THE BLOG
06/07/2018 07:40 SAST | Updated 06/07/2018 07:40 SAST

Unique Travel Experiences For Muslim Tourists In Cape Town

There’s growing interest in Cape Town from Muslim travellers hailing from all over the world – local tourism can offer a range of tailored attractions.

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Travellers' expectations, preferences and needs differ from age to age and within cultural and religious expectations. While these requirements all represent different preferences and backgrounds, these create an opportunity for niche travel products and services.

There's increasing interest in Cape Town from Muslim travellers, so this represents a great opportunity for tourism professionals to up their game as to what's on offer. Although the Muslim-friendly tourism market is still in its early days, there is lots the Muslim traveller can enjoy in the city all year round.

Top cuisine

Cape Town has been named "best food city in the world", and Muslim travellers are gaining more options to reflect their dietary needs. These include some restaurants operating in a completely halal environment, offering delicious meals that range from Cape Malay-style cuisine to less formal offerings like snack foods.

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Atlas Trading Company in Wale Street has everything Muslim tourists in self-catering accommodation might need.

Three options at a glance:

The Butcher's Wife: Nestled in the heart of the Cape Flats on Belgravia Road in Athlone, this establishment screams wholesome, flavourful food that is a breakaway from the usual fast food found in the area. Started by the owners of Pickers Meat Centre, a well-known butcher shop in the southern suburbs, this family-orientated business is dedicated to sharing the meals they love with their community.

serpseri

Gold Restaurant: Enjoy opulent African cuisine that is guaranteed to tickle the tastebuds with an array of flavours from Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa, to name just a few. The multisensory experience at Gold is perfect for a family or corporate outing, where the dining is enriched with African hospitality and entertainment.

Anatoli: This restaurant has been serving authentic Turkish food since 1984, when it first opened its doors, entrenching the restaurant firmly in the city's food culture. Savour the tastes and textures of a meze platter, a slow-roasted lamb dish and a quince or apricot dessert — there's no better way to enjoy an evening out in Cape Town.

The best way to find out more is to chat to a local. But you can also find a great Muslim-run tour company with a specially curated package that will ensure you get to see as much as possible of the city.

A recent chef-exchange competition saw chef Tamsyn Wells of African Pride 15 On Orange Hotel, Autograph Collection, winning a trip to Singapore as part of an ongoing effort to increase awareness around halal cuisine. Wells worked with gourmet chefs in Singapore to find out more.

History and heritage

Cape Town has a rich Muslim history and heritage, with Cape Malay Muslims making up around a quarter of our population. Cape Town was the site of South Africa's first Muslim settlers, and is home to the oldest mosque in South Africa, dating back an impressive 200 years.

There are some neighbourhoods that have traditionally been home to lively Muslim communities, including Bo-Kaap and the Cape Flats/Southern Suburbs from Athlone to Rondebosch East to Lansdowne. Kramats and mosques are dotted throughout the peninsula, showcasing how local communities are firmly entrenched in the history of the city.

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Bo-Kaap mosque.

The Mother City is a family-friendly destination with access to prayer spaces, great airport facilities, rich cultural heritage, ease of communication, simple visa requirements and increasing capacity in terms of air connectivity. There are eight Islamic radio stations and two TV stations to provide Muslim-friendly information and entertainment.

Experiences everyone will love

Cape Town's many attractions offer plenty for any traveller, including Table Mountain's cableway and extensive system of parks, trails and lookout spots, dozens of beaches, wildlife-spotting opportunities, adventure activities such as paragliding, abseiling, helicopter trips and shark-cage diving, as well as luxury retail experiences.

Along with activities everyone will enjoy, there are a variety of tours available and increasingly, tour guides who speak Arabic and travel literature translated into Arabic. The city is becoming a popular destination for observing Ramadan, as prayer and fasting times are observed within Muslim communities.

The best way to find out more is to chat to a local. But you can also find a great Muslim-run tour company with a specially curated package that will ensure you get to see as much as possible of the city.

Avukile Mabombo is the group marketing manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott

Additional information

South Africa has been ranked as one of the 10 most Muslim-friendly travel destinations for 2018 among non-Organisation of Islamic (OIC) countries in the annual Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel iNDE (GMTI).