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Settler Settlements Tour
1 Dec 2015
 
     

This tour covers the life, history and conquests of the 1820 Settlers, discovering their pioneering spirit and their stories as they played out in the Grahamstown area of the Eastern Cape. Join Mosaic Tourism for a full-day guided exploration through the rich history of the enchanting city of Grahamstown. Sights include old forts, prisons, Rhodes University, old stone churches, museums and much more. One of the main attractions is the 1820 Settlers National Monument...

(GPS coordinates: -33.966, 25.626)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/settler-settlements-tour

Private Half Day Camissa Tour
27 Nov 2015
 
     

Experience the townships and the surroundings of Cape Town at your own pace on a private tour. Tell the organisers your particular interests and they will design an appropriate experience to suit your needs. The tour includes private vehicle and a township resident driver guide, with pick-ups from accommodation establishments in the city centre and the Atlantic seaboard… 

(GPS coordinates: -33.903761, 18.407715)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/private-half-day-camissa-tour

Township and Robben Island Full Day Tour
17 Nov 2015
 
     

Combine a morning Camissa  Township Tour or, on Sundays, a Gospel Tour with an afternoon visit to Robben Island, the site of Nelson Mandela’s incarceration. This tour looks at the present social and economical situation faced by people living in township communities, as well as development programs aimed at work in the area. The Robben Island visit includes a return ferry ride, and a guided tour of Robben Island and the prison, including Nelson Mandela’s cell...

(GPS coordinates: -33.79978, 18.37270)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/township-and-robben-island-full-day-tour

Lesedi Cultural Village Tour
10 Nov 2015
 
     

The Lesedi Cultural Village Tour takes you to the Lesedi Cultural Village, where you can enjoy the richness of five different African cultures at first hand. Enjoy their traditional dance acts. Listen to their entrancing music. Or feast at the Nyama Choma restaurant. The people of Lesedi near Hartebeespoort have created an African ambience that you won't find anywhere else…

(GPS coordinates: -25.8378, 27.8823)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/lesedi-cultural-village-tour

Soweto Night Tour
19 Oct 2015
 
     

Soweto does not go to sleep after sunset. This tour mingles with the friendly locals as it experiences the night life in Soweto. You visit four bars on this tour, each with its own distinctive character and patrons. Your tour guide knows the area by heart and the locals personally. He will show you some of the liveliest shebeens (unlicensed bars) Soweto has to offer! Restaurants such as Sakhumzi's in 'Orlando West, Soweto' and Wandie's are available to start the evening. The tour itinerary includes jazz clubs such as Palazzo di Stella in 'Dube, Soweto', The Rock in 'Rockville, Soweto', which has a younger and more 'hip' vibe, and the Kwa-Thabeng shebeen in 'Mofolo, Soweto'...

(GPS coordinates: -26.248535, 27.854011)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/soweto-night-tour

Bo-Kaap Walking Tour
14 Oct 2015
 
     

The 3-hour experience starts with an interactive, guided walk through the historical heart of the Bo-Kaap (for example Wale, Chiapinni, Rose and Drop Streets) that includes the small Bo-Kaap Museum and visits to local establishments. The mini shopping safari, which stops at a local spice shop and halaal butcher, offers opportunities to interact with locals and to discover typical ingredients. This is followed by the highlight of the community experience - a traditional tea-time snack in a local home, accompanied by tea…

(GPS coordinates: -33.921462, 18.415065)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/bo-kaap-walking-tour

Authentic Township Tour
1 Oct 2015
 
     

Visit the townships of Port Elizabeth and experience the culture and atmosphere of its people and markets - this is a truly authentic township experience in which the hope and history of South Africa’s rainbow nation are encapsulated and shared. Every tour is personalised and professional, ensuring that you experience the true warmth and vibe that exists in township life. As a hop-on, hop-off tour, you can get off the vehicle and take in the full kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and experiences of township living. You’ll visit New Brighton Township, the infamous Red Location Area, Njoli Market Square, Aya’s Ceramics pottery studio, and enjoy refreshments at a local shebeen…

(GPS coordinates: -33.966, 25.626)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/authentic-township-tour

Nan Hua Buddhist Centre
12 Sep 2015
 
     

Nan Hua (which means ‘Southern Splendour’) is a Chinese Buddhist cultural and educational complex in Cultura Park, a suburb of Bronkhorstspruit. The largest Buddhist seminary in the southern hemisphere, it is the spiritual home in Africa of the Fo Guang Shan (‘Buddha's Light Mountain’) - a Taiwanese Humanistic Buddhist order. The Nan Hua complex includes the African Buddhist Seminary (ABS), Nan Hua Village, a guest house and the Pureland Ch'an retreat. Visitors of all faiths are welcome at Nan Hua. The main shrine - with its African carvings, glowing interior and three huge golden Buddhas - is worth the trip alone...

