Local Experiences That Celebrate Our Diversity This Heritage Month

Local experiences
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By Jenna Berndt

Savour the heritage of our rainbow nation with this diverse range of local experiences and destinations, fresh from the multicultural melting pot of Mzansi.

Cook Cape Malay cuisine in the Bo-Kaap

Nowhere else on earth can you find the unique, sweet and savoury flavours and dishes that define Cape Malay cuisine. This uniquely South African style of cooking was born in the kitchens of the colourful homes of Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap neighbourhood. Join a local cooking class, where you can learn how to make dhaltjies, bobotie, samoosas and true Bo-Kaap koesisters – and then feast on the efforts of your labour. This is a must-do experience in the Mother City. Even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, are doing this on their visit to South Africa.

A visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum and the nearby District Six Museum is also highly recommended.

Step back in time on the Wild Coast

Journey back in time into the heartland of the isiXhosa culture along the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast. The tiny villages that dot the rugged coastline of Coffee Bay and surrounds still look much as they did decades ago. Traditional thatched rondavels overlook the sea, cows laze on the beach and the only signs of modernity are the spaza shops selling airtime.

Base yourself in Port Edward if you want a wider choice of accommodation with facilities. Port Edward is nestled on the border between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and is just a two-hour drive from King Shaka International Airport. The Wild Coast Sun has been a favourite with South African families for generations. There is also backpacker and simple but comfortable accommodation in Coffee Bay, if you’re looking for the authentic rural experience. 

Make the journey to Hole in the Wall, one of the most impressive landmarks on the South African coastline. Feast on a traditional isiXhosa meal in a local’s home to dive into the culture. The dining experience and tours can be booked with any of the accommodation establishments in Coffee Bay. 

Local experiences

Live La Dolce Vita in Cape Town

If your earliest memories are of nonna hand rolling pasta and pizza in the kitchen, or you simply want to join in the celebrations, make your way to the Italian Club of Cape Town for their inaugural Festa Italiana in Milnerton on 05 and 06 October 2019. The family-friendly weekend event will feature true Italian style cooking and tastings (wine and food), music, arts and crafts in a celebration of La Dolce Vita (the good life). Tickets available on Webtickets or at the door. 

Walk in the footsteps of warriors

Walk in the footsteps of the Zulu kings on guided tours in KwaZulu-Natal. The sunny province offers more than just year-round sunshine and warm ocean waters. It’s a veritable melting pot of cultures.

Visit the Nelson Mandela Capture Site near Howick (a cultural and historical exhibition that is situated at the site where Nelson Mandela was apprehended for his anti-Apartheid activism acts in August 1952) on the famous Midlands Meander, the Mahatma Gandhi settlement and more. The guided Inanda Heritage Trail visits Gandi’s Phoenix settlements as well as three others that shaped South African history. Call Durban Tourism on 031 366 7500 for a list of guides. 

Pep yourself up after a day of exploring with a hearty Durbs favourite – the bunny chow. It’s another unique South African favourite, found nowhere else than in Mzansi!

Sip rooibos tea in Clanwilliam

Another unique South African product, and one of Mzansi’s most famous exports, is rooibos tea. The distinctive yellow and green boxes are commonplace in our kitchen cupboards, whereas elsewhere in the world this tea is a treat – and comes at a premium price too.

Plan a visit to Clanwilliam in the Western Cape – the rooibos capital of the world. The newly opened House of Rooibos takes you through the history of rooibos and tea production, has a tea room offering a variety of rooibos infused beverages, meals and even sells skincare and medicinal products. It’s open Monday to Friday.

Local experiences

Unearth our shared origins

What better way to learn about our shared similarity and diversity than to journey back millions of years to where it all began.

“The Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is world famous as the site where humankind originated,” says Sue Garrett, General Manager of Marketing and Product at The Flight Centre Travel Group. “This is a must-do family experience. It’s just 50 kilometres from Johannesburg and is easily combined with a visit to Sun City or a bush break for a long weekend.”  

Experience the Soul of Soweto

Bustling Soweto is the number one Gauteng spot to explore not only the origins of our democracy, but also to learn about the cultural diversity of South Africa’s oldest and most historically-significant township. Join a local-led bike tour visiting all Soweto’s notable sights (like the famous Vilakazi Street).  Bungee jump off the Soweto Towers – or embark on any other of their hair-raising adventure activities (including abseiling, zip-lining and pendulum swinging). Afterwards, nip into Chaf Pozi, the tourist-favourite shisa nyama establishment at the base of the towers.  

When you’ve ticked all these off the list, one experience still remains – the braai in your backyard. Invite the neighbours round, crack open a cold one and enjoy what unites us all while celebrating our diversity!  

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