La GuGu tours – an exciting new option to visit the townships and learn about their history and culture. La GuGu tours is a new tour being offered through City Sightseeing and I think an excellent way to meet locals, try some different foods and learn about our history. The difference with La GuGu tours compared to other City Sightseeing tours is that there is one main starting point and you are hosted throughout the whole tour. The first bus leaves at 9am and then every 20-30 minutes there after. I want to give some of the highlights of my experience to give you a feeling about a morning.
We made our way to the vibrant new City Sightseeing office at 81 Long street (Bus stop number 5 of the city sightseeing route) where we received several warm welcomes from the team. The new office funtions as an information centre, coffee shop, bathrooms, bus stop for the City Sightseeing routes and starting point for La GuGu tours. You know you are getting ready for a town ship tour when a bright red taxi pulls up and one of the hosts shouts from the vehicle Langa Langa Gugs! The traditional way that taxis attract their customers from street.
They have chosen the quantum vehicles for this service – very appropiate as this is the main transport service within the townships and visitors will get an immediate feel for how many locals travel to and from work each day. We left promptly at 9am and during the twenty minute journey to Langa, our guide Mike Zuma introduced us to La GuGu, explained what we can expect from the tour and gave us the history behind the development of the townships in relation to the Group Areas Act. If you have an interest in our politcal history, then this is a must for you.
After a brief pause at their Langa Tour office (more bathrooms and a great coffee shop), we set off on our walking tour with Yandisa Goniwe who lives in Langa and has been guiding for just over two years. We walked for about an hour with Yandisa, through the streets of Langa and he showed us where he grew up, pointed out some of the new developments in Langa and gave us the history of the area. I am particularly interested in politcal history and a highlight for me was the stop at the Langa Dom Pass Office, today a museum and site guide Thami Sijila explained the Dom Pass system and the court process for prosecuting the people who were arrested for not carrying their passes.
Once we had completed our walking tour, La GuGu vehicle collected us and we set off to Gugulethu with guide Mike Zuma. Mike made stops at the Amy Bhiel monument and the Gugulethu Seven monument, explained the stories and related them to Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These are two important stories from our political history.
We continued our drive through Gugulethu, stopped at Robert Sobukwe Square where Mike explained the Langa Pass March and headed towards our last stop Mzoli’s. Mzoli’s is the well-known vibrant meat restaurant, particularly busy over the weekends. At Mzoli’s you have a choice, you can either make a short visit and then head back to Cape Town, or stay and have lunch with a locals and return to Cape Town with a later vehicle.
We were back in Cape Town by 12.15pm. I found all our guides to be open, informative and happy to answer any questions and gave us the perfect insight into our political history. Langa residents are clearly used to visitors and we were greeted and made to feel welcome throughout the tour. This tour is for everyone, international and local visitors.
The price of the tour is only R290pp and thre is a discount if you book it online. www.citysighting.co.za