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CCape Town, also known as the Mother City, is not only one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but is also rich in a diverse history and many cultures. Started in the 1600’s by Dutch settlers, it has grown over the last half a millennium into a pulsating melting pot of cultures and experiences.
The Footsteps to Freedom tour traces a number of important historical and cultural sites across Cape Town. You can choose your tour, and have it tailor-made to suit your favourite activities. Best known for their Mandela Tours, the knowledgeable guides will take you on a path of discovery across the city, allowing you to get inside the head of the great man and be as close to experiencing what he went through as possible.
The walk begins on the famous Adderley street in Cape Town Central. Well known for its local flower sellers, you can stop and chat to flamboyant characters who have lived in the city since birth. Flower sellers have been selling their wares in that exact spot on Adderley Street since the 1850’s
TThe Castle of Good Hope, Grand Parade and City Hall all feature in the walking tour as well. The City Hall is particularly important in regards to Mandela as this is where he first addressed the nation from after his release from jail. The very balcony where he raised his iconic fist is now adorned with a statue of him, and one can go inside the old Edwardian building to discover an exhibition based on his life.
Footsteps to Freedom
OOther great stops include the Company’s Gardens and Tuynhuys. Originally the gardens were built in the early 1600’s to supply ships going around the coast of South Africa with fresh fruit and vegetables to stave off the dreaded Scurvy. These days they are a beautiful example of not only local plant species but also roses and traditional medicinal plants. The grey squirrels which make the huge trees their home are only too happy to pose for photos, often on your lap, in return for peanuts which can be bought from street vendors.
The Tuynhuys began life as a garden shed. Now it is a sprawling building with a beautiful veranda and white walls, which is used as the office of the President when he is in Cape Town. Madiba spend many hours there, not only drafting South Africa’s constitution but also leading the country forward into its bright future.
SSouth Africa’s seat of power is the Houses of Parliament which are also situated nearby the Company’s Gardens, and form a stop on the walking tour. Although you don’t go inside, you can stand in front of the great pillars and imagine the shaking fists, and strong decisions that were made within its walls.
The slavery precinct with the Old Slave Lodge and the Slave Tree are a sobering reminder of the country’s past. The sheer number of lives which passed through, and were ruined on that exact spot puts just how far we have come into stark perspective. The ultimate symbol of freedom lost and gained, knowledgeable guides tell stories of its past and famous slaves who were kept there such as Sarah Baartman.
The tour finishes with well told stories of struggle heroes who not only made their home in Cape Town, but also changed the face of South African politics from within the shade of the mountain. There are few better ways to truly see the historic and cultural sights and sounds of the Mother City than with a walking tour led by passionate and knowledgeable guides.
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, but its encircling mountains, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, have witnessed a longer history than that described by its surviving historic buildings.
The Western Cape was the first place that Europeans settled in the country, in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck’s three vessels landed at the Cape. As employees of the Dutch East India Company, they had come to establish a halfway station for ships travelling to and from the East. Their influence is evident in the buildings, some of which are 350 years old, and culture of the Western Cape.
Experience music, dance and food from across the country, as well as Tsonga crafts and Zulu beer-brewing; and don’t forget the magical clicking language of the San people.
The first shebeens in South Africa were local bars and taverns where mostly working-class urban males could unwind, socialise, and escape the oppression of life during the Apartheid era.