|Stirring Up Cape Town's City Bowl
by: Gregory Hudson
For the discerning traveller
to the Cape who would like to explore Cape Town's City Bowl, here are a
few suggestions. Remember, Cape Town bears two distinct faces, a mask worn
by day and a mask worn by night. Whichever one you choose, this article
will provide you with a few hints on how, when and where to explore the
city bowl, whether by day or by night.
The City Bowl by Day:
Pan African Market
that the subject of masks has been broached, the discerning traveller to
the Cape may want to experience the full range of African facades. If this
is the case, you need go no further than the Pan African Market. Located
in a national monument on historic Long Street, one could easily walk to
this destination and most rented taxis know exactly where Long Street is
situated. Drop by the market on any day of the week and they should be
open, although there are certain occasions when they may be closed due
to certain religious observances.
Well worth a visit, it literally
looks as though the contents of this shop sprang straight out of the pages
of “King Solomons Mines”. Although the motifs behind the masks and other
goodies have often been lost in time, just looking at them should provide
you with enough of an explanation!
Green Market Square
A large cobbled area known
as Greenmarket Square can be found in the centre of the city bowl. It is
a busy place, a place to barter and haggle, providing a pleasant, corner
café atmosphere good for just sitting peacefully and watching the
There is perhaps no other
place where paths cross as they do at this hub of city life. A traveller
to the Cape is able to gain an insight into the African culture with only
an hour's observation, as Greenmarket Square provides a varied cultural
sampling of the cities folk.
The Cape Town Gardens
This historic parkland in
the heart of Cape Town is simply about birds, tea, roses, Koi Fish and
history, hopefully mixed with a bit of sunshine.
The best place to start your
leisurely walkabout would be just outside the Slave Lodge on the Corner
of Adderley and Wale Streets. To avoid disappointing the areas inhabitants,
bring peanuts. Oh, and lookout for the Albino Squirrel.
The architecturally and socially
unique Bokaap, otherwise known as the Malay Quarter, rests on the slopes
of Signal Hill. This quiet niche on the fringe of the City Bowl is a newly
proclaimed national monument. With its quaint, cobbled streets and renovated
slave quarters it, till this day, houses the original descendants for whom
the quarters were built. If you have never heard of a “Roti” ask for one
at a Bokaap café, they are delicious.
The City Bowl by Night:
The sunset in Cape town is
quite remarkable. With the waning of the daylight hours, the soft hues
cast themselves across the clouds welcoming the coming of the night. Cape
Town transforms, donning another mask as the city’s landscape begins to
The Cable Car Road
A drive along the Cable Car
Road is a little daring for some, particularly at this hour, but it is
well worth it! It is possible to see from this vantage point why Cape Town's
CBD is known as the City Bowl. As your gaze moves from left to right, Lion’s
Head contrasts sharply with the backdrop of a golden sunset, as you pan
further to the right; the torso of this giant beast becomes apparent. From
the Cable Car Road, you can literally see the complete outline of a resting
lion guarding his concrete jungle; a good time to take a snap!
The nightlife in Cape Town
comes in many shapes and sizes, here are a few possibilities:
There is warmth and feeling
to Mama Africa. This authentic African restaurant, dressed in traditional
African décor and serving the continents cultural cuisine, is always
a lively place. You can often catch Marimba music and live African bands
and the bar is not your average elbow parking lot either; it has been customised
in rather a reptilian fashion. But you need to see that for yourself!
Situated at the beginning
of the afore-mentioned garden walk, at the same intersection of Adderley
and Wale Streets, lies the Crypt. Under St George's Cathedral, the Crypt,
which was built in 1898, is now the haunt of Jazz enthusiasts and the playground
of dining room damsels from the Cape Town city bowl.
After being closed for years,
the Crypt's curved arches, leaded window panes and plaques commemorating
the dearly departed have been revealed for your eyes to behold. Actually
used for choir practice and as a clergy vestry, the Crypt provides big
breakfasts, cosy couches and a surprisingly warm atmosphere. Do make a
If you decide to pay Cape
Town a visit, remember Cape Town bears two distinct faces; a mask worn
by day and a mask worn by night. Whichever one you choose, it is all up