Living in South Africa, it’s assumed that we’ve visited at least a few cultural sites and tourist attractions in our area. Yet, time and time again, I’m surprised at how much I still have to learn about my own country. So why not making it fun? Here are 10 unique ways of exploring South Africa, getting to know a different side to it’s history and enjoying some rather interesting cultural interactions.
1. Spend a day with Rastafarians
Ask all those questions you’ve always hungered to know about Rastafarians and their cultural ways when you visit Judah Square in Knysna – South Africa’s largest Rastafarian community. Brother Zebulon Afrikaner will take you on a personalised tour and you’ll have the chance to get first hand experience of the day in a life of a South African Rastafarian. You can even spend the night.
True to the Rastafarian nature, it seems like visitors can just show up and ask around, but you can read their advertisement in Tourism Update’s digi-mag.
Tel: 076 648 1034
2. Visit our local battlefields
Brush up on your local war history, see where the men fought for their lives and gain a different perspective on South African stories as you visit the battlefields of the Anglo-Boer wars and the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. Most tours are centered in northern Natal and can be personlised according to your interests.
3. Live like Voortrekkers for a day or two
Situated near Hartebeespoort Dam, these converted ox wagons date back to te 1800’s. Read each ox wagon’s unique story and learn about the Voortrekker history in the makeshift museum while enjoying modern amenities and beautiful views over the dam. Traditional dress and frilly hats are optional, but should make the adventure that much more rewarding.
4. Explore Lesedi cultural village
Pretend you live in a traditional Xhosa village in this cleverly created representation of the Xhosa culture and ways of life. Stay in traditional styled huts, watch performances and learn all about the Xhosa history. The village was established in 1993 and can be found within the Cradle of Humankind. A rather apt location, I’d say.
*Photo courtesy of RachelF2SEA.
5. Explore Knorhoek Wine Estate on horseback
These unique tours are offered twice daily on Knorhoek estate, just outside Stellenbosch. The morning ride winds its way through the vineyards, showing all the different cultivars grown on the farm, including the very old Chenin Blanc bush vines. The sunset tour takes you to the top of the farm to witness as the sun sets over the Stellenbosch Valley.
6. Take a nighttime tour at the Gold of Africa Museum
Make your way through this iconic Cape Town museum after dark, while torches light up the corridors. You’ll learn all about the strong role that gold plays in our country’s history while enjoying a glass of wine that is sprinkled with real gold leaf.
7. Fly in an ex-military fighter jet
Reach speeds of just below Mach 1 in a beautiful, fully functional ex-military fighter jet when you visit Thunder City in Cape Town. The impressive collection of jets include the world’s only flying English Electric Lightnings, the famous cold war supersonic jet interceptor and the world’s only flying Bae Buccaneers, the famous low-level tactical nuclear-capable jet bomber.
*Photo courtesy of u07ch.
8. Go wine tasting in a sidecar
Take to the Cape’s wine lands in a vintage World War II sidecar, stopping at farms outside Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. Apart from tasting wine, you’ll also get to walk around Stellenbosch’s streets and visit the glass-blowing studio in Franschhoek. All of this while being chauffeur’s by a friendly member of the team.
9. Explore Soweto like a local
Enjoy a guided bicycle tour through this well-known township outside of Johannesburg, chatting to the locals and getting a feel for their daily lives. If you haven’t had enough when evening comes, you can decide to spend the night with one of the families that Ezulwini Tours choose for you.
10. Spend the night in Kayelitsha
Since Vicky’s B&B opened it’s modest doors in this Cape Town township, many aspiring entrepreneurs have followed in her footsteps and now you have a range of places to spend a night or two in this colourful township.
Vicky’s B&B: www.vickys-bed-and-breakfast.com, 082 225 2986.
Lungi’s: www.lungis.co.za, firstname.lastname@example.org, 071 0058 817.
Malebo’s: 021 361 2391
Kopanong: www.kopanong-township.co.za, email@example.com, 021 361 2084