Townships and stuff

Cape Town Travel Blog

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The township "beer club"

Hi, guys,


Get comfortable; there’s a lot to report!


This morning I put on my “tourist hat” and went on a township tour. Our first stop was the township “brewery”: a dingy dilapidated shack that locals meet in regularly to drink beer. Here, beer comes in buckets (literally). One was passed around and some of us had a sip it was the best beer I have ever tasted in my life; no joke! It was less bitter and more milky and cider-like than most beers, so maybe that’s why I liked it.


Our next stop was a “witch doctor”.

A guy in a township "hostel" - four families were staying in this room
He looked nothing like one although, to be fair, I don’t know what I was expecting. His shop was dark (there was no electric) and covered in dead and dried plants and animals. The sign outside the shop read “LOCAL CHEMIST”.


We were offered a free consultation, but I didn’t get one. Someone else volunteered, and the “witch doctor” promptly put on a hat (some kind of furry dead animal with a tail), threw a scarf over his left shoulder, and smacked his patient three times with what looked like a bouquet of chicken feathers! Very bizarre.


After his patient got a diagnosis, we drove around some other townships. There were townships for black people, and townships for coloured people (who are different from black people). To get an idea of what the townships are like, all you have to do is picture the slums you see on TV. Most “buildings” were made of corrugated iron, were the size of a regular kitchen, and were slapped together not unlike a pyramid of playing cards.

Some goats having a walk about town
One of the houses were visited was supplying electric to the surrounding shacks and they were linked with wires hanging outside loosely.


There was nothing funny about the shack we visited, but what was funny was that it was home to a DVD player and the most awesome stereo system I’ve ever seen! The speakers looked like they’d come from Bang and Olufsen; they were slim, shiny poles that radiated sound. When we left, we heard the music booming from down the street.


We stopped at a child care centre that the hostel I’m staying at helped fund, and after that, the tour was over.


I had the choice to go to Robben Island afterwards, but I decided not to since I’m meeting my Kumuka tour group in a few hours.


It’s a crying shame I’m missing Robben Island, since the weather is stunning now: blue skies, puffy clouds, and for the first time in two days I can see the top of Table Mountain.

The chemist!
I would race up Table Mountain now, but the weather here seems similar to Melbourne’s: unpredictable. One minute it’s pouring, and the next it’s brilliantly sunny.


It doesn’t matter, since I’ll be back in December. I hope by then I’ll be a little more seasoned with solo travel. My first few tentative steps from the Backpack hostel were pretty slow. I was terrified, to be honest; probably because I’ve heard all the horror stories about African cities, like people chopping your arm off so they can have your watch, etc. That said, a lot of the stories I heard are about Johannesburg and Nairobi. Cape Town is relatively safe. I just feel I should be careful since I’m little, female and travelling solo.


Solo travel does have its perks: I can do whatever I want! This afternoon, since I didn’t go to Robben Island, I had a few hours to spare so I visited a market on Long Street.

One of the townships
I still had the jitters, so I got a shock when I was suddenly drenched in water a freak gust of wind blew against a tarp and stagnant water sitting in the tarp was poured onto my head! Now I’m convinced I’m going to get Bilharzia. (Just kidding!)


The wind soon dried me out and I found a travel agent where I booked a flight from Maun (Botswana) to Cape Town (South Africa) I’ll be volunteering for a crocodile research project in Botswana later, and I’ll need to get back to Cape Town in time for my flight back to Australia.


For now, I have plenty of adventures to look forward to. And I’m really thirsty so I think I will keep walking down Long Street to find a drink. The two nice drinks I’ve had here have both been banana milkshakes I will never get sick of those; I was telling an English guy at the hostel about how excited I was to be drinking banana milkshakes since bananas in Melbourne have been about AU$10 per kilo for a while now! It’s been so long since I’ve had a banana! Anyway, I’ll go