Arrival in Cape Town

We are staying in Bo Kaap, the Malay section of Cape Town. In the 1600s, the Dutch brought slaves from the Malay peninsula and Indonesia to Cape Town. Over the years the various racist regimes eventually classified the Malays as coloured. They did remain Muslim and after slavery was abolished in the 1830s, many ended up in this neighborhood. The little houses are all painted in bright colors, there are many mosques (one right across the street from us – first call to prayer is around 5am), and a unique culture. The woman who manages our Airbnb wears the hijab.

After a good night’s sleep, we got up, had breakfast and took a taxi to Table Mountain, Cape Town’s iconic mountain in the center of the city. It rises 3000 feet and is flat on top, hence the name. We took a cable car up, hiked around for a while, had coffee and a snack. It was a beautiful sunny cool day, we had our jackets on most of the time. Stunning views of False Bay, the Atlantic, the city and surrounding mountains. 

Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain

After the mountain, we took an Uber to the botanical gardens at the foot of Table Mountain. Beautiful, quiet, peaceful, some flowers blooming (it’s the first days of spring here, which they count from September 1), nice views of the mountain.

Back home, we had a snack and took a 2 mile walk to the waterfront to meet Keenan, our guide on a food tour. Keenan is a Cape Malay, so he was very surprised to learn we are staying in Bo Kaap. Of course, our first stop was a nice little Malay restaurant two blocks from home so 2 miles back in an Uber. We had two lamb dishes, one in a tomato-based sauce and the other in a tamarind and brown sugar sauce. Both were really good, even lamb-averse Maria enjoyed them 

Bruce, Maria, Keenan
How to say Um!qombothi

Next stop was at Marco’s African Restaurant where we had a native beer made from corn meal, corn malt, sorghum and yeast called Um!qombothi (the ! is a click made snapping the tongue on the roof of the mouth).


Next was an appetizer plate with ostrich carpaccio, springbok carpaccio and grilled crocodile, along with a plate of fried mopani worms, large caterpillars with the insides removed, then seasoned and fried. Earthy taste and a texture like calamari.

We ended up back at the waterfront for seafood. We decided on a combo plate of sushi, which was light, a perfect ending to this meal-in-stages.

Keenan was a great dinner companion. He’s early 30s, and lists his profession as comedian. He’s opened for Trevor Noah. He also does these food tours, is a DJ and MC. Very personable and funny, we had a great evening. 

Back home, we conked out pretty quickly.