Township Tours in South Africa (out of Cape Town)

May 11th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Posts: 334
Township Tours in South Africa (out of Cape Town)

Hi, Four of us are leaving for Cape Town in mid-June. One of the things on out "to do" list is to visit a township. I had done some research and suggested to my friends that we use Grassroutes Tours. One of my travelers just emailed me with the following:

"is it recommended that we take a tour? or can we simply go on our own? I prefer the latter because that way we cab really get right down with the people, as opposed to going with a group. Travelers, not tourists!"

I had never really even thought about why one takes township tours instead of merely just goes to visit a township. Is it safety, value added by the tour guide, unique access, other? Could one actually go by oneself? Also, do any of you have any feedback on Grassroutes Tours?

Thanks so much.

John H.
jh6000 is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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By the way, I had checked with Selwyn and he was not available on the days we need (either Monday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon, June 18 or 20).

Selwyn, are you still booked on those days?

John H.
jh6000 is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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If you are looking to visit an orphanage in a township in Cape Town, may I suggest Baphumelele in the township of Khayelitsha. It is run by a magnificent woman named Rosie. I volunteered there for 5 weeks last year and had an amazing time. I have attached the link to their website, which has details for those wishing to visit.
noelm98 is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Let me add that it is not safe to go roaming around townships on your own. I would suggest using a tour guide or visiting an orphanage on your own.
noelm98 is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Hi John

I don't know Grassroutes Tours firsthand, so can't comment on them specifically.

A great, non-Selwyn way to see townships up close and personal, meeting the locals, is on bicycle (linked to a great NGO, the Bicycle Empowerment Network - BEN). Here's a Fodor's thread for your reference:

Another great experience is walking with Nomthunzie Swartbooi through the township of Masiphumelele. She's at [email protected]

Personally, I have my own issues with "township tours" (nothing that would discourage you from taking one, but that would encourage some more considered thought about them). This isn't the forum for that conversation, but I've shared my opinions on my blog if it's of interest.

And, don't go into any township on your own, unguided.



kurt_a is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 368
Two of us went with Rob and Tundo from Wilderness. We visited Guguletu and Khayelitsha. We played billiards, shared sodas and talked about the "governator". Also visited Vicky and her Bed & Breakfast. Took photos of the children, printed them and had Rob pass them out so they could have copies.
Cheweyhead is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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we went with Africa Roots- there were only two other people who joined us (I don't think they take more than 6 people at a time). We visited Vicky's B&B also (there's a nursury school there too) and we also visited a few community projects. I felt it was done tastefully and was very interesting.
mad is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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Thanks so much for all of your thoughts/feedback.

John H.
jh6000 is offline  
May 13th, 2007, 06:17 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10
I agree with Africa Roots.

I also agree with Kurt's insights.

John S.
CapeJohn is offline  
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