From Bo-Kaap to Denningsvleis at Karibu

Cape Town is the most populous city in South Africa, lying at the foot of iconic Table Mountain, and is famous for its gorgeous natural harbor. Much of the former dock area is now a commercial and natural beauty of reclaimed land forming the tourist waterfront area with museums, craft markets, restaurants and upscale housing.

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Because of its location and natural beauty, the town is the number one tourism site in South Africa receiving the largest number of tourists of any South African city. The proximity of wild game reserves, large convention center, and world-class soccer stadium has also drawn people to this area as well as its year round temperate climate and warm Indian Ocean water and beautiful beaches.

When we arrived it was a chilly morning in Cape Town and Table Mountain was covered with grey clouds and rain expected. Being the optimistic women that we are, we both headed off on our individual day’s activities.

Mary Jane chose to explore the Bo-Kaap area of the city on her own. She engaged a cab to take her into the area so she could photograph the brightly painted homes. During her stroll she met an older gentlemen, Mr. Gabier, who she engaged in an extensive conversation about the area.

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He told Mary Jane that his family has lived in Bo-Kaap for 50 years, but had been ordered to leave the area during Apartheid because he was colored (mixed race), and ended up living in District 6 (detailed later in the blog) for a number of years before his family was allowed to return to the Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town. We surmise that Mr. Gabier was certainly a man of importance and wealth, as not all past inhabitants of this area were allowed to return. He took great efforts to explain what happened during those troubled years: the effects it had on individual families being separated from spouses and their children, even thrown in jail and deported. Much emotional pain and suffering existed for those people. Even though Apartheid is now technically ended, Mr. Gabier said there still is segregation of the races, especially in the townships (detailed later in the blog).

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In Bo-Kaap there is some mixture between the whites and coloreds, even a few blacks live there, as well as people from other parts of the world who have multiple houses. It is considered a wealthy area, with homes selling for over $1,000,000 and up depending on the view. Many Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Lexus automobiles are parked along the street that, in some places, are interspersed with vacant, crumbling buildings.

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Mr. Gabier (who is Muslim) lives at 71 Dorp Street in the heart of Bo-Kaap, near the Auwal Mosque that was established in 1798. Within a few blocks of each other there are three different mosques dating back 200 years that Mary Jane saw during her visit.

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Mr. Gabier was quick to warn Mary Jane about wandering the neighborhood with her camera as people from outside the area come in with criminal intents and give the neighborhood a bad reputation. Later in her walk, two other gentlemen also gave her warnings.

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Mary Jane eventually got lost, having turned her neighborhood map upside down and ended up walking half way up Signal Hill and finally realized her problem when the streets and houses ended. But what goes up must also come down, so it was a long walk, but with many beautiful vistas of Table Mountain and the harbor area.

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She could not find a cab on the busy street on the edge of Bo-Kaap, so she walked back to the ship following the road signs that the motorists used. She also stopped to talk to some of the people along the way finding them to be very friendly.

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Barb on the other hand took a guided, walking tour of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and returned to the ship a few minutes before MJ arrived.

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The famous coca cola robot statue sporting replicas of the 2012 Olympic medals won by South Africa.

After a short time in the cabin we decided to go back to the V & A to have some South African cuisine for lunch and then skip dinner. Barb convinced MJ into taking the shuttle bus to the waterfront development, where she and Carolyn had enjoyed a day two years ago when we were in the city on the Queen Mary 2.

After shopping in the Red Shed Craft Workshop and making some purchases, we chose the Karibu Restaurant for lunch. Barb had lamb curry and MJ had Denningsvleis, a traditional South Africa dish made with lamb and tamarind that was served atop curried rice with raisins and accompanied with a tomato, onion salsa and fresh springs of cilantro.

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Lamb Curry

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Denningsvleis

We returned to the Red Shed again and also visited the Blue Shed, also known as the Craft Market and Wellness Center. Both feature handcrafted gifts, original artworks, stylish clothing and contemporary furnishings and crafters’ demonstrations.

We shopped a bit more, wandered around the waterfront, and visited some of the sights and shops that MJ and CJ had visited earlier. About 6:15 PM we got back to the ship – exhausted and fell onto our beds only to be awakened about an hour later by our room steward wanting to prepare our cabin for the night. We told him to skip us, so he gave us our pillow chocolates and we got ready for bed.

Day 2 in Cape Town is the story of Apartheid as presented on Barbara’s tour during our second day in Cape Town. It gives more detail on District 6 and the Townships that was referenced above. So look for that Blog posting within the next couple of days.

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One Response to “From Bo-Kaap to Denningsvleis at Karibu”

  1. Very interesting, MJ. The only time I was in South Africa was during apartheid. It was very sad. Really enjoying your blog!

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