The Colorful Brilliance of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Though I did get a bit lost on the way to Bo-Kaap, assuming that I’d easily stumble upon this lovely neighborhood, for more navigationally-savvy individuals it’s about a ten-minute walk from the center of Cape Town, South Africa. You’ll know immediately when you arrive at Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, when you’re suddenly walking on cobblestone streets lined with the most brilliantly colored homes, situated directly side-by-side to one another.

As you walk along the streets, your eyes are met with an array of bright colors set against a bold blue sky. I got to Bo-Kaap as the sun began to set, but you can imagine how radiant these abodes can be when the sun’s shining brightly.

The candy-colored homes are a combination of Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architectural styles and make for some incredible photo ops! A loud pink alongside lime green, a sunny yellow adjoins lavender, which meets a sky blue. Kids are playing in the streets, while hip photographers are doing their best to capture just how stunning these homes are. It’s a quaint, charming area with lots to see.

This unique neighborhood is home to a diverse heritage ranging from Africa, India, Malaysia, Madagascar and Sri Lanka, as a result of the Dutch slave trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. Once a neighborhood for “Cape Muslims only” under the 1950 apartheid law, Muslims splashed their segregated neighborhood with the bold colors that can still be seen today.

Not only is Bo-Kaap is one of the most colorful parts of South Africa, but it’s also an area known for its culture and history. For those interested in learning more about it, one of the oldest buildings in Bo Kaap has been turned into The Bo Kaap Museum, which showcases local Islamic culture and heritage. Moreover, Bo-Kaap is where South Africa’s oldest mosque can be found. The Auwal Mosque on Dorp Street was constructed in 1794.

As one of the oldest area in Cape Town, a stroll through this vibrant area shouldn’t be missed.


Chelsea is a San Francisco-based journalist whose passion revolves around exploring the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious.

Her work can be found in TravelPulse, Forbes, INSIDER, SF Gate and more. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine.


    • cheyday
      February 8, 2018 / 12:00 pm

      Thanks so much Angela!

  1. February 8, 2018 / 7:15 am

    WOW!!!! What an incredibly beautiful and interesting place! Not to mention super Instagrammable! Lovely post!

    • cheyday
      February 8, 2018 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks PB! Yes, you’d love it! It’s so pretty!

  2. Tiffany Toombs
    February 8, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    Those houses are absolutely stunning! I’m adding it to my travel list!!

    • cheyday
      February 10, 2018 / 1:21 am

      Yes you absolutely should!

    • cheyday
      March 12, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks Stacey!!!

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