Over time, I’ve come to realize that the destinations that affect me the most all over the world have been or are all a part of ancient trading routes. Maybe it’s the diverse mix of cultures that inevitably occur in port towns that translate to a different architecture, food, music or art. Maybe, I just love the sea so much! Regardless, Cape Town was no different.
Although most of my trip was tied to a travel conference, I did manage to spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful city as well as discovering what individual communities and townships are doing to preserve their heritage and livelihood, which of course all translates to sustainability.
Here is my list for exploring the eco side of Cape Town.
You may feel very tired after a long flight, but trust me, take an afternoon nap and then go on an evening Jazz Safari, provided by Coffeebean Routes, a recent Africa Responsible Tourism Award winner. We went to the township of Gugulethu where over the course of the evening, we visited homes of jazz greats, listened to some wonderful original and classic jazz, shared an African meal, some laughs, danced and talked politics…well worth it! Read my review and see videos here.
There are various bicycle township tours offered, but mine with AWOL Tours through Masiphumelele, which is a Xhosa word meaning “We will succeed”, was very well done because it showed the beauty, tragedy, hope and hardship of a proud people. We visited the children’s daycare center, the library, the township healer for a blessing, a couple of locally-owned businesses including a children’s dressmaker and a recycled glass chandelier maker, and had a delicious lunch at a local home. Come see the genuine smiles and curiousity of the people of Masiphumelele!
Buy a MyCiTi bus card (very efficient and clean bus system) and explore the colorful and multicultural neighborhoods of Bo Kapp and District Six, the serene Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, the lively Victoria & Alfred shopping waterfront, the products of Greenmarket Square and, of course, the majestic Table Mountain all in one day!
Further afield, sign up for a Cape Peninsula and Point tour to see the southernmost point in Africa and to visit the African penguins of Boulders Park, who are unfortunately suffering the effects of a debilitating fungus that may wipe out the colony in the next 30 years. Learn what you can do to help!
Check out these and other activities with our family-friendly and eco-certified South Africa Fair Trade Explorer trip!