Cape Dutch style, which developed in the Western Cape countryside from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, is so rooted in the Winelands that it has become an integral element of the landscape. Limewashed walls glisten in glowing green vineyards, while thatched roofs and curvilinear gables mirror the undulations of the surrounding mountains. The signature element of Cape Dutch manors is their central gables set into the long side of the roof. Gables became more and more elaborate and became an expression of wealth and status.

In central Cape Town, the gable only survived until the 1830s, to be replaced by buildings with flush facades and flat roofs – a response to a series of great fires in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. With pitched roofs gone, the urban gable withered away, surviving symbolically in some instances as minimal roof decoration; an example of this is the wavy parapet on the Bo-Kaap Museum (1763–68) in Wale Street.

Read More

Explore South Africa



Travel Offers

20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.