Hout Bay is one of the Cape Peninsula’s most beautiful seaside assets, a traditional playground for the rich and the retired. Now there’s a new, exciting group of people living there, staking their claim to a piece of paradise. They’re the residents of the Mandela Park in Imizamo Yethu.

Did you know?

Imizamo Yethu – home of Mandela Park – is the Xhosa term for 'our combined effort'.

Mandela Park lies in the heart of Imizamo Yethu township in the heart of Hout Bay in the heart of the glorious Cape Peninsula.

When you walk through this settlement in the early evening, you'll hear the background soundtrack of children at play in the streets. Everywhere in Imizamo Yethu you will find small businesses, little put-up shops that sell soft drinks, cigarettes, bread and yes, sweets for the kids darting about outside.

Back in the early 1980s, more than a decade before South Africa’s democratic elections in 1994, there was an influx of black people into this idyllic, seaside enclave mostly reserved for whites at the time. The new residents of Hout Bay built shacks on whatever piece of vacant ground they could find. This led to tensions between the newcomers and the established residents of Hout Bay.

In 1989 local government stepped in and set aside a piece of land, developing it with roads, water and sewerage facilities. New residents – mostly Xhosa-speaking people from the Eastern Cape – were allowed to build their shacks here. With the recent arrival of refugees from other African countries, an estimated 20 000 people now live in Imizamo Yethu, which is striving to become a fully fledged suburb of Hout Bay in the future.

A great way to see Imizamo Yethu is in the company of a tour project called Dinner @ Mandela’s. On Mondays and Thursday evenings, you gather outside the Long Street Café in central Cape Town and depart for Hout Bay at 6.30pm.

Once in Mandela Park, you are treated to an evening of dance, choral singing, African music and a traditional African meal at a local tavern. Visitors are made welcome in this part of the world – the tour group and local community work together to ensure your security for the evening of fun and cultural exchange.

You can also visit Imizamo Yethu as part of the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour of the open-top City Sight Seeing bus tour.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Dinner @ Mandela's
Tel: +27 (0)82 855 0931
Email: ryan@bokbus.com

Mandela Park Mosaics
Tel: +27 (0)79 551 2997
Email: info@mandelaparkmosaics.co.za

City Sight Seeing Cape Town Bus Tours
Tel: +27 (0)21 511 6000

How to get here

Imizamo Yethu lies above Hout Bay.

Best time to visit

Check the weather forecasts and visit on a clear day, between mid-morning and after lunch; or take the Dinner @ Mandela's option and visit in the evening.

Around the area

Connect with Cape Town Tourism for info on Cape Peninsula day trips and destinations.

Tours to do

Cape Point; Simon's Town Boulders Beach (African penguins); Kalk Bay Harbour; Table Mountain cable car.

Get around

A walking tour in the company of a registered guide is recommended, not only for security reasons but also for the quality of the experience.

What will it cost

Day tours range between R300 and R400; the evening visit costs R295 and includes transport, entertainment, a traditional African meal and a cultural experience. The City Sight Seeing Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, which includes a lengthy stop over in Imizamo Yethu, costs R150 pp, children 5-15 R70; under 5 free

Length of stay

Three hours.

What to pack

A light day pack containing spare 'walking water', enough cash for the tour, camera and sunblock.

Where to stay

Enquire from your guide about overnighting options in Mandela Park; otherwise stay over in Hout Bay or further afield in Cape Town.

What to eat

You will be presented with an African meal (probably Xhosa-style) in a buffet format. Taste something of everything, you will be delighted at the food on offer.

What's happening

Hout Bay Tourism will tell you all about happenings in the area.

Best buys

Mosaic vases from Mandela Park Mosaics. Made from china, tile and mirror pieces, these hand-made crafts are objects of desire.