Cape Malay heritage tours
Did you know?
An invitation to guests by a Muslim host is called a niyyat, and expresses the intention to share a feast.
Cape Malay heritage tours are a rewarding way to explore the interwoven histories of the Cape’s culturally diverse communities, and enjoy some sightseeing en-route.
Arguably, Cape Malay culture is best known outside of South Africa through its distinctive cuisine, but as visitors to Cape Town can discover on a Cape Malay culture tour, the Western Cape’s Malay community is proudly protective of their traditional and religious beliefs, and deeply conscious of their struggle heritage.
A tour of the Cape Peninsula to explore Cape Malay heritage, takes visitors to must-see sites like Table Mountain, the Castle of Good Hope, and Cape Point, but includes stopovers in historic Cape Malay strongholds like District Six and the Bo-Kaap. What adds depth and interest to a Cape Malay Heritage Tour is the opportunity to visit museums, and mosques, tombs, and shrines of significance to the Malay community (most Cape Malay’s are Muslims). Cultural interaction is a key component, enabling visitors to meet Imams and Islamic scholars, sample traditional cuisine in a Malay home, and socialise with local community members.
While the focus is on Malay heritage, visitors will gain an understanding of the multi-heterogeneous community of the early Cape, and District Six in particular. Political oppression and enforced racial segregation during apartheid forced different ‘non-white’ cultures to live together, so a Cape Malay culture tour includes a stop at an Anglican church in a Muslim suburb, accounts of different races and faiths living peaceably side-by-side, and a visit to the Great Synagogue in the Company Gardens.
For those with an interest in the influence of slavery and apartheid on South Africa, and in particular the Malay community, a Bo-Kaap heritage tour, includes visits to the Bo-Kaap Muslim museum, Cape Town’s Flower market and station, Sea Point, the V&A Waterfront, with an optional visit to Robben Island.
Likewise, the Cape Winelands abound with Malay slave heritage, so on a Cape Malay winelands tour, you’ll experience the best wine estates, farms and restaurants, and learn the history and contribution of the Cape Malays to this beloved region of the Cape.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)21 797 1070
Mobile: +27 (0)82 695 4695
How to get here
Drive to Cape Town, or fly to Cape Town International Airport. Your tour guide will pick you up at your accommodation.
Best time to visit
Cape Malay heritage tours are available year-round outside of Muslim religious holidays.
Tours include transport and guides for walking excursions
What will it cost
A half-day Malay heritage tour will cost R900.
Length of stay
Full or half-day Cape Malay heritage tours are available.
What to pack
Comfortable walking shoes, hat, camera, sunglasses, sun block, weatherproof jacket.
Where to stay
Enquire with your tour operator or guide about home-stays in the Malay community.
What to eat
Tours typically include traditional Malay refreshments or lunch. Food is Halaal.
The Bo-Kaap Crafts & Food Market Day is held on the first Saturday of the month in the middle of the Bo-Kaap district. Sit down with the locals and enjoy treats like samoosas, smoked snoek, curries and special cakes.