Cape Town is a chic and trendy city that offers sophisticated travellers an urban escape. A concentration of world-class food, nightlife and art; visitors and locals alike are consistently charmed by the city’s sleek metropolitan style that is unique to Cape Town. But before sipping sundowners at some of the city’s swankiest scenes, make sure you take advantage of the fantastic excursions available in and around the city. Ditch your guide book, escape the crowds and enjoy these lesser known alternatives to mainstream tours. Get off the beaten path and get interactive to get to know the real Cape Town with this list of Do's and Don’ts.
Everyone knows that Cape Town is famous for cage diving with great white sharks, but very few people know that a friendlier option (both environmentally and less toothy) is available to allow you to experience the fantastic wildlife of the region. A half day’s excursion to Duiker Island brings you face to face with 15000 curious and playful Cape Fur Seals in their natural habitat. This unforgettable experience is available for anyone who can swim and for children six years and over. You may even get some spirited dolphin tagging along for the ride off the wake of the boat!
If you want to explore the idiosyncrasies that make Cape Town so quirky, ditch the impersonal bus tour and tie up your trainers. Garth Angus’ walking tour company Footsteps to Freedom offers the most unusual tours of Cape Town provided by the most knowledgeable guides in the city. Automated bus tours don’t answer your questions, but these guides will. Guests’ interests are taken into account to create a bespoke itinerary that will entertain and inform. Not sure which tour is right for you? Try the From Prisoner to President: Mandela in Cape Town tour. You’ll see a side of the city that most tourists never experience.
Skip the voyeuristic township tours and interact with the local community by getting involved in authentic projects. Townships are an important part of Cape culture, but the typical tours are over-rehearsed tourist traps that leave you underwhelmed and holding a beaded bookmark. Uthando is a charity organisation that allows you to experience life in a township by participating in meaningful experiences, rather than merely observing stops along a staged tour. You will see the results of your donations through the different development projects you visit. Tours are tailored to your special interests such as urban agriculture, music, animal welfare, education and more. Best of all, you will feel inspired, uplifted and involved.
No trip to The Cape would be complete without a visit to the wine region. Rather than a traditional wine tasting tour, try blending your own tipple for a unique experience. The Middelvlei Wine Blending Experience is a personalised, small group tour conducted by a member of the Momberg family, the owners of the estate in Stellenbosch. The 1.5-hour excursion includes a cellar tour, an explanation of the making of wine, freshly baked pootbrod (traditional Boer bread) and a blind tasting. Each couple participating can bring home one complimentary bottle of wine. Bring a photo along to create a custom label for your bottle. Advanced bookings are required.
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