Got a bit of free time, some walking shoes and the desire to explore a little? There are plenty of on foot tours to choose from in the beautiful mother city.
My Top 3 Walking Tour Picks are:
- The all-encompassing City and Township Walking Tour covering the best cultural and historical local ground – past and present.
- The Sex & Slaves In The City Tour, because it’s fresh and different, even a little outrageous, offering a whole new shady perspective of Cape Town.
- Tunnel Walking Tours under the city, a favourite for fairly obvious reasons, namely an entirely unique way to explore Cape Town on foot – from below and to go where few venture, into the underbelly of the city.
1. Full Day City & Township Walking Tour
This diverse full-day walking tour rolls the cultural pleasures of ambling through the historic streets of Cape Town and walking through the vibrant townships, into one colourful adventure.
Set off into the heart of the city taking in historic landmarks and buildings and cultural attractions on foot, and then transfer to one of the townships of Cape Town for a traditional lunch and a walk-about in the afternoon. In the morning you discover the colonial Dutch and British (and Malay) influences, visiting historic landmarks and buildings on the walking tour of the city. In the afternoon you experience local life in an informal settlement of Cape Town, visiting shebeens (local pubs) and walking the streets to get a real feel for the vibrant place and its people.
- Takes about 7 hours (don’t worry – you won’t be on your feet all of the time)
- Includes: lunch at Mzoli’s Place, a legendary township eatery, dubbed as a meat institution
- Price: R520 pp* (youth under 14 yrs, R380 pp)
2. The Sex & Slaves In The City Walking Tour
Ahem, yes this unique little number takes a walk down the memory lanes of Cape Town, following in the footsteps of the slaves who contributed to the city in colonial times. History comes alive on this quirky and humorous walking tour through the city, as the dramatist-guides enact tales of the past, taking on characters in street theatre performances (costumes and all). This well-researched walking expose reveals lesser-known historical details and is both educational and enlightening, in a way that is suited to all ages.
See the physical features and landscapes shaped by slaves and their impact on modern-day cuisine, language, religion and ethnic diversity of the city.
It recalls tales of tragedy and triumph as well as searing scandal.
- Takes about 2 hours (great intro to city)
- Includes: Green Market Square, Bo-Kaap, Long and Castle Streets, The Golden Acre, The Parade Ground and the Slave Lodge.
- Price: R150 per person with tours running Monday to Saturday at 10am (afternoon tours by arrangement).
3. Tunnel Walking Tours under Cape Town
Get your imagination flowing in the architecturally impressive old tunnels on an unusual walk – most people are unaware of the existance of these tunnels. The tunnels are big enough to walk upright in on this exciting underground exploration underneath Cape Town.
Some parts of the tunnel network; built by Dutch settlers, date as far back as 1652, when the streams and canals supplied fresh water to ships and the Company Gardens. The tunnel walk takes you back in time and gives you a new perspective on Cape Town – from below the surface. The rivulets later became shaded walkways with bridges and canals running through the city and earned Cape Town the name of Little Amsterdam.
With urban expansion the waterways were covered over and forgotten, conveying sewerage until 1895. Today the tunnels carry clear streams of fresh water from Table Mountain along what was the Varsche Rivier, to the Castle of Good Hope in the city. Tunnel tours include an exploration of the secret passageways of the Castle, also not your average tourist activity.
- Takes about one to three hours (depending on tour group size)
- Includes: Guide, introduction to the tunnels, underground walk, Castle exploration
- Price: R350 per person, including a shuttle service (castle to tunnel entrance), headlamp, gumboots (from size 5 and bigger), permits, a soft drink and light snacks at the exit.
Note: You need to take a torch, wear non-slippery shoes that can get wet and be prepared to encounter cockroaches.
Special Interest Walking & Cultural Tours in Cape Town
1. Half Day Township Gospel Tour – walk the streets of Langa, alive with songs of praise as locals don their best Sunday dress, before enjoying lunch in a local home.
2. Cape Town Township Walking & Beading Tour – explore Kayamandi on foot and take a beading workshop.
3. Township Walking & Drumming Tour – walking tour in Kayamandi combined with a drumming workshop.
4. Cape Malay Walking & Cooking Tour – take a guided walk through the Malay Quarter followed by a cooking class in the kitchen of a local family.
5. Jewish Cultural Walking Tour of Cape Town – trace the Jewish influences on Cape Town’s cultural, economic, academic and political landscapes, walking through the city to visit the Jewish Museum, Holocaust Centre, and Synagogue in the Company Gardens.
6. Full Moon Mountain Walk – Walk up Lion’s Head on full moon nights to witness the ocean, bay, hills and Table Mountain by moonlgiht, as well as the twinkling lights of the city below.