D’Almeida township experience
Did you know?
The history of Mossel Bay starts at Munro’s Bay when Bartholomew Diaz landed there more than 500 years ago.
The D’Almeida township experience tour is a 2-day, 2-night, professionally organised tour that starts when you check-in at the Hotel Portao Diaz around lunchtime. Your guide will collect you from the hotel and you’ll be taken to meet members of Mossel Bay’s historically disadvantaged communities in their homes and businesses.
Even though you’re accompanied at all times, what makes this meet the people tour unique and meaningful is that the personalities you’ll meet are also your tour guides. While visiting D’Almeida and Kwa Nonqaba townships, you’ll spend quality one-on-one time talking to residents, learning about their lives, and hearing their stories. In return, the community benefits, not by cash-handouts, but by you electing to buy a piece of local handiwork or homemade products, which supplements their day-to-day livelihood, and keeps the tours and their businesses sustainable.
The tour focuses on environmentally friendly and traditional industries. Alfred Skoen is a 65-year-old local brick maker, who’ll share his experiences of hardship and hope, whilst he demonstrates how to bake traditional clay-fired bricks. Alfred receives no financial compensation for his time. Instead, visitors are invited to sponsor bricks to build facilities for the community, like a care centre for neglected and abused children.
Patrick Saayman, a leather artisan, is another exceptional individual from humble, hardscrabble beginnings, whose journey through a debilitating accident and substance abuse to triumph as a South African para-Olympic athlete will amaze and uplift you.
On this unconventional community tour, you’ll meet many more inspirational characters, like Loveliness, the proprietor of an alcohol-free shebeen, sample traditional food at Timbeka's, or toast your adventure at Patrick Hobo's Mamba Lounge tavern, before your tour ends back at the Hotel Portao Diaz.
On the second day of your tour, you’re encouraged to self-drive, or arrange with your guide from the previous day, to explore Oudtshoorn’s attractions including the Cango Caves, ostrich farms, wildlife centres, or go wine tasting on the Klein Karoo wine route. Meanwhile, your luggage is transferred to the Point Hotel, where you can end your day, and your tour, enjoying dinner overlooking the bay.
If you’re keen to broaden your cultural horizons, and hear ordinary people's extraordinary stories, sustainable community tour, will be enlightening, and even life-changing. The experience is real, often gritty, heart-warming, and makes a positive difference in the lives of the people involved – including yours.