Relaxed Cape Town City Walking Tour (2/3 of a day)

Relaxed Cape Town City Walking Tour (2/3 of a day)

On our relaxed Cape Town City Walking Tour we slow down and move through the city at our own pace.   The tour is a private tour and as such it is flexible to your interests.   A longer walking tour gives us the chance to pause as we go – we can pop in and visit Museums such as the District 6 Museum or to shop as we go. In addition we stop to enjoy lunch in the city during the tour or to snack a little as we pass through the city!   The timing for the relaxed city walking tour would be 9am to 3pm.

We start our day in the colourful Bo-Kaap for a walk through the neighbourhood.   This area is the only area of central Cape Town where people were allowed to remain during the Apartheid period.  It is home to our oldest Mosque and our first Madrassa.  This area is viewed as our most historic Cape Malay region and is home to a very close knit Cape Malay community. From here we head down Wale Street to explore the oldest part of Cape Town – The Company Gardens. En route we stop to see a piece of the Berlin Wall which is quietly hidden under a tree at the start of St George’s Mall.

 

As we enter the Company Gardens area we pass St George’s cathedral – that was home to the famous Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In honour his contribution to the fight against Apartheid and his roll in healing the divisions of the past, an arch has been erected at the entrance to the Company Gardens. An Arch for the Arch!

We enter Government Avenue and pass Parliament, Tuinhuis, the art gallery, the old Synagogue, the new Synagogue, the history museum and the War Memorial Garden, before walking back through what remains of the Company Gardens. This is the oldest part of Cape Town and where the story of our city started. The Dutch East India Company were losing a large number of staff due to the disease scurvy and also losing ships due to the lack of places to stop to repair their ships on the journey between Europe and the East.

In 1649 a Dutch East India Company Ship was wrecked off Cape Town, those rescued reported back to the Company that their was a Fresh River flowing through Cape Town and that the locals were friendly.  Thus the seed was planted that perhaps Cape Town would be an excellent spot as a refreshment station for passing ships. In 1652 three VOC (Dutch East India Company) ships were sent down here with the mandate to start a fresh fruit and vegetable garden and a ship repair service.

Queen Victoria in front of Parliament
Tuinhuis – the office of the President when he is in Cape Town
View of old synagogue and new synagogue from the art gallery
The War Memorial Garden
Fruit and vegetables have been planted in the Company Gardens for the first time since the early 1700’s!
The Company Gardens in the middle of Cape Town City – a quiet oasis
The oldest tree in the Company Gardens – a pear tree dating back to the late 1600’s

From the Company Garden we pass by the last standing VOC Slave Lodge and go searching for the plaque that marks where the slaves were auctioned off. This spot marks where a large tree once stood – the slaves were auctioned off under the tree. Across from this plaque a slave monument has been erected on Church Square – it consists of a number of black blocks. The blocks range from the names of the slaves who were sold through to their professions.

Slave Plaque where the slaves were auctioned off behind the Slave Lodge – under a tree
The Slave Memorial Blocks on Church Square
Some of the names of the Slaves who came to Cape Town

We then walk to the last street of the city – Buitenkant Street. This is on the edge of the District 6 area – an area that saw over 60 000 people forcefully removed and their homes demolished. We stop at Truth Coffee (a micro coffee roaster) to discuss some of the Apartheid history over a cup of coffee, before popping in to the District 6 Museum to explore the history of this area further. This is the most important museum to visit in Cape Town as it is home to the happy memories of the people who once made up the vibrant community of District 6.

Truth Coffee Roasting

We then walk down past the Castle of Good Hope. This is the oldest surviving building in Cape Town. It was completed in 1679. The Castle was built as a military fort to protect the Cape against invaders. She was built on the sea and surrounded by a moat which made her hard to access. It is hard to picture as today she is surrounded by solid ground due to land reclamation in the city.

We walk past City Hall and the military parade, pausing to check out the balcony of City Hall, which is where Mandela said his first speech as a free man.

We walk back through the city to Heritage Square. This is a lovely square that was built in 1771 and is home to some wonderful restaurants and the oldest grape vine in Cape Town. The vine was also planted in 1771 and she still bears grapes. Each year about 20 litres of wine are made from her. The wine is sold off at charity auctions.

We then head back to your hotel or can leave you centrally – it is up to you!

Tour Duration: Monday to Saturday 09h00 to 15h00  (note the tour does not operate on a Sunday as traditionally everything shuts in the city at lunchtime on a Saturday and re-opens on Monday!)

Note for the Relaxed Day City Walking Tour:

  • We collect and drop off at central hotels – we are however happy to drop you anywhere else centrally after the tour eg Table Mountain.
  • Does not operate on a Sunday (the city is closed on a Sunday!)
  • Is a private tour – so can be tailor made to your interests. If you are more into shopping then history – we will happily change our focus for the tour day!)
  • Operates only as a private tour.
  • Is a walking tour – it is however mostly flat and you only need a moderate level of fitness.

Costs: Please email us as the cost depends how many people you are and where you are staying.

Supersize your tour to a full day:

  • Ideas for the afternoon would be to include Table Mountain Cableway or a walk in Kirstenbosch.