The Western Cape is a hugely diverse province, a melting pot of cultures and heritage, all of which have had an impact on our landscape. Few people, however, have left a bigger impression than former South African President Nelson Mandela, both in terms of the Western Cape and the country as a whole.
‘Tata’ (father) Madiba as he is affectionately known is largely considered as having been the patriarch of the ‘new’ South Africa. The Western Cape, of course, is where he took his last steps in his ‘long walk to freedom’ and you can retrace those steps when you visit us.
Robben Island Museum
Madiba spent 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island, which is located just under 7km from off the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town. His stay there has formed an important part of the narrative and it’s the perfect place to start learning of not just his life story, but his fellow political prisoners. Be inspired by stories of former prisoners as they guide you through the prison hallways and around the island, which includes a visit to the Lime Quarry and the house of another famous political prisoner Robert Sobukwe. This three to 5-hour excursion is a life changing experience.
Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront
Based at the iconic V&A Waterfront, Nobel Square is where the statues of Nobel Peace Prize winners Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk stand side by side. It’s a favourite photo spot for visitors and locals alike, while the ever-popular V&A Food Market is located a few feet away. After lunch, make sure you explore the Waterfront proper, which has more than 450 retail stores in the main centre and a further 150 in the Watershed market.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)
The newest jewel in the Mother City’s crown, after having officially opened its doors to the public in September 2017, the Zeitz Mocaa has quickly become a popular attraction to both locals and visitors alike, bringing plenty of foot traffic to the up-and-coming Silo District. Boasting the largest collection of African art on the continent and rival the likes of the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York and Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the museum itself is a work of art, having been constructed using the original grain silos.
Cape Town City Hall
A newly-freed Nelson Mandela made his first public speech from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall on the 11th of February 1990. The speech became a defining moment of his legacy and in tribute of this momentous event, on 18 July, 2018, a new larger than life Nelson Mandela statue will be erected in his honour in the very spot he delivered his speech. The Cape Town City Hall is a large Edwardian building located on the Grand Parade, which was where tens of thousands of people gathered to hear and see Mandela address the country.
Bree street restaurant meander
First there was Long Street with its bars and eateries, then there was Kloof Street with its trendy boutiques and quirky concept stores, but its clear that Bree Street has now taken over as the city's most vibrant street with its wide array of amazing restaurants and bars. From African delicacies to Euro-centric tapas, a stroll down this bustling street is bound to be a rewarding one.
Mandela Rhodes Place
The iconic Mandela Rhodes Place hotel is located in the heart of Cape Town’s cultural quarter, making it the perfect place to spend your first night exploring the great man’s journey. The hotel also offers guests a timeline, displaying the life of Mandela in 14 sections, while a number of abstract portraits of Nelson Mandela are displayed in the corridors.
Tour of Parliament
Enjoy a free tour of Parliament, where Nelson Mandela from the years 1994 to 1999 was the acting president of South Africa. Parliament located in the City Centre is open to the public, free of charge, and visitors can tour the floor where Mandela made historic speeches. There are also a number of free walking tours offered around the city’s that will provide you with a deeper understanding of Mandela as a man and leader.
Mandela Memorial Square, Stellenbosch
The Mandela Memorial Square in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands is home to one of the lesser-known statues of Madiba. The design consists of iron silhouettes of Mandela’s face applied to two sides of a wall. The eastern side also comprises a map of the eastern part of South Africa showing the places of importance in Mandela‘s life. The same applies to the western side of the wall (facing the town hall). A quote from Nelson Mandela’s first opening of parliament speech connects the wall with a bench on the southern side. The Mandela image and the bench are illuminated at night.
Lunch at Overture, Stellenbosch
The Cape Winelands is a world renowned destination for both food and wine. After visiting Memorial Square, stop for lunch at Based at Overture in Stellenbosch. Based at the Hidden Valley Wines in the iconic Cape Winelands, under the guidance of Chef Owner Bertus Basson, Overture is a favourite destination for its exemplary service and fine dining experience. Regularly placing amongst the top 10 venues in the country, it has been awarded three stars in the Rossouws Restaurant Guide for five years running.
Walking tour of Kayamandi
A walking tour of Kayamandi – which means “sweet home” in Xhosa – is part of Stellenbosch’s Route 360 cultural tourism initiative. Tours run Monday to Saturday, from 10am till 1pm, starting at Stellenbosch 360’s head office in town, from where you will walk to the tax rank to catch a ride in a taxi to the township. Considered the second oldest township in the country, Kayamandi is a place of great contrast, and the tour will illustrate this as you walk through the paved streets and brick houses, to the narrow alleys between the shacks. Meet and engage with locals before dining with them later in the evening.
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Dine with Locals in Kayamandi
There is no better way to get to know somebody than by breaking bread with them. Dining with locals provides a unique opportunity to experience the rich and cultural diversity of Stellenbosch community, Kayamandi. Enjoy traditional African cuisine paired with exceptional wines in the company of the locals. Your host will take you on a great storytelling journey, told with vivacity and humour, while touching on customs, traditions and township life. Experience true South African hospitality in their company and emerge richer for it, simply by sharing a meal.
Stay over Spier Hotel
Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch is the perfect stayover for families with the hotel pulling out all the stops necessary to ensure parents AND their kids have everything they need. The hotel – and greater estate – also enjoys strong ties to the outlying community. From social investment, outreach projects and upskilling of local staff, Spier invests heavily back into their work force and locals in the area. Staying here, you will quickly pick up on the sense of Ubuntu (humanity towards others), and it creates a wonderful atmosphere for both guests and staff at the estate.
Route: N1 | take exit 59 from N1 | R301
Drakenstein Correctional Centre
Take a scenic morning drive through to historic Paarl and visit the Drakenstein Correctional Centre where Nelson Mandela spent the last 14 months of his 27 years of imprisonment in a house on the property. Here, you will find a bronze statue of Nelson Mandela at the entrance of the prison, with a raised fist, signifying the freedom of a once oppressed country.
Franschhoek Wine Tram
Franschhoek Wine Tram recently launched their long-awaited, beautiful double-decker trams. Also added to the list of new additions are two new routes to choose from. The Orange Line departs on the tram bus first and includes the following wine estates: Noble Hill Wine Estate, Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Glen Carlou, Solms Delta Wine Estate, Vrede en Lust Estate and Plaisir de Merle, while the Purple Line departs on the tram first and showcases the western region of the Franschhoek Valley stopping at the following wine estates: Vrede en Lust Estate, Plaisir de Merle, Allée Bleue Wine Estate, Noble Hill Wine Estate, Babylonstoren, Backsberg and Glen Carlou. There is no better way to explore and taste this exquisite valley.
Lunch at Foliage
Foliage is a comfy, casual and a family friendly venue offering dishes with the freshest local ingredients. Chef Chris Erasmus is well-known for his foraging abilities and at Foliage he uses a variety of indigenous flora and fauna to create something quite incredible and unique. It’s the perfect venue for you and your family to relax and consider all you have seen and heard during your visit to the Western Cape.