Noon Gun Tearoom is no more

Not only are the views from Bo-Kaap more interesting than from anywhere else in the city bowl, but the sun shines for a little longer than it does in fancy-schmancy Higgovale!

Not only are the views from Bo-Kaap more interesting than from anywhere else in the city bowl, but the sun shines for a little longer than it does in fancy-schmancy Higgovale!

I haven’t blogged in over a month so when I received an email this morning telling me I had a new follower I felt so bad I decided to pull finger – thanks, Mary! In the time since my last post WordPress has changed the dashboard so I have new buttons and functions to play with and might even use some of them.

A few weeks ago I forced myself out of my usual Saturday morning sloth and went to visit the Oranjezicht City Farm – you can read about it here. I also strongly suggest you follow their Facebook page because they update it all the time and it’s great to see the progress. Seeing as I was up and about I decided to make the most of the day and persuaded Phil, my driver, to take in a few other places in the area. A cup of tea at the Noon Gun tea room was in order because I hadn’t been there for years and wanted to check it out. Sadly, it shut down a few months ago. The owners still live in the house above where the restaurant was and they told me they’re now too old to run a restaurant. It’s a pity because it could be an integral part of a visit to Bo-Kaap and a walk to the gun itself but I suspect they also don’t have the urge to market the tea-shop properly, as could be seen by the fact that nothing has been modernised in many years.

Bo-Kaap has become very popular with tourists – there are always camera laden visitors taking photos of the houses, and a couple of restaurants offer authentic Cape food but the prohibition of alcohol might deter some. The museum, cemeteries and kramats are worth visiting but there is a somewhat unkempt air about many of the streets, and the city views, although fabulous, require walking or just standing in areas above the quarry that are dangerous as they are not fenced in. Of course, attending to all of this would destroy much of the authenticity of the area. It irritates me to know that people are simply driving in to take a few bog-standard photos and dashing off again without spending any money!

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This may not be a ‘pretty’ view but you’d never get bored with it.

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Aloes just above the old quarry. Easy to fall into the quarry if you don’t watch your step, lots of homeless and dodge types sleeping there, but I find it fascinating.

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It doesn’t matter where you are in Bo-Kaap, the mountain views are stunning.
I was intrigued by this unusual memorial to one of the founders of Umkhonto Wesizwe.

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The Noon Gun restaurant sign is still there despite the closure.

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This is where the restaurant was. There’s construction going on so it’s probably being turned back into a residence.

So, what is the noon gun after which a restaurant was named? Read all about it here and while you’re at it you can browse through the website to see the houses everyone takes photos of and what the Bo-Kaap is all about. Know this, though, the noon gun is also a measure of determining who’s a local and who isn’t. When the boom is heard at exactly noon every day locals check and set their watches and carry on what they were doing, visitors look around, startled, wondering why everyone is not panicking!

New function used in this post: the location button, except I can’t see the effect.

I think I’ll duplicate most of this blog entry on my Tours du Cap website, because it’s tourism related, and because I’ve been told I should write that blog in this style… sighh.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

2 responses to “Noon Gun Tearoom is no more

  1. I’ve seen the locals sitting on the grassed area at the top of Wale Street just staring, bemused, at all the visitors! You’re right, there are few businesses to benefit from visitors and it’s so steep that only the young are willing to trek up there! The cooking safaris are taking off, albeit slowly, but will eventually form the main value for locals. The newish restaurant, Bo-Kaap Kobuis, is high up and has fabulous views and very friendly hands-on owners – they need more attention!

  2. My pleasure! I am glad I spurred you into action, but sad however to read of the closure of this great Cape Town institution. I had wondered what the locals make of the tour busses and the photographs, and now with this business shut, how much tourism value stays in the area? The museum and cooking safari’s are the only businesses I can think of?

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Disclaimer

A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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