Cape Town City Tour Options

Cape Town City Tour Options

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There a few options for doing the city tour – either a walking tour (half or 2/3 of a day) or the traditional way which is a half day tour that includes table mountain and a tiny bit of the city.

Our preference is to show you the city – and to truly experience a city, it is best to do so by walking and exploring!  This way you can get the real feel for the city and its people.  To show you the full picture takes time – as such we would recommend you do a 2/3 of a day city walking tour with us!   We also believe that the best way to really understand a culture is through the cuisine of the people – as such our recommendation would always be to do our tour that combines the history with the cuisine.  We call our foodie city tour the Cape Town Eats City Tour.

Half Day Cape Town City Walking Tour:

Today we wish to walk a substantial amount in the city in order to give you a through overview of our city and its history.   Our tour starts in the magical colourful area of the Bo-Kaap.   This is the only area of the city where people of colour were allowed to remain after the implementation of the Group Areas act during Apartheid.   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 to repair their ships on the journey between Europe and the East.    As such, after a 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
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!

To note for the half day Cape Town City Walking Tour:

  • The tour is a private tour and we can custom fit it to your interests – our aim is however on the half day to do an overview of the city – so we do a loop.   As such on the usual itinerary we do not include stops to museums as we will not be able to do our full circular overview route that builds the story of the city from one side to the other!   As such if you are interested in shopping or visiting museums en route – we would recommend you rather book the full day city tour!
  • Timing – 9am to 1pm.

We collect and drop off at central hotels – we are however happy to drop you anywhere else centrally after the tour eg Table Mountain.

Tour Duration:   Monday to Saturday 08h30 to 13h00 or 13h00 to 17h30  (note the tour does not operate on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday as the city shuts down from lunchtime Saturday)

Note for the Half Day City Walking Tour:

  • 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!)
  • We only have the optional stop to visit one museum on the half day tour (District 6 Museum) – the reason is that we want to show you a proper overview of the city by doing a full loop around the oldest part.  If you would like to include more museums – we recommend you book the 9 – 3pm tour ie the longer city tour!
  • Operates only as a private tour.
  • Is a walking tour – it is however mostly flat and you only need a moderate level of fitness.

Note we are happy to drop you anywhere centrally after the tour – so it is a good idea to combine the day with a visit to Table Mountain Cableway (weather permitting!).   We are happy to drop you at the cable car station and you can simply taxi back to your hotel later.

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.

Relaxed Cape Town City Walking Tour (9am to 3 pm)

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 as we do on our Cape Town Eats Walking tour!

PUT THE SAME CONTENT HERE AS FOR THE HALF DAY CITY WALKING TOUR ABOVE.

Traditional City Tour – Half Day – Table Mountain, Company Gardens and a drive through the city

Traditionally Cape Town has offered a half day city tour as a combo of Table Mountain Cableway and then a short visit to the city.   Our feeling is that this option only gives a tiny taste of the city – however if that is all you have time for – then book this option!  It is important to note that if the weather is perfect for the mountain – then one may spend most of the morning up on the mountain!  Visiting Table Mountain is however weather dependent – as such should the mountain be closed we will then spend the morning/afternoon exploring the city.

We start our day ascending the Mountain by cablecar (weather dependent – note that the mountain only closes if it is windy – it is open when there are clouds).   You have the option of either pre-booking your tickets (www.webtickets.co.za) yourself or paying us to pre-book the tickets for you.   Pre-booked tickets only help marginally as most people now pre-book.   Either way the queue is usually long!  For this reason we do this tour in the morning – with a fairly early start!

After our visit to the Mountain – we head to the Company Gardens – the oldest part of Cape Town – for a walk through this historic part of Cape Town.

The Vegetable Garden in the Company Gardens
The original statue of Jan Smuts in Front of the Art Gallery in the Company Gardens
The War Memorial in the Company Gardens
Rhodes pointing North in the Company Gardens

After our walk we do a short driving tour of the city before dropping you off at your hotel.

Tour Duration:   Monday to Saturday 08h00 to 13h00   (note the tour does not operate on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday as the city shuts down from lunchtime Saturday).   Note pick up time for 15 December to 15 January will be 07h30.

Note for the Traditional Half Day City Tour:

  • Does not operate on a Sunday (the city is closed on a Sunday!)
  • Operates only as a private tour.
  • Ascending the Cable Car is weather dependent – as such should it be closed we will spend the time exploring the city and we will give you your table mountain tickets to use on another occasion.
  • Note we are happy to drop you anywhere centrally after the tour – so it is a good idea to combine the day with a visit to Table Mountain Cableway (weather permitting!).   We are happy to drop you at the cable car station and you can simply taxi back to your hotel later.

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 head to Kirstenbosch to explore or to do a half day Constantia wine tour.