There’s no better way to explore a city than by mingling with its locals, as you walk in the footsteps of past and present right on the very streets that shape it – and guided walking tours are an excellent way to do just that!
The Mother City has a full and tumultuous history, which, given how it has shaped the Cape Town we know and love today, is very important to her story.
Full of fascinating historical buildings and cultural landmarks, there’s no better way to get to know the city than through a walking tour. If you’re visiting Johannesburg, read 8 Walks to Experience Johannesburg like a local.
And, perhaps best of all the tours included in this list, are those from Cape Town Free Walking Tours, which are absolutely free (although a tip is always appreciated for the amazingly knowledgeable guides who volunteer to host the tours).
See below for their awesome tour options:
Historic City Tour
Hidden between the overwhelming collection of contemporary buildings and skyscrapers in Cape Town’s CBD, you can find some hidden gems. And best of all, these historical places were of pivotal importance to South African history.
During the tour, your guide will unwrap these historical spots for you, giving you some insight into the role they played and are still playing today.
It includes a stop at Parliament, the old president’s house, The Castle of Good Hope, Greenmarket Square and the Slave Lodge.
Tours take place twice daily, at 11am and 4.20pm respectively, and depart from Motherland Coffee Company, Mandela Rhodes Building.
Bo-Kaap Walking Tour
Famous for its Instagram-worthy, brightly coloured houses and beautiful cobbled streets, the Bo-Kaap is a very special part of Cape Town.
Rooted in Malaysian, African, Indian and Sri Lankan culture (as a result of the slaves – and their descendents – brought over by Dutch imperialists in the 16th and 17th centuries), even today, the area is still known for its vibrant history and blending of creeds. In so many ways, it is the truest celebration of Cape Malay culture.
During the tour, you can expect to see the oldest mosque, Auwal Masjid, smell the Eastern spices at Atlas Trading Company, Biesmiellah Restaurant and many more.
Tours depart twice a day, at 2pm and 4.20pm, leaving from Motherland Coffee Company, Mandela Rhodes Building.
Taste of Cape Town Tour
No visit to Cape Town is complete without truly experiencing one of the incredibly diverse tastes this city has to offer.
Cape Town’s food scene is truly vast and, as such, it becomes hard to choose between all the trendy eateries, markets and cafes all within walking distance of each other… So, why not let your guide take you around to some of their favourite picks?
Here, you can try local food favourites, like boerewors, snoek, biltong, local Craft Beer, all while simultaneously immersing yourself in the street scene, where street performers amaze crowds every day, and there is amazing art to be found around almost every corner.
To make it even more fun, this tour will never be the same two days in a row, as where you go and what you see or discover is entirely dependent on who open and working.
Tours depart once daily (excluding Sundays and public holidays) at 2pm, leaving from Motherland Coffee Company, Mandela Rhodes Building.
Next for the Cape Town walking tours, we have these top individual picks:
Cape Town Jazz Safari
Run by Coffeebeans Routes – a group of people who aspire towards intimate storytelling, human capital and social justice for all – the Cape Town Jazz Safari invites you into the very homes of local jazz musicians.
There are two fascinating parts to this tour, the first being a meal, music and inspired conversations at the musician’s home. Part two, meanwhile, includes a visit to either a second musician’s home (for a tempting nightcap…) or a jazz venue, where you’ll enjoy listening to and watching a late set.
This tour is a fine way to discover the city through one of her most beloved music genres, while also experiencing a deeply personal meeting with some of Cape Town’s own jazz artists. (For those interested in an even more intimate musical encounter, there is also an option to book a private Jazz Tour through the website.)
Tours run for approximately four hours (usually between 7pm – 11pm) and take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Please contact Coffeebeans Routes for any additional information and pricing.
Cape Town Eats City Walking Tour
For those eager to taste the city from the ground up, Cape Fusion Tours, offers an exciting culinary walking tour. The Eats City Walking Tour is perfect for foodies, gourmands or cooks inexperienced and experienced alike.
It provides insight into not only the city’s best foodie spots, but also into its culture, history and everyday life, painting a wonderful, colourful picture for you to keep in your mind… even as you (literally) digest its goodness.
Learn how to make tasty treats like samoosas, traditional Cape Malay curry and chili bites from scratch in the Bo-Kaap, sip amazing coffee from the likes of Truth Coffee, or discover the city’s most sought after street food, all through Pam and her excellent, close-knit guide team.
The tour runs between 9am – 2.30pm, and Cape Fusion Tours is able to collect and drop you off as required.
For additional information, pricing and more precise dates, please email Cape Fusion Tours directly.
Memorable food tours with well-versed local guide, Shireen Narkedien
Shireen Narkedien, experienced tour guide and expert Cape Town resident of note, knows the streets of the Bo-Kaap like the back of her hand, so what better person to approach than her for either a tour, home-cooked meal or home stay in this colourful and vibrant city district?
Shireen will ensure you enjoy an insightful, poignant and delicious walking tour, as she reveals to you some of the Bo-Kaap’s most special places, people and memories.
Some days, she’ll take you to Atlas Trading; other days to meet Zainab Masoet, a great cook herself… The possibilities are endless and, as she welcomes you into this unique Cape Town community, Shireen makes sure that all her local favourites get a turn in the travel limelight by constantly switching up the tours (and where they visit)!
Be welcomed, conversed with and moved by the people, who make the Bo-Kaap such a special and historic part of the Mother City.
To take part in one of these memorable local walking tours, please email Shireen Narkedien on firstname.lastname@example.org.
4Roomed eKasi Culture
For those of you keen to try both a cultural tourism and fine dining offering, you need look no further than 4Roomed eKasi Culture.
This lifestyle concept is based on the four-roomed homes found in the oldest townships in South Africa. Celebrating a life of great food, beautiful home decor and art and trendy lifestyle ideas, while still evoking South African nostalgia, 4Roomed eKasi Culture is the wonderful brainchild of founder, Abigail Mbalo.
Guests can head to Khayelitsha for a stunning three-course dining experience with Abigail, a former Top 6 Masterchef SA contestant, and enjoy a unique cultural experience, with all the bells and whistles of modern, chic city life included.
The tour is suitable for group bookings of between 10-30 guests, with lunch and dinner available on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch times are 12pm – 3pm, with dinner times set as 6pm – 8.30pm.
For more information on 4Roomed eKasi Culture, email email@example.com.
Do you love mural art and street tours; read our travel expert Ophelie’s guide on a Salt River Street Art Tour.