Originally we were just going to drive around the streets to check out to the brightly coloured houses but I'm so glad I found this tour.
Cyril takes us up to the rooftop of the hotel where they have built a wooden path along the roof to a viewing area to show BoKaap from up high. He briefly points out places of interest before we take to the streets. He tells us his job at the hotel is to look after the flowers.
Bokaap is the Muslim quarter and only Muslims live there. The funny thing is have a street called Church St yet there are no churches in BoKaap only mosques.
Before Cyril was a tour guide, he was homeless, and spent 15 years living on the streets. He shows us where he use to sleep on the streets.
He used to do any odd jobs here and there. Cyril got friendly with the the staff at the Hotel, who used to seeing him around, and thats how he got the job as a gardener. Then the general manager of the hotel sponsored him to do a course to become a qualified tour guide. Showing people BoKaap is now his main job, and has been doing it for two years.
The narrow long cobbled streets are very steep in Bo-Kaap keep this in mind because he does take you to the top of the hill.
Cyril knows historical facts about the area as well as things he learned from being on the street.
He took us to the Atlas Trading, a spice shop where we had a look around as well as the Bo-Kaap Museum but we didnt go in, the Chiappini frescoes an Italian artist who lived in the area, the Tana Baru Muslim Cemetery where he would often sleep when homeless and a fantastic, unusual little coffee shop called Haas which sells gifts as well as coffee. (Bathroom amenities) Our last stop is a gold museum. We learn about the art of cutting, polishing and pricing diamonds. Then they let us loose to spend in their diamond store (they DON'T pressure you to buy) they also sell african souvenirs. I bought the african souvenirs, you could see the relief in in my husbands face.
Cyril now lives with his sister in the outer suburbs do Cape Town. If you google Cyril Johnson there are many stories about his life.
A fantastic day.
There are a few other people who do these tours. They are far more expensive and a lot longer but if you want only a couple of hours this tour should not to be missed.
Closed Xmas day and New Year's Day.
Not sure if you need to book ring hotel for details.

Visited May 2013
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“You cannot miss the Bo-Kaap”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

A unique experience with colourful restored cottages dated from early days in Cape Town. Close to trendy De Waterkant.

Visited November 2012
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Hong Kong
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
44 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“If interested enough to spend money for a local guide, then it might be worthwhile”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

Your experience will definitely depend on what you bring to it, and expect. If you are interested in the culture and history, definitely go with a local guide, because they can answer all your questions and give you a first-hand account.

Otherwise, a few snaps of the pretty and colorful houses are good enough.

I did join the tour that was advertised on the the hop-on/hop-off bus route, and we were the only ones that day -- the guide was nice, and i'm sure he told us some interesting facts, but the only thing i really remember from the experience was the noon day gun (we walked up the hill to see it fired).

Visited September 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Excellent tour guide enhanced our visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

If you visit this area (the Malay quarter), get in touch with shireen.narkedien@gmail.com. She took us on a very engaging guided walk telling us about the history of the area and the people who live there. The area is beautiful with multi-colored houses, small alleyways and old mosques.

Visited March 2013
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