Bo-kaap, Cape Town, Western Cape

Translating as ‘above the Cape’ in Afrikaans, the Bo-Kaap is a rich centre of Cape Malay heritage. This cluster of Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian houses hug the slopes of Signal Hill and are famous for being painted in rainbow pastel hues. The Bo-Kaap Museum provides a stirring and comprehensive account of the community and its history as a former slave quarter.

Don’t miss:

Atlas Trading Company is a family-owned spice shop that has been beloved by locals for over 50 years, and delicately perfumes almost the entire neighbourhood.

If you like this, try:

The gabled and thatched farmhouses in the Winelands are striking examples of Cape Dutch architecture.

Culture 1
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Modern Art Africa


Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, Western Cape

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, in the uber-chic Silo precinct of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, has a spectacular cathedral-like atrium carved out of the original cellular concrete, a tribute to the building’s industrial heritage. The extensive collections are spread over nine floors with 100 gallery spaces all dedicated to Africa and its diaspora.

Don’t miss:

Catch OFF-THE-AIR, a photographic exhibition by Mouna Karray from Tunisia, until 1 April 2019.
If you like this, try: Whatiftheworld in Cape Town’s central business district — a contemporary art gallery that hosts regular exhibitions and installations by African artists.

Culture 2
Nelson Mandela


Qunu, Eastern Cape

The birthplace of Nelson Mandela, Qunu is a picturesque pastoral community in the heart of the Eastern Cape. This small rural village has become a mecca for travellers wanting insight into the origins of one of the most significant titans of recent history. You can even enjoy a meal or homestay with a member of the Madiba clan that Mandela was the patriarch of.

Don’t miss:

The Nelson Mandela Museum is a modest but engrossing repository of information on the ‘Father of a Nation’.

If you like this try:

Matjiesfontein, on the edge of the Great Karoo, is a tiny colonial-style town founded in 1884. Take the train from Cape Town and overnight there.

Culture 3
Splashy Fen

Live music

Splashy Fen, Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal

Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest running live music festival, taking place on a farm over the Easter weekend. It’s considered one of the best outdoor events of its type, presenting 400 musicians over one weekend. The 30th edition of Splashy Fen takes place from 18 to 22 April 2019 in the spectacular Drakensberg mountains (the line-up is announced in February 2019).

Don’t miss:

This celebration of art, people and music is held in a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also offers mountain biking, horse riding and trout fishing, as well as San rock art.

If you like this, try:

Hanks, in Cape Town’s Bree Street, for some excellent live jazz every Tuesday night.

Culture 4
The National Arts Festival


National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (Makhanda), Eastern Cape

The largest performing arts festival in South Africa, the National Arts Festival sees the normally laid-back university town transformed into a dynamic arts and culture destination. Held every June/July, local and international artists present theatre shows, concerts, dance and installations.

Don’t miss:

The fringe is home to some of the brightest gems of South African theatre.

If you like this, try:

The one-of-a-kind Voorkamerfest, in Darling close to Cape Town, which ferries guests to the homes of locals to watch 30-minute performances of poetry recitals, comedy, dance, song and more.

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