Smile! We’re taking you on a walking and talking tour filled with… “smileys” and “walkie talkies” — bonus points if you know what those are and are willing to try them! From vibrant African townships to Malay settlements, you’ll get a literal taste for Cape Town as you snack, chat, and see how locals live. Along the way, hear how your guide’s local NGO is changing girls’ futures in Cape Town.
Your Cape Town tour will start with a ride along the winding Atlantic coast as we head to the township of Imizano Yetho, where we’ll meet our young Xhosa guide, Nandipha.
Imizano Yetho, also known as Mandela Park, is an informal township with very challenging living conditions. Life for locals here has been extremely difficult, but on this tour you’ll get the chance to learn what’s fact and what’s fiction, how this community came to be, and what improvements have been made in recent years. Please note that this is not slum tourism — your guide will be a member of this community and we’ll explore the area with respect for life in this neighbourhood and the struggles it has gone through.
Nandipha will take us to the local community centre that houses several craft stalls, where you’ll have the option to purchase small items that have been handmade by locals. She’ll also explain why and how the township came about during the Apartheid era of the 1980s, and why her family came to the city from the rural Eastern Cape (just like Nelson Mandela did). She’ll offer insight into local life in this area, and the difficulties that residents have faced. You’ll hear the story of how she is inspiring local teenage girls through her NGO, the Sistahood Girls Club.
From the centre, we’ll then head to a local tavern (known as a shebeen), and pass by roadside hawkers selling food, furniture, and clothing. We’ll stop at Nandipha’s modest home — a traditional shack seen in such communities, made of iron and cardboard — for tea and to sample local delicacies such as “Smileys” (barbecued sheep’s head… with all its teeth showing!) and “Walkie Talkies” (chicken beaks and feet).
After our township visit, we’ll return to one of the older parts of Cape Town, the Bo-Kaap, which, in the 1700s, was an area beyond the original city walls, where Dutch settlers housed the (mostly) Muslim labourers imported from Malaysia, India, and the Middle East.
Thanks to those eastern origins, the area is well-known for its spicy Cape Malay cuisine. We’ll walk along the cobblestone streets and between the rows of painted multi-coloured houses to reach the home of a superb local cook, a featured guest on Master Chef S.A, who will help us prepare and cook a typical Malay lunch. Once our meal is prepared, we’ll sit down together to enjoy our efforts, while discussing the local family heritage.
We’ll then amble the short distance to the small local Bo-Kaap museum, situated in one of the oldest local houses, and learn more about the history and origins of the Cape Malays. We’ll also enjoy a visit to the local spice shop and sample some of the different exotic spices imported from eastern lands.
A quick and respectful visit to a local mosque will follow before we drive back through the colourful streets and return to our hotel.