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A highlight of any trip to Africa is certain to be the people you meet. This land is made up of a rich diversity of warm-hearted people with fascinating stories to share; stories about their countries’ pasts and hopeful futures, their everyday lives, traditions and beliefs.
Whether it be a few extra hours in the urban jungle of Johannesburg or that one Cape Town morning away from the beach, the relaxed pace and authentic interaction of a guided walking tour is one of the best ways to hear these stories and experience the soul of the place you're visiting.
Cape Town: Gourmet Walking Tour
So much about a culture is expressed through its cuisine. I joined a local guide named Pam for a gourmet walking tour around Cape Town’s conveniently compact city centre. Pam really knows her way around the local foodie spots, and her energy and enthusiasm make for easy and interesting conversation – she soon makes you feel right at home in this beautiful city!
Between stories of the history of the Cape, Pam introduced us to a diverse selection of home cooks and their gourmet treats: we chatted to Wardia about life in the Bo-Kaap while snacking on her crisp, golden samosas, and learnt about Victor’s township cooking school as he dished up helpings of his samp-and-beans soul food.
From ‘bunny chow’ to ‘bobotie’, street food to artisan coffee shops, this tour celebrates the full range of flavours that make up the Cape. You do a fair bit of walking and a lot of eating so make sure you start the tour hungry!
If you’re more of a foodie than a walker, then you can easily do the Cape Fusion Cape Cooking Experience which was enjoyed by some of our Africa Safari Experts. A fantastic mix of traditional Malay-style cooking together with a tour of the famous District Six Museum makes this tour a highlight on any Cape Town holiday.
Johannesburg: Urban Culture & Street Art
Most travellers see South Africa’s biggest city as a mere pit stop, a travel hub to pass through on their way to wilder destinations. Give the ‘City of Gold’ a little more of your time, however, and you’ll quickly discover that Johannesburg has a wonderful energy and vibrancy, and is the glamorous powerhouse of the new South Africa.
Inner-city tours are as diverse as the city itself: discover secret shopping spots, see the positive changes resulting from the urban regeneration programme, explore the superb architecture or public art. Visit places like Newtown, Maboneng, Soweto and the Mining District’s astonishing collection of original Art Deco architecture.
Travel Notes: There is fantastic Johannesburg accommodation in the city’s leafy affluent neighbourhoods, and whether your interest is architecture, history or art, you’ll find a guided walking tour to match your tastes working with your Go2Africa Safari Expert.
Stone Town: History of Slaves & Spices
Some people find Stone Town overwhelming: the intense spicy scents and tangle of alleyways with buildings all on top of each other take a while to make sense of. But, yes, it is bewildering, ramshackle and bewitching! It is also a town with so much history and character that for the majority of visitors, Stone Town stands out as the real highlight of their Zanzibar beach holiday.
Stone Town is small enough to wander around without a guide but you can’t be in a rush as chances are you’ll soon lose your bearings in the maze of narrow streets. Part of the adventure is not knowing what lies around the next corner, dodging zooming motorcycles, discovering tucked-away coffee shops and wandering past intricately carved wooden doors studded with brass knobs.
While you can stroll around Stone Town on your own, we really recommend a walking tour with a professional guide. You’ll hear the fascinating stories behind this World Heritage Site, like the Anglican Cathedral, which is built over one of East Africa’s original slave markets. The cathedral’s timber cross is carved from the branch of the same mvula tree where Dr David Livingstone’s heart is buried. Livingstone dedicated his life to ending the slave trade in Africa and was part of a group of missionaries who purchased young men and women from Stone Town’s market, to free them, providing them with an education and the opportunity to start a new life.
Other highlights of Stone Town include buying fresh spices in the market, original Tinga Tinga artworks and cool cotton kikois (a must-buy on any safari shopping list) and visiting the Forodhani Night Market for local ‘pizza’ and perfectly grilled seafood skewers. Read more on Exploring Stone Town.
Travel Notes: Stay in the heart of Stone Town at Jafferji House & Spa, an elegantly restored boutique hotel with true Zanzibari style. The hotel will happily arrange your walking tour with an excellent local guide.