Cape Town Township Tours
Whether you live in the Mother City or are just visiting, you should try a Township Tour next time you’re in Cape Town.
For those arriving from the airport, the rows upon rows of makeshift houses that run along the highway may seem shocking, heart-breaking and even scary. But take a closer look, and these informal settlements show you an entirely different (and vibrant) part of Cape Town.
Find out more about what life is like to a large percentage of the Mother City’s residents with a tour in one or all of the city’s major townships: Langa, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha.
About Township Tours in Cape Town
Before you get ready to drive off to the nearest township on your own, it’s good to know that organised tours are the best way to experience these areas. Safety is something that many visitors are concerned about, and while it isn’t advised going into a township on your own, an organised township tour offers a fun and insightful way to see these colourful informal settlements.
Tours are usually run by township locals, or by registered companies that have plenty of experience in local communities. Avoid operators who do not have any sort of expertise, no matter how charming they seem to be. Ideally, everyone should enjoy the experience – you and your hosts. By going in unannounced, with no plan or idea of where to go, neither you nor the people you meet will feel too comfortable. Instead, make sure that you book through a reputable operator. This way, you will be welcomed like a long-lost friend on your visit, rather than feeling out of place or unsafe in any way.
Township Tour Operators
There are quite a few options that you could consider when it comes to Cape Town township tour operators. The tourism industry has opened up many opportunities for local guides and businesses, who are able to offer a more personal type of tour of individual townships. Some suggestions for a local perspective include the following:
- Siviwe Tours – founded and run by Siviwe Mbinda, this tour takes you across the township of Langa. Who better to show you what life in this township is all about than a born-and-raised local after all! Tours typical include a walk through the area, with highlights such as gumboot dancing also included. Those interested can contact Siviwe via the booking form on his website.
- Nomvuyo's Tours – this tour company offers the chance to explore the township of Khayelitsha. Highlights include a visit to a local spaza shop, B & B, shebeen (pub) and even to friendly locals who welcome visitors into their homes. You can also buy handmade arts and other goods on a tour. Call +27 83 372 9131 to find out more about tour options.
- Liziwe's Tours – for an insightful tour of Gugulethu, this township tour company offers walking tours of around 40 minutes followed by lunch at Mzoli’s; one of Cape Town’s most popular township restaurants. Highlights during the tour include the Amy Biehl memorial, a shack visit, spaza shop, shebeen and a local creche. Contact +27 (0)21 633 7406 for more info about this tour.
So what else can you expect during your tour? There will be plenty of walking of course, and also a good deal of learning, quite a lot of entertainment, more than a fair bit of eating and drinking, and of course, a huge amount of talking. All in all, Cape Town township tours are sure to leave you with good memories, a full tummy and some great photos of the things you see along the way.