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The Eco-friendly Train Township Tour Saturday Special
Grow more than just your cultural quotient on this interactive excursion to the Langa community
Most people don’t like to be ‘taken for a ride’, but in this case, there’s no better way to begin a day in Cape Town’s oldest township, Langa. Grassroots tour operator Camissa Travel & Marketing’s eco-friendly train adventure chugs to a start with a simple railroad journey, and by the time the afternoon concludes, tour-goers will have had one of the most authentic community experiences available in the Mother City (and for a reasonable price too as CapeTownMagazine.com readers get a 10% discount on the tour).
Aimed at energetic visitors who want to genuinely give back to, not just look at, the Cape’s bustling informal settlements, this one-of-a-kind outing combines just the right amount of cultural and historical insight with dashes of volunteer work and green tourism.
For starters, on board the train, you’ll get a real sense of the everyday travels of Langa community members, and you’ll keep from harming the planet by taking advantage of public transportation. You won’t receive special treatment or first-class frills, but instead you’ll sit with your guide amidst the colourful conversations and vibrant gesturing of the regular passengers. Along the way, your host for the day will start to unpack your destination’s past, present and potential future.
First stop? The Langa Station, where meat markets, curio bazaars, liquor stores, hair salons and spaza shops spill out from the mouth of the transportation hub onto the suburb’s streets. From here, you’ll walk to the Sinebhongo Community Garden to get your hands dirty – in a good way!
The people that power this inspiring initiative cultivate fruits and veggies for their own livelihood but also to prepare meals for the ill, elderly, needy and unemployed. It’s here that the opportunity to pitch in and work the garden or help out in the kitchen presents itself.
After, you’ll continue to explore the lanes and ways of Langa on foot, an environmentally-friendly method of travel that makes you feel more like a local and less like a tourist on a township safari. Along the route, you’ll get a glimpse of what life was like during apartheid via the Langa Museum and the Langa Pass Court and Office, an administrative centre that used to control the movement of black individuals before democracy.
On the flip side, you’ll also traipse by a number of different types of local housing: derelict shacks sidle up to modest family units, which give way to sizeable homes complete with satellite television and double car parks. The stark contrast can be disheartening, but at the same time it’s uplifting - the clear message being that even accomplished members of the area choose to remain in the community to propel others forward.
And finally, you’ll break bread in a traditional eatery. The more explorative can tuck into a mini buffet featuring local staples, like samp, beans, chakalaka and pap, and the more finicky eaters can find some comfort in a few typically Western-influenced menu options.
The day draws to a close with another train ride home and a friendly ‘hamba kakuhle’, a farewell that means ‘go well’ in isiXhosa.
Pricing and Booking Info for the Camissa Eco-friendly Train Township Tour Saturday Special
This particular tour only runs Monday to Friday and is available at a special rate for CapeTownMagazine.com readers. The excursion is normally priced at R520 for adults and R260 for children between the ages of 2 and 12 years, but CapeTownMagazine.com readers get a 10% discount.
The adventure starts around 9am when patrons are expected to meet at Cape Town station and ends at around 1pm, when patrons will return to Cape Town station.
To book, contact Camissa on +27 (0)21 510 2646 or +27 (0) 78 657 7788.
Wondering what else Camissa offers? Read about the company’s completely unique Sunday gospel experience township tour.