The festive break is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your weekends or public holidays to feel like you’re still on holiday. We’ve compiled a quick list of walking tours across South Africa to add to your 2020 staycation list.
The Historic City Walk: this 90-minute tour is operated by City Sightseeing South Africa and has no charge. Tips are highly encouraged, however, as the guides are knowledgeable, friendly and lead their tours with gusto.
Tour guides not only lead locals and visitors through the vibrant streets of Cape Town’s city centre, they also educate them about our country’s painful past, including explaining arbitrary discriminatory practices such as the reprehensible pencil test, used to divide people into racial categories during the apartheid era. But they also show people symbols of hope and peace, such as a piece of the Berlin Wall that was gifted to Nelson Mandela in 1996 when he visited Germany and is now displayed in St George’s Mall. Find more information on the tour here.
The Vibrant Bo-Kaap Walk: like the Historic City Walk, this tour is operated by City Sightseeing South Africa. The tour begins on Long Street and you won’t be disappointed as you follow your red-shirted guide through the city and into the Bo-Kaap.
The famous brightly painted houses and cobbled streets of the Bo-Kaap are the backdrop of many an Instagram selfie, but seeing the historic homes and learning about the community that lives there is priceless. See and learn about the oldest mosque in South Africa – the Auwal Mosque – or you might be lucky enough to enjoy a traditional Cape Malay nibble from Biesmiellah restaurant. More information here.
Braamfontein: walk the streets of Johannesburg, led by local guides with an enthusiasm for telling stories about their beloved city. The Honest Travel Experience’s Braamfontein tour will take you past Constitution Hill and the Joburg Theatre, making stops at each.
Your guide will lead you around winding streets, and up buildings to rooftop bars and restaurants. You might also be lucky enough to stop at the Neighbourgoods Market, a Saturday market bursting with delicious food and drinks, music and crafts. Keep an eye on the Honest Travel Experience’s events page for tailored upcoming walking experiences.
Graffiti walking tour: take a look at Johannesburg’s cultural and artistic scene by joining a Graffiti Tour this year. Past Experiences offers insight into the graffiti decorating Johannesburg’s walls that you previously may have passed without a second thought.
Find out about the graffiti culture in South Africa, meet some of the artists who are part of Jozi’s developing street art and graffiti scene, and discover how these visual elements enhance the city.
Durban Culinary Walking Tour: This tour is perhaps the most expensive on our walking tour list, but it’s worth every rand. Over three hours, a guide will lead your palette through Indian and Zulu meals that are unique to Durban’s shores.
Think spices, bunny chows, samoosas, rotis and a mouth-watering shisa nyama ... Yes, please! Your guide will explain the significance of each meal which, in turn, will broaden your understanding of the city’s history through its food. Your ticket covers transport, meals, entrance fees and water. For more information, or to book, click here.
Moses Mabhida and the beachfront: Did you know that the large, distinct arch of the Moses Mabhida stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was inspired by the Y shape on the South African flag? Find out more interesting facts about this landmark Durban stadium, through a VoiceMap solo tour.
After downloading the app onto your phone, all you need are some headphones and your smartphone. The narrator will lead you on the tour, telling you interesting facts about the stadium and its surrounds. Lost? No worries – the map on the app will show you where you are and how to get back on track. Planning travels abroad? (You can also use the app overseas – from Paris and San Diego to Hong Kong. Prices for tours vary.)
How to prepare for your walking tour
Pack sunblock and water, and wear comfortable walking shoes. If possible, have loose change on your person so that you can buy souvenirs, a snack, or use the money to tip your guide. Happy walking and touring!