Greenmarket Square – the very centre of the city, so-named because this is where the first Dutch colonial farmers brought their produce to sell. Now it’s a vibrant market with many souvenirs for tourists, surrounded by amazing architecture, historic buildings, and a good variety of places to eat.
Bo-Kaap – previously known as the Malay Quarter, this small part of the city is most famous for its brightly coloured houses but its history goes deeper than just that. Some of our favourite activities in the Bo-Kaap is a cooking lesson and a visit to the spice shop with the best selection in the Cape. We also love the corner clothing shop where everything is locally made. Our favourite clothing items are the bright raincoats with shweshwe lining.
Architecture – visitors to downtown Cape Town are always astounded to see the mixture of building styles. The influence of various colonial settlers and recent trends have resulted in an eclectic mix that works well. In addition to these influences, there are a lot of Art Deco buildings as this style was very popular in South Africa. Market House on Greenmarket Square is our personal favourite but the most well-known one in the city is Mutual Heights, modeled on New York’s Chrysler Building.
Apartheid – the regime of structured segregation is very much a part of what makes this an interesting city centre. Even park benches were segregated. Nelson Mandela’s appearance on the balcony of the old City Hall marked the end of that era.
Restaurants – a lunch stop is always needed and the city centre has no shortage of choices. On this particular day we popped in to our favourite Tapas restaurant in Loop Street, Fork.