See Cape Town's sights on a free walking tour

24 February 2017

The best way to really get to know a city is on foot – and City Sightseeing has four engaging, free walking-tour OPTIONS to explore Cape Town. All operate on a tips-only basis, take about 90 minutes from start to end, and are fully guided in English.

So put on your walking shoes and have some fun while learning lots of interesting facts and gaining local insider knowledge about the enchanting Mother City.

The Historic City Walk

Visitors learn about Cape Town's heritage on the Historic City Walk. (Image: City Sightseeing)

Hear a host of interesting stories about the city’s rich history and heritage – from slavery and the effects on residents of the apartheid era to life in the present day. Tour highlights include a peek at vibrant Greenmarket Square in the centre of the city (where slaves were once sold and which now houses a large market selling African craft, clothes, beads and other goods) and the Cape Town City Hall (an imposing Edwardian building on the Grand Parade, where former President Nelson Mandela made his first speech as a free man in 1990).

You will also visit the peaceful Company’s Garden, home to many precocious squirrels, birds and the Cape’s oldest living “citizen", a cultivated pear tree dating back about 360 years.

Departure times are 10.30am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4pm from the Long Street City Sightseeing ticket office.

The Bo-Kaap Walk

Colourful homes along the Bo-Kaap Walk route. (Image: City Sightseeing)

This tour takes in the extraordinary and photogenic Bo-Kaap "Malay" quarter known for its brightly painted houses and narrow streets. Highlights include South Africa’s oldest mosque, the Auwal Masjid on Dorp Street. You will pass the Bo-Kaap Museum showcasing local Islamic heritage and culture, and get an introduction to traditional spicy Cape Malay food. The vibrant colours of the houses and steep alleys you will have you clicking away to capture the area's distinct character. From the highest vantage point, there are spectacular views of the city and Lion's Head.

Departure times are 10.30am, 1.30pm and 4pm (depart from the Long Street ticket office)​ from the Long Street ticket office.

Imizamo Yethu Township Walk


Head to the pretty seaside enclave of Hout Bay on the City Sightseeing red bus, and hop off for the Imizamo Yethu Township Walk. The tour, with a local accredited guide, will share insight about its history and culture – as well as the harsher realities of life in this informal settlement (most residents still live in shacks and while there are services, they do remain basic). The vibe is friendly and the tour provides a valuable glimpse into the daily existence of a large sector of the Cape Town community.

The township tours operate daily from STOP 23  on the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour. Tickets are available from your bus driver, at City Sightseeing tour offices at the V&A Waterfront (stop 1) and Long Street (stop 5), or online. Departure times are regularly during the day and tours are about 40 minutes long.

Tickets cost R80 per adult and R35 per child.

Visitors' views

City Sightseeing's Cape Town Free Walking Tours are hugely popular with tourists and locals alike, with guides having been described as "knowledgeable and engaging" and "passionate and enthusiastic", and tours as giving "fascinating insight" into local history.

Both tours were really worthwhile, especially the trip to District 6 because of our guide's own experiences of growing up in SA, and remembering what it was like the day Nelson Mandela gave his speech outside the City Hall.— cjvanstraaten

See more comments from Tripadvisor here.

Cape Town is famously photogenic, so bring your camera or smartphone to record your experience and the colours, moods and sights of one of the world’s most magnificent cities.

Get some inspiration to get creative with your own snaps:

For more information and to join the conversation, go to the Free Walking Tours Facebook page – and invite a friend to join you.

What to wear and bring

You’ll be walking the streets of Cape Town, some of which are cobbled, so wear comfortable shoes. Bring a bottle of water, a hat and sunscreen, plus something warm to wear if there’s a chill in the air, and make sure your camera or mobile device is fully charged.