Walk our streets, visit our homes and hear stories about our culture, traditions and rituals… be our guest, not a spectator.
Reduced cancellation fees may apply (t&c)
That is the simple wish of a typical township tour where visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves into the township experience.
There are two reasons why township tours have become so popular. The first is for the economic benefit of the residents, as tourism brings money into the impoverished communities. Secondly, and more importantly, is for the unique opportunity of an authentic township experience. You get to ‘walk in the shoes’ of the people who live there, if only for just a few hours.
The historic township of District Six was once an impoverished but lively community of some 60 000 predominantly-Coloured people. It was originally established to house freed slaves, merchants and laborers who worked to build the city center.
In the late 1960s, the community’s lives were torn apart when they were forcibly removed to live in the desolate Cape Flats during the apartheid era. The rich cultural life with its narrow alleys and crowded apartments are now nothing more than a memory and the land stands vacant and neglected.
Langa was formally established in 1927 in terms of the Urban Area Act and is one of the oldest townships in South Africa. The original settlement developed in 1919 after the first wave of the Spanish Flu in the Cape highlighted the appalling conditions in which Black people were living rough near the highway.
Langa was the epicenter of resistance during the turbulent apartheid years and many key political events in the Cape played out from the impoverished township. Today, Langa has a thriving business center, warm and welcoming community and a rich cultural heritage. The name Langa means ‘sun’.
Joe Slovo informal settlement
Joe Slovo is an informal settlement within Langa township. It was named after former anti-Apartheid activist, Joe Slovo. It’s home to over 20 000 residents and is one of the largest informal settlements in South Africa.
Bonteheuwel was the first Coloured, state-rental township established in Cape Town. It was set up to house people being forcibly removed from District 6 and Claremont under the Group Areas Act. The community were housed in simple ‘matchbox’ houses with a tin roof.
The township is located in the Cape Flats which is a barren, sand-blown area located just inland of the coastline. Bonteheuwel has been upgraded since the fall of the apartheid regime but it remains a very poor community that’s bursting at the seams. Many of its residents still live in shacks made of corrugated iron and wood.
Gugulethu is a vast township that’s home to a predominantly Black community. It was established in the 1960s to ease the overcrowding in Langa and Blacks who were forcibly removed from Windermere. The latter was re-classified a Coloured area. At the time, Black residents were not allowed to live in the city of Cape Town under apartheid ruling.
Gugulethu is a contraction of ‘igugu lethu’ which is the Xhosa word for ‘our pride’. It’s nicknamed ‘Gugs’ by the locals. Today, Gugulethu is still a deeply impoverished township but it’s community is lively, warm and welcoming.
Your tour guide takes you to the 5 largest townships in Cape Town which are located about 15 kilometers from the city center. At each, you’re introduced to people in the local community, hear stories of their past and experience what life is like for them today. Guests are encouraged to interact rather than spectate to truly appreciate the rich social culture of the different communities.
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