The vast majority of Cape Town’s residents live in townships around the city. Some of the larger townships include Khayelitsha, Langa, Gugulethu, and Imizamo Yethu. These places are an important part of Cape Town’s history, and they’re a huge part of what makes Cape Town what it is today too. Here are five great tour operators that can show you around Cape Town’s townships.
ABCD is a locally-run tour operator based in Khayelitsha. They offer running tours, cycling tours, and even a nightlife tour where you can go make new friends over a few beers. There are also The co-owners, Buntu and Ayanda, are from Khayelitsha, so you can be sure you’re supporting local entrepreneurs. They can also customise tours to your interests. Highlights usually include Lookout Hill and number of local businesses like The Spinach King for breakfast, Siki’s Koffee Kafe, Makkhanye Art Room (South Africa’s first shack theatre), the 18 Gangster Museum, or a service at one of the vibrant local churches. A tour with them is a sure way to make new friends, laugh a lot, and experience Khayelithsa through a truly local lens.
City Sightseeing LaGugu Township Tour
The City Sightseeing LaGuGu Township Tour takes in Langa (Cape Town’s oldest township) and Gugulethu. There are marked pick-up and drop-off areas along the route, so you can take your time exploring each stop. The tour includes a walk and a bicycle ride. A local residents will be your guide, and you’ll visit an arts and crafts market, meet a traditional healer, and visit a shebeen.
The Township Winery Tours
The Township Winery is based in Guglethu, where local farmers grow the grapes to make this unique wine. The tours invlove meeting the growers, followed by a wine tasting over lunch at The Village House in Khayelitsha. The Village House is an ecclectic wonderland designed by Thusile Celesi, who is also the chef. He cooks a traditional township lunch, which you can enjoy at this colourful spot in the heart of the shacklands. It’s a truly unique experience, and and the opportunity to tast local wines that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
City Sightseeing Imizamo Yethu Walking Tour
City Sightseeing also offers a walking tour of Imizamo Yethu, located on the hillside overlooking Hout Bay. The 40-minute tour is guided by an experienced and entertaining local. You’ll explore the shebeens, hair salons, markets, and food stalls boasting traditional local delicacies such as sheep heads and chicken feet on the ‘braai’ (BBQ). You’ll also meet locals who will share insight into their lives, and even invite you into their homes or to join an impromptu street game.
Township Art Tours
Tour guide Juma Mkwela is an established artist who calls Khayelitsha home. His art tours include the opportunity to paint a mural in the community, view existing murals, or plant veggie gardens for local families. Interaction with the locals is a key element of this experience, which can include preparing a traditional meal with a family. Tours are customised to your interests and can feature exciting activities such as e-bikes.
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