Experience a little culture in the Western Cape
The Western Cape offers some of the most amazing cultural experiences to be found in South Africa, with a fair few falling happily into the Mother City’s lap.
As a country rich in history, cultural experiences in the Western Cape (or even South Africa at large) offer one a wonderful, balanced mix of outdoor and indoor fun and education and for most of these experiences, you join in on great, guided tours.
Here are some great cultural experiences to enjoy around the Western Cape province:
1 – Footsteps to Freedom City Walking Tours (Cape Town)
Based in Cape Town, this tour helps you discover more about the city of Cape Town and South Africa, as you explore the Old City’s historical highlights.
Using the Mother City’s busy streets, old buildings, people and various spots, Footsteps Guides retell the stories of the Dutch and British rule, Apartheid, democracy and of course, the eventual path to freedom in South Africa.
The tour spans across Cape Town areas such as: Greenmarket Square, Adderley Street (with its famous flower sellers), Grand Parade, City Hall and Castle of Good Hope, District Six, Bo-Kaap and many more.
Cost: R1760 (1-4 guests); R352 for each extra guest (valid until September 2017)
Location: Robert Gray Memorial steps, top of St George’s Mall
Tour duration: 2.5 hours
For more information, email [email protected] or call (083) 452 1112.
2 – The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour (Cape Town)
(Photo credit: www.capefusiontours.com)
Take a journey into the lives, food and culture of the Cape Malay’s Bo-Kaap and learn how to cook like a true Cape Malay ‘auntie’.
Zainie Misbach welcomes you into her home, where, aside from learning secret, traditional cooking methods (like how to fold samoosas and mix masala), you will gain wonderful insight into the rich Cape Malay culture and colourful Bo-Kaap.
The cooking tour also includes a short walk to a nearby spice shop through the Bo-Kaap’s cobbled streets.
Location: 46 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Tour duration: 3 hours
For more information, email [email protected] or call Zainie on (074) 1308 124.
3 – Ma Betty’s Cultural Experience (Oudtshoorn)
Learn more about one of South Africa’s incredible, indigenous cultures when you pay the Karoo town of Oudtshoorn a visit.
Here, Ma Betty Jantjies – a Bongolethu Township community leader and Xhosa ‘purist’ – will prepare a wholesome feast for her guests. It will include traditional staples like: pap and wors, lamb and samp, sweet potatoes and spinach and even roosterkoek (roasted bread), served with butter, jam and cheese too.
As an accompaniment to these delicious dishes, expect to be awed by traditional Xhosa song and dance, as well as some storytelling, courtesy of a local sangoma (or traditional healer) to really acquaint you with the authentic Xhosa way of life.
Location: 85 Long Street, Bongolethu Township, Oudtshoorn.
For more information, visit www.mabettys.co.za or call Ma Betty Jantjies on (083) 597 5289.
Booking is essential; contact the Oudsthoorn Tourism Office on (044) 279 2532.
(Photo credit: Embark.org)
4 – San Guided Tours (!Khwa ttu, Yzerfontein)
!Khwa ttu is a collaborative initiative between the San people and the Swiss UBUNTU Foundation. Gift aims to “open visitors’ eyes to the world of the San, one of Africa’s oldest peoples. The emphasis is on a ‘journey into history facilitated by the people themselves’”.
The tours celebrate San culture, by even taking a look at the San’s rich traditional skills and stories, and also helps to create community opportunities.
What’s more, at !Khwa ttu, visitors can enjoy tucking into good food, admiring the stunning surrounding scenery and viewing amazing art and heritage exhibitions to name just some of the exciting additional activities on offer.
Tours are conducted on foot or bicycle.
Tour duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Grootwater Farm, R27 West Coast Road, Yzerfontein, West Coast
For more information, email [email protected] or call (022) 492 2998.
(Photo credit: http://www.khwattu.org)
Conclusion: Although guided walking and cooking tours will always be the easiest – and often the best – way to discover another culture or to better acquaint yourself with the land, there are plenty of other wonderful cultural experiences to be enjoyed across the Western Cape (from Cape Town to Pringle Bay), that you can enjoy with or without a tour guide and group.