03 June 2015 | Quathar Jacobs
The Historic City Walk is a daily free guided tour
Grab a friend or three, put on your brightly coloured sneakers and uncover the city on our free guided Historic City Walk. Together with Nielsen Tours, City Sightseeing offers both locals and visitors a fun opportunity to explore the city on foot.
Simply sign up at the City Sightseeing Long Street office – where the tour starts at 11am every day and ends about 90 minutes later – and you’re all set for an on-the-ground educational experience.
As you wander the streets, your guide will stop and share the stories of the city – from the days of its earliest settlers to the people’s struggle and the liberation movement. One of the stops is Greenmarket Square (below), the oldest square in South Africa, where slaves and fresh produce were once sold.
Guides are thoroughly trained and equipped to answer your questions as you make your way through the hustle and bustle of the city to learn about its colourful history.
At the Cape High Court you’ll find benches that are examples of how certain things were marked “whites only” and “non-white only” in the apartheid era.
Newly-trained tour guide Alexander Hart excitedly says, “I love Cape Town and I’m very passionate about history.”
The same passion can be seen with every guide you interact with as they weave you in and out of the city streets – from Greenmarket Square to the Company’s Garden, the city hall (below) where former president Nelson Mandela gave his first speech as a free man, and Church Square.
Helga van T Schip of the Netherlands, who recently took to the streets for the Historic City Walk, says, “There is no better way to learn the history of a city than to walk it. And you cannot understand a city without understanding its history.”
At Church Square the names of slaves who were once housed across the way, have been engraved in stone.
The walking tour highlights include St George’s Cathedral, the Cape High Court, Tuynhuys, the Grand Parade and the city hall. And at the end of the tour, you tip your guide what you think the tour was worth – be nice!
City Sightseeing Cape Town and Nielsen Tours also offer a free Bo-Kaap Walk every day at 3pm. Read more.