(GPS coordinates: -25.824549, 28.734033)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/nan-hua-buddhist-centre

Belgravia Historic Walk
3 Sep 2015
 
     

Kimberley is a city replete with history. The Belgravia Historic Walk is the perfect way to explore the highs and lows of its distant and more recent past. The two-kilometre-long circular trail offers tourists and business people visiting the Northern Cape city a perfect opportunity to leisurely explore a significant part of South African history...

(GPS coordinates: -28.749763, 24.78017)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/belgravia-historic-walk

Hector Pieterson Museum
31 Aug 2015
 
     

Though many anti-apartheid protests took place in the lead-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections, few events are burned into the nations’ conscience like the Soweto Uprising on 16 June 1976. The Hector Pieterson Museum, which preserves and interprets the oral testimonies and material culture from this tumultuous time, is named in honour of the child protestor, Hector Pieterson. Hector was shot and killed during the protests and became an international symbol of South Africa’s struggle for freedom. This after a photograph of the dying boy being carried by a fellow student, with his sister running alongside, made headlines around the world. The museum stands on Khumalo Street, 2 blocks from where Hector was shot on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets…

(GPS coordinates: -26.235211, 27.908192)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/hector-pieterson-museum

Basotho Cultural Village
30 Aug 2015
 
     

The Basotho Cultural Village is situated in the QwaQwa National Park. It offers visitors insight into the culture and traditions of the Basotho people. A living museum, the village shows reconstructions of the Basotho lifestyle from the 16th century to the present. The circular huts, vibrantly decorated by the women of the village, are especially eye-catching. Accompanied by a resident tour guide, you’ll be taken into the 'khotla', the gathering place of men, and welcomed by the village chief with a sip of traditional maize beer. Thereafter, you’ll visit his wives’ houses to learn how Basotho people conduct their day-to-day activities...

(GPS coordinates: -28.488792, 28.743826)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/basotho-cultural-village

KwaDukuza Museum
29 Aug 2015
 
     

Stanger, or KwaDukuza, along the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, is an area rich in history. The final capital of the Zulu Kingdom under Shaka’s rule, the area is steeped in Zulu culture. It is the final resting place of Shaka and part of the Zulu Heritage Route. The KwaDukuza Museum, formerly known as the Natal North Coast Museum, gives visitors a comprehensive glimpse into the early days of Stanger, and maps its development over time...

(GPS coordinates: -29.339917, 31.294636)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/kwadukuza-museum

Tara Rokpa Buddhist Centre
27 Aug 2015
 
     

Some 25 kilometres from Groot Marico in a peaceful valley traversing some small farms is the Tara Rokpa Centre, a Buddhist inspired sanctuary.  Along with a programme of meditation retreats and activities that support spiritual growth, the centre hosts events directed at healing, using a relatively recently developed therapy known as Tara Rokpa. This psychotherapy, rooted in Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Tibetan medicine, melds East with West and has been developed by a Tibetan Lama in collaboration with western health professionals...

(GPS coordinates: -25.744279, 26.349936)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/tara-rokpa-buddhist-centre

Travel like a local in Langa
19 Aug 2015
 
     

Travel like a local in Langa

Robert Peters for Cape Town Tourism

We are always on the lookout for authentic experiences. The word ‘authentic’ obviously means different things to different people, but generally I like to think if you are sincerely welcomed into a community and their homes, invited to eat their food and immerse yourself in their culture, then you are dealing with genuine authenticity.

Globally, more and more people are looking for authentic travel experiences, which allow them to see the city like a local would, by seeking out tours and activities that allow them to travel and experience the neighbourhoods like the locals do.

Ubizo Events and Tours is a tour operator specialising in tours that encapsulate the locals’ lives, focussing on the township of Langa, which was established in 1927 in terms of the 1923 Urban Area Act and one of the oldest of its kind in South Africa. It was also a focal area for much of the resistance against the apartheid government and as such has a rich – if often turbulent – history.

