The streets of Cape Town is packed with culture, history, art and local peculiarities. One of the best ways to experience the city is to get out of your car and walk, cycle or skate through the city’s streets, and discover it on a more intimate level. Here are some tours that will give you a completely different perspective of the Mother City.
One of the best ways to see Cape Town is on foot, because you miss so many things while driving in a taxi, bus or car. Because Cape Town is relatively small compared to many other cities around the world, it’s perfect for walking. Usually free, and led by expert guides, there are a number of tours to choose from:
Historic City Walk
Presented by the same people that run the City Sightseeing bus tours, this 90-minute walking tour runs twice a day from the Long Street ticket office. The guides will share many interesting stories about the city’s colourful history, from the times of slavery to post-apartheid Cape Town, including slave trading on Green Market Square, the sight of Nelson Mandela’s first speech as a free man, and many others.
The Bo-Kaap Walk
Another one of the three walking tours presented by the City Sightseeing guides is the Bo-Kaap Walk. Known for its brightly coloured houses, traditional Cape Malay food, and home of the first mosque in Cape Town, the tour takes you through the cobbled streets of this cultural gem of a neighbourhood. The 60-minute tour departs twice a day from the Long Street ticket office.
The District Six Walk
District Six is one of the city’s most culturally important neighbourhoods due to the forced removals of residents during apartheid. The tour will take you through this area that was once home to artists, musicians and even gangsters, you’ll meet former residents of the ‘old’ District Six, and learn about the neighbourhood’s colourful history. Tours are 90 minutes long and depart from the City Sightseeing’s Long Street ticket office.
Cycling has become a big focus for the City of Cape Town, with infrastructure being developed to encourage people to both commute and explore the city in a healthier, more eco-friendly way. While Cape Town is famous for its annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the city’s sights by bicycle, and there are sightseeing trips to suit everyone who likes to feel a breeze through their hair.
Cape Town City Cycle Tour
Run by well-known operators, AWOL Tours, their bicycle tour through the Mother City starts at the V&A Waterfront and winds its way through the city’s streets, including Adderley Street, Bo-Kaap, The Company Gardens, Green Point Stadium and more. An expert local guide will share insights about the city’s history and culture as you go along, providing a unique view of our beautiful city. Tours last three hours and cost R500 per person and are suitable to all ages and fitness levels.
Cape Peninsula Cycle Tour
For the more ardent cyclists, Bikes ‘n Wines offer a 30 – 60km tour around the spectacular Cape Peninsula. An expert guide will lead you around both sides of the peninsula, visiting the historic naval town of Simon’s Town, Cape Point Nature Reserve and wine tasting and picnic at Cape Point Vineyards. The tour costs R1 300 per person and includes transfers from the CBD, bicycle and helmet rental, light refreshments, a gourmet picnic and wine tasting.
Get in a round of golf
Cape Town is one of the world’s premier golf destinations with a variety of world class golf courses to enjoy. What better way to see the Mother City than from the fairways and the greens? From beautiful winelands estates, to suburban links, African Eagle Tours offers a number of different packages for you to explore the city, while getting your golf fix at the same time.
The Cape Camino is not the first of its kind. The idea came from the Camino de Santiago in Spain, but while it follows a similar format, the journey is as different as Cape Town is to Santiago, pulling in the diversity of the region, both in terms of natural beauty and culture. The full route is seven days long and forms the figure ∞, the symbol of Infinity, but ‘pilgrims’ taking on the Camino do not need to do it to completion, allowing for ease of movement and for a trip that is more about you than the road you walk. It’s your walk, so you get to walk your way.
City Skateboard Tour
For the more adventurous among us, the guys at City Cycle Tours will take you on a one-of-a-kind tour of the city on a skateboard (or scooter if you’re a bit nervous on a skateboard). Led by expert skateboarder Pedro, the tour winds its way from Green Point Stadium, along the city’s popular Green Point promenade and then back through Cape Town. The tour lasts three-to-four hours and costs R360 per person.
If groups of people and timed tours aren’t your thing, then why not try VoiceMap? Developed right here in Cape Town, this GPS-driven app is gaining popularity around the world. VoiceMap offers users a myriad of tours ranging from street-art tours, a maritime-themed walking tour, and even a tour of the sleepy surfing suburb of Muizenberg, and many more – all tours are guided by the narratives of locals, and because it’s based on your location, you can go as quickly or slowly as you want. The app offers tours that rang in cost from free to $5.99 (for tours in Cape Town) and there are tours all around the world, from New York City to Paris, Berlin, Istanbul to Copenhagen and Athens.