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 in what’s on offer. Although the Muslim-friendly tourism market is still in its early days, there’s lots the Muslim traveller can enjoy in the city all year round.
Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager, Protea Hotels by Marriott, said Cape Town has a rich Muslim history and heritage, with the Cape Malay Muslim’s making up around a quarter of our population.
“Cape Town is the place for South Africa’s first Muslim settlers and is home to the oldest mosque in South Africa, dating back an impressive 200 years,” he said.
“There are some neighbourhoods that have traditionally been home to lively Muslim communities, including Bo-Kaap and the Cape Flats/Southern Suburbs ranging from Athlone through Rondebosch East to Lansdowne. Kramats and Mosques are dotted throughout the peninsula, showcasing how local communities have been firmly entrenched in the history of the city.”
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.
Here are some of Mabombo’s tips:
Food: Cape Town has been named “best food city in the world”.
“Muslim travellers have more options, including many Halal friendly restaurants that are popping up. Among them are The Butcher’s Wife in the heart of the Cape Flats, on Belgravia Road in Athlone. This establishment screams wholesome, flavourful food. Started by owners of Pickers Meat Center, a well-known butcher shop in the southern suburbs, this family-orientated business is dedicated to sharing meals that they love with their community.
“Others include Gold Restaurant that offer African cuisine with an array of flavours from Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Namibia, and South Africa and
Anatoli that serves up Authentic Turkish food since 1984,” he said.
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 like paragliding, abseiling, helicopter trips, shark cage diving and 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 within which to observe Ramadan, since prayer times and fasting times are observed within Muslim communities.
Chat to a local: 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 when you wander more.
Originally published on – www.iol.co.za