Halaal Cape Town, A Visitor’s Guide
Words & pics Dilshad Parker
All roads lead to Table Mountain. At least that’s how most Capetonians feel. Once you have roots here you will never leave. And that’s how it must have felt for the early Muslims that came here from Malaysia and India and made it their home. There are few places in the western world that are more Muslim friendly than Cape Town. In fact, South Africa ranks no.4 in Crescentrating’s list of non OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries.
The Muslim community forms an integral part of South Africa’s cultural diversity. It has given rise to many important sites for Muslims. Mosques are easily found and Muslim saints are buried at shrines known as Kramats at several spots in the Western Cape. Areas like Bo Kaap have become a well-known destination for experiencing the Cape Malay culture and food. And Halaal food is abundant. The Muslim traveller to Cape Town is spoilt for choice.
Here are some ideas for Muslim visitors to the Mother City. Where to go and where to eat combinations that will take the hassle out of your next trip.
Visit: Robben Island Kramat
Although a popular destination for tourists, not many know that Robben Island is home to a Kramat or Shrine that is of significance for Muslim tourists. The Tuan Matarah shrine on Robben Island is a symbol of the struggle for the establishment of Islam. Ironically, this shrine was constructed by the Apartheid prison authorities in the 1960s.
Eat at: Truffle
Truffle is one of the very few fully halaal fine dining venues in Cape Town, serving up more than just food but the full dining experience. The venue is tasteful and upmarket without being too hoity toity. You can get from handmade ravioli to a burger and chips. They also focus on gourmet mocktails and milkshakes. Meals average from R150 to R200 per person.
Visit: Roggeland Country Estate in Paarl
Roggeland Country House was declared a National Heritage site because of its rich history and idyllic setting. The old Dutch farm was bought from the Heritage Foundation by the Moerat Brothers and restored to function as a destination venue for events, picnics, weddings, conferences all aimed at servicing the Muslim market, ironically in the heart of the Winelands. The farm has a pool and ponies that the children can ride while you breakfast under the trees. And a quad buggy can be arranged to take guests around to neighbouring farms and places of interest to trace the history of the area.
Eat at: Roggeland Country House, of course
Experience traditional Cape Malay cuisine in a beautiful Cape Dutch country setting. Breakfast or lunch buffets are available at affordable rates from about R150 per person. Pre-booking only.
Visit: Bo Kaap
The historic Bo Kaap, formerly known, as the Malay Quarter, is a no brainer for any visitor to Cape Town. It is a multicultural area, nestled on the slopes of signal hill. Follow the cobble stoned streets and experience a bustling suburb filled with brightly coloured houses from the seventeenth and nineteenth century, Muslim saints shrines and many beautiful Mosques including the first established Muslim Mosque in South Africa.
Eat at: Bo Kaap Kombuis
The hospitality of Yusuf and Nazli, the owners of this warm establishment, is unsurpassed. A cozy restaurant serving Cape Malay cuisine, with a majestic view of Table Mountain and the beautiful Mother City. Average cost of R250 for 2 people. Booking is advised and they are closed on a Monday.
Source: Travel Ideas