African Township Tours
fellow Discoverers, I trust the holidays were a pleasant and enjoyable
experience? To those unfortunate souls who worked during the holiday
season, my thoughts were with you as I relaxed in my Jacuzzi, sipping on a
shaken (not stirred) martini as I overlooked the Clifton beachside. Okay,
I'm stretching the truth a bit - I ended up lying in a bathtub of cold
water, sipping on a glass of tepid Oros - but a little imagination goes a
2005 is all about experiencing new...er...experiences and it's a mantra this newsletter lives by. This month I thought we'd take a look at our township tours, which are fast becoming a major tourist attraction.
Khayelitsha or Langa?
has several major townships, currently tours are conducted in 2 of these,
namely Khayelitsha and Langa. Langa is actually the oldest township in
South Africa (useful fact of the day #1) while Khayelitsha is the second
largest township in the country, Soweto being the biggest (useful fact of
the day #2) Both Langa and Khayelitsha (and probably Soweto, but we're
focusing on Cape Town here) offer daily tours through their suburbs, which
have proven to be incredibly popular, especially among international
A Relic of Urban Migration
Historically, these townships were created when black migrant workers
working in Cape Town were shafted there by the government at the time. The
population quickly ballooned as more and more rural workers came down to
the Cape, as the city was going through an industrial boom. This legacy
has meant that a majority of people living here are largely destitute,
although a burgeoning informal sector has meant the local economy has
started to thrive.
Meet The People
can one expect on these tours? You will normally be co-led by one of the
residents, because lets face, no one would know the surroundings better
than someone actually living there. You will have the opportunity to take
to the streets, conversing with the locals passing by and experiencing a
taste of township life, albeit for an hour or so. Many tours on offer will
include a visit to a resident's house where you can enjoy tea and biscuits
and fire away any questions you may have. You will normally be taken to a
nearby craft market where you will be greeted by a host of traders
displaying a variety of wares.
The Shebeen, a South African Tradition
highlight of the tour would undoubtedly be a trip to a nearby shebeen,
where good times and good beer are flowing in abundance. There's nothing
like getting plastered in a strange place, it immediately washes away any
trepidation you may have had, and the hospitality is top class. That
pretty much sums up the experience of a township tour. The people you meet
are genuinely happy to see you and it's rather refreshing to see.
How to Get There
Tour companies will offer you transport there and back so there are no hassles with driving (you're advised not to travel there by yourself by the way) and tours normally take about two hours or so, depending on what you'd like to do. It's a great way to spend a few hours, and it's a world many people don't actually see or know about. Be sure to bring a camera, there will no doubt be many memorable moments on offer. Also, some cash would probably be a good idea, especially if you have your eye on that Ndebele head carving you saw at the craft market.
The Caped Discoverer
To subscribe just enter your name and a current email address and you'll be added automatically.
There is so much to see and do around Cape Town and there's always something new and interesting happening. Discover The Cape issues a regular newsletter which is packed with useful travel information, humorous commentary, local news, events and special offers. Subscription to the newsletter is free, your privacy is guaranteed and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.
To unsubscribe, simply send an email to email@example.com with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.