The Mother City’s CBD is steeped in history, with exquisite cultural and historical landmarks that are central to her narrative. With these free walking tours of Cape Town, you’ll discover the city’s fascinating story, and be able to marvel at some of the impressive architecture, dating back to 1666.
Pre-booking is not necessary – just pitch up at the meeting point (Motherland Coffee Company in Mandela Rhodes Place, look out for the green umbrellas) where a friendly and knowledgable guide will escort you along your chosen route (options include The Bo-Kaap Tour, Historic City Tour and the Apartheid to Freedom Tour). You’ll pick up some of the local lingo, while being shown local watering holes along the way.
The walk is about 90 minutes long, so wear comfortable shoes, and take water. (And even though it’s free, you’re welcome to tip your guide if you think he/she did a good job.)
Historic City Tour: Departs twice daily from Motherland Coffee Company (11am and 4.20pm). This tour provides a glimpse into the Cape’s rich and chequered past, and includes a visit to Cape Town’s oldest living citizen, as well as a stop by Parliament, Green Market Square, the Castle of Good Hope, and the Slave Lodge.
Bo-Kaap Walking Tour: Departs twice daily from Motherland Coffee Company (2pm and 4.20pm). Explore the vibrant Bo-Kaap district, famous for its brightly coloured houses and rich cultural heritage. The district is a great place to find hidden gems, such as Atlas Spice Trading Centre, where an assortment of authentic Indian and local spices can be found. Other highlights include a stop by the old Tailor’s House, and Auwal Masjeed – the oldest mosque in South Africa.
Apartheid to Freedom Tour: Departs twice daily from Motherland Coffee Company (11am and 2pm). You can’t understand South Africa without understanding apartheid. You’ll hear stories of suffering and struggle, but ultimately of hope and freedom, as this tour takes you past landmarks such as St Georges Cathedral, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a mass anti-apartheid demonstration of around 30 000 people; the Cape High Court and Apartheid Benches; and the famous District Six.
Customised Tours: There’s no shortage of sights and sounds in the Mother City. Whether it’s a fascinating glimpse into the history of diamond mining, a tour of local art galleries, or an enlivening Djembe drumming session; just let the tour guides know your interests, and they can provide a custom-made tour just for you. You will have to book in advance for this particular tour though.