Discover the Cities of Southern Africa with Our Urban Escapes
Travellers and tourists may descend on the shores of Southern Africa for wildlife and wilderness but it can often be that our cities pack a surprising enchantment for our visitors too. After being in the travel industry as long as we have, we at Scintilla know that a big part of the experience of a city is the local showing you around.
We know the side of the city you won’t find by yourself – the hipster cafes, the secret beaches, the alleys with the coolest street art and the trendy underground galleries. We’ll help you tap into aspects of the city you’d never find on your own, introduce you to the local characters and take you on tours that are expertly curated, creating a spark that can fire up a love for our cities.
While there are a number of great cities to see in Southern Africa, including Johannesburg, Windhoek, Maputo, Gaborone, and Harare to name a few, Southern Africa’s most famous city is undoubtedly Cape Town – known for its art, cultures, cuisines and landscapes, crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park. To bring the city to life, and to show you the full majesty of Cape Town, our Scintilla product specialists have hand-picked a range of day tours in the Cape, carefully researched, curated, designed and hosted by locals. Working with only the best expert guides and on-the-ground specialists, our urban escapes and activities go beyond the usual day tours, and offer a deeper look into the local way of life.
So, with excellent guides at the ready – full of stories and character – allow us to introduce you to our favourite Cape Town day trips, which can be tailored to your liking and specific interests.
1. Cape Highlights
See the crème de la crème of what the Cape has to offer encapsulated in this tour. Cape Town is a city with incredible coastal roads. Begin at the Atlantic Seaboard following the promenade and chase the coast all the way up to Hout Bay village and harbour, where the beauty of this special pocket of the Cape will draw you in, heart first. Continue on through the oscillating Chapmans Peak Drive, South Africa’s most beautiful road and continue all the way to Cape Point – untouched stretches of natural beauty that are steeped in the history of African exploration and the beginning of trade in these parts. Enjoy the beaches, Victorian architecture and penguins of Simons Town, a quaint fishing village and naval base, and finally wash the experience down in a divergent leafy-green setting: Constantia, where Cape Dutch buildings meet vineyards and your lips meet some of South Africa’s finest wines.
2. Mandela’s Journey From Prisoner to President
It was a long walk to freedom for South Africa’s biggest hero but it was a quick skip for him to enter into the hearts of every South African once he was freed. Join us and learn about the grappling path that Madiba walked, leaving a legacy that changed a nation. From the cold steel bars that befriended him during his long imprisonment on Robben Island, to the historic buildings, churches and squares in Cape Town CBD where Mandela rose to presidency. You will see it all, walk where he walked and understand from his perspective how the grave horizon of South Africa seemed impossible to change, at first. Join us on a walking tour that will reveal the apartheid struggle and the effects it had on the country, explore the sites where slowly, colonialism was weakened and how it broke down miraculously, giving way to our proud Rainbow Nation that stands today.
3. Love South Africa – Community Tour
Experience a different side of South Africa and get a glimpse into the community projects that are working to help a range of social problems which are a reality of this poverty-stricken, yet beautiful land. Visit the sprawling townships around Cape Town, and explore at least three of the social development projects being funded through our local community development partner, Uthando.
It’s uplifting to see inspirational solutions made to counter the issues faced in marginalised and impoverished communities. This is not a tourist site but rather a portal of understanding, awareness and a touch point to meet and connect with incredible locals that come from these areas. Experience how these transformational projects have changed lives in the most uplifting way and walk away with your faith restored in humanity. Community projects of ballet, art, education, music, crafting, farming and more, elevate the community in these challenged areas and give hope to the young generation. You can connect with locals in a way that will give meaning to your trip and touch your heart, by joining a Love South Africa tour. In doing so, you will directly contribute to the ongoing projects in these communities and will leave inspired by the actions these selfless teams are doing to help individuals less fortunate than ourselves.
4. Cycle Constantia- a Hidden Jewel
Explore Constantia Valley, a green oasis nestled beneath the mountains where the Dutch governor Simon van der Stel started the wine industry of South Africa as far back as the 17th Century. Begin at the oldest wine farm in the country: Groot Constantia Estate where you’ll taste a selection of award-winning wines in a beautifully restored Cape Dutch-style manor. Cycle between the charming estates, descending into cellars, winding through vineyards and developing a personal relationship with the varieties of grapes that are still effervescing on your tastebuds. Continue to cycle through the suburbia of Constantia viewing some outstanding Cape Dutch architecture, leafy streets and lesser-explored dirt tracks.
5. Flavours of Cape Town
How do you eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time. Seeing a whole city and everything it offers can be an overwhelming process, where to begin!? This experience takes you on a tantalising journey that allows you to learn about the culture of Cape Town, one delicious bite at a time. Walk through the epicentres of Cape Town’s culinary evolution, allowing your senses to experience what the city’s melting pot is cooking up. You will meet the passionate makers that add flavour to the city bowl by infusing their historic backgrounds with a modern touch. Walk through Bo-Kaap and central Cape Town getting your bearings while finding the hottest food stops, restaurants and bars in this tasty city bowl.
6. Art in the City
Cape Town has an incredible art scene beckoning curious eyes and open minds. The Zeitz MOCAA, an iconic feature of the cityscape, is an intoxicating art museum built in a historic grain silo – making it a unique piece of art itself. Crawl through the Zeitz MOCAA like an ant in an anthill and investigate all the curious levels of art on display. Beautifully curated, in this aesthetic building, you’ll see collections that reveal the soul of African art. The tour doesn’t stop there, course through the contemporary art hub of Cape Town: Woodstock. An eclectic and artsy neighbourhood full of street art, local crafts, second-hand boutiques and interesting sights. Learn about the difficult history of this area and see how it has evolved into what it is today – unique, rough around the edges and most certainly full of character.
7. Walk Bo-Kaap with a Local
You may have heard of the colourful houses of Bo-Kaap, one of the oldest suburbs in South Africa. A true mixture of cultures was brought into the area during the Dutch Colonisation. The streets are as intertwined with history as they are with colour. Meander along the cobblestoned lanes and see the authentic side of this quirky neighbourhood. Go deeper and learn about the mosque built there, housing a Quran hand-written by a political prisoner from a faraway land. Drink South African teas and eat local treats, and enjoy the Cape Malay flavours and smells from a renowned spice shop in the area. The tour ends in a live heritage museum telling tales of Bo-Kaap and revealing the ongoing upliftment projects for those in need, in the area too.
Book an Urban Escape with Scintilla
Ready for your urban adventure in Southern Africa? Start planning your trip by getting in touch with our expert travel team, who will help you curate your perfect trip.
We’re based in Southern Africa and have first-hand knowledge of the experiences that await our travellers.
All the experiences and destinations we recommend support their communities and environment.
Our goal is to connect curious-minded travellers to the essence of the place they’re visiting.
We specialise in showing our travellers how to discover unique, locally-infused experiences.
Our bespoke journeys feature stylish, owner-run properties in exceptional locations.
Our consultants are widely travelled and vastly experienced, with expert knowledge of Southern Africa.