Located on the slopes of Signal Hill, close to the City Centre, and with Table Mountain looming nearby, the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in any major city.

The residents of this inner city area, with its brightly painted houses being picked out by the sun, are descended from some of the slaves that were imported by the Dutch in the 16th and 17th Century. For a reason that nobody is sure of, these people are today known as Cape Malays, even though fewer than 1% of residents have descendants from Malaysia.

The best way to experience the Bo Kaap is to walk around with a local guide, someone who knows the area and the people really well. This way the visitor receives a fleeting glimpse of the local day-to-day happenings in the Bo Kaap. There’s the student from Saudi Arabia who is learning English in Cape Town, but who doesn’t trust South African dentists to treat the abscess on his tooth. The children expect a few treats from the guide; the shopkeeper in the Indian delicatessen no longer wants a South African soccer jersey but rather a Brazilian one with large letters across the front and in a smaller size.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734