Led by Ubizo’s founder, Sabu Siyaka, our tour of the area started at Cape Town Station with the group travelling by train to Langa. The train ride certainly adds authenticity to the tour as the bulk of the Langa workforce travels to and from work this way. The addition of the train is a calculated move by Sabu, who reasons that to truly understand the people of Langa, you need to get as close to their daily routine as you can. He is also a keen observer of people and regaled us with stories of the unique and entertaining characters working the carriages – from fruit sellers to busking musicians.

The trip is a short one – with just four stops and taking roughly 15 minutes – and is followed by a walk through the neighbourhood towards the first stop on the tour, Mzansi’s.

Ubizo will soon be offering a bicycling option and visitors can also opt to bus or drive into Langa for the tour, but the train trip is a welcome addition in my view. I did ask Sabu how unplanned stoppages will affect tours – there are two train tours every day – and he informed me that a bus will be on standby in case of such an occurrence.

Langa is more built-up than most would imagine, but the level of poverty is hard to ignore. There is a fairly large section of informal housing and it is a stark reminder of the country’s dark past. But what is also immediately evident is the warmth and sense of community in the neighbourhood. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Mzansi’s, which is run by Sabu’s parents, Nomonde and Ace.

“My mother makes the food, my dad gets down and my brother washes the dishes,” laughs Sabu as he takes us on a tour of the restaurant, which was an old family house before being turned into a restaurant seven years ago.

Lunch is a traditional Xhosa home-cooked meal, including local staples like samp, creamed spinach and beef stew. Dessert is local favourite malva pudding. It is a proper local meal and delicious. An in-house marimba band provides the tunes and atmosphere throughout, but the best part comes after lunch when Nomonde and Ace interact with guests. Nomonde with a brief history of the restaurant, Langa and the backstory to how she met Ace, who in turn teaches guests the ‘Pata Pata’ dance made famous by legendary local singer Miriam Makeba. The dancing is followed by a jam session on the marimba drums, which is always good fun.

Lunch is followed by a tour of the neighbourhood, where we are joined on by a bundle of fur known simply as ‘Fluffy’, who clearly knows the way as he takes point immediately. A neighbourhood favourite, Fluffy is a rockstar here and is mobbed by the young kids as we arrive at our first stop, the local Catholic School down the way from Mzansi’s. The poor little guy left soon after – probably in fear of his life – but it was pretty cool knowing that we had just been mixing it up with a local legend.

The tour incorporates, among other things, the church, the Langa Sports Field – which has produced some national sportsmen and no doubt will produce many more – the Arts and Culture Centre, Gugas’Thebe, the Dompas Museum and a visit to a local sangoma, before moving on to Gugulethu where you visit the Gughulethu Seven and Amy Biel Memorial, before wrapping things up with a meal at Mzoli’s - if on a weekend tour – or back at Mzansi’s during the week.

Walking the streets it is hard to ignore the poverty, but is also heartening to see the work being done in terms of upliftment by locals. The sense of pride and community in Langa is immediately evident and as Sabu leads us through the neighbourhood, filling us in on local history and trivia, it is clear that those who ‘make it’ are generally more interested in giving back than getting out. If you take anything away from a tour of Langa, let it be that.

For more information on Ubizo Events and Tours visit https://www.facebook.com/Ubizoeventsandtours or contact Sabu Siyaka on 021 425 8416 / 083 730 7942 or email: [email protected]

Workers' Museum
18 Aug 2015
 
     

The Workers’ Museum in Newtown, a satellite of Museum Africa, explores the history and heritage of migrant labour in southern Africa. At the centre of the museum is the restored Workers’ Compound, once home to hundreds of migrant labourers who flocked to the city of gold. The exhibition shows the harsh methods of control, exploitation, and segregation by company owners and government structures. It also acknowledges the contribution migrant workers made to building South Africa’s economy and culture...

(GPS coordinates: -26.202083, 28.03125)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/workers'-museum

Calvinia Museum
14 Aug 2015
 
     

Housed in a former synagogue, the Calvinia Museum documents the lives of early Europeans settlers in the wide expanses of the Hantam Karoo. Along with their history, the intriguing exhibit illustrates the history of sheep-farming in South Africa. Its very relevant collection allows visitors to the Calvinia Museum to understand the trials and tribulations of the first inhabitants of this area...

(GPS coordinates: -31.47218, 19.77490

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/calvinia-museum

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