Cape Town - While places like Long Street and Camps Bay may serve as exceptional tourist attractions, we prefer to do Khayelitsha – South Africa’s fastest growing township with some 22 sub-sections.
Here entrepreneurship and creativity thrive to the fullest and tourism is an important industry in Khayelitsha with its residents hosting events and festivals throughout the year.
As locals, many of us have to admit, we know little to nothing about the place, that admittedly has had a bad reputation more than it is seen as a tourism hot spot - but after a recent visit by the Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa earlier in March - it's clear that SA can grow and improve its townships with massive benefits across the economic and social divide.
Xasa urged community members as well as SMME’s to participate and make not only townships, but the whole city more welcoming for tourists.
SEE: Township Tourism: Why SA should value and invest in places like Khayelitsha
And a popular way to get a glimpse into the lives and cultures of those who call the place their home is by popping in for a visit - even better, ask somebody in your inner-circle who lives there to show you around. You may just be surprised by what you find.
To help you navigate your way easily, we've curated this insider suggestions list you should check out during your next Mother City escape.
More than a tour
Township tours unveil some of Khayelitsha’s markets and taverns, where you can enjoy food and a drink or two at a rather affordable price. No tourist prices here. You can also see projects, like arts and craft centres that provide employment and skills development to residents.
NOTE: When visiting Khayelitsha it is advisable to book with a registered tour agent as poor signage means it is easy to get lost unless you know the area well.
Start your morning at Look Out Hill in Khayelitsha - this is popular attraction for climbing the hill. Best for morning jog routines, early sunrises and sunsets, being the highest point in the area the viewing deck on Khayelitsha's Lookout Hill offers 360 degree views of the Cape Flats, False Bay, the Hottentots Holland mountain range, Helderberg and Groot Drakenstein.
A different view, a different perspective.
SEE: Mapped: How well do you think you know SA's ratios of wealth, religion and sexuality?
You'll find crafting workshops and as well as wares made by local residents for sale on the corner of Mew and Spine Road. Enjoy some live music while you browse for typical township art. This is often created out of surprising materials, representing life in Khayelitsha using found objects, new media and traditional crafting techniques.
This is your not so typical shisa nyama-cum-tavern spot that townships in Cape Town have become known for. But you can still expect to a good time ‘ekasi’ style. Take a drive down town to Rands Cape Town where folks can eat freshly-prepared traditional food and mingle with like-minded people in style. You'll find it in the Khaya Bazaar Business Complex.
This open-air lounge with a 1 500 capacity is popularly known for its firm traditional menu. Dishes include chicken, spinach, chakalaka, pap, lamb chops, sausage, creamy spinach, ribs, and Buffalo wings dipped in the Rands’ “secret sauce”.
Call it a night
A popular informal but absolutely authentic township stay is Lungi's B&B. This kasi style accommodation no gentrified experience in the least - it allows you to immerse yourself in true South African hospitality. According to the website,the B&B is situated in a shack with two comfortable and clean guestrooms, both with bathroom and toilet ensuite.
"The accommodation was fully redecorated in 2015. Standing in front of the B&B you have a beautiful view on the Helderberg Mountains."
ALSO SEE: WATCH: 6 stories from Khayelitsha that will make it your favourite Cape Town spot
And then finally we leave you with this recently launched Love Cape Town video focusing on Khayelitsha - further highlighting all the positives in the area. It's a heart-warming showcase of the areas beauty. Go check it out!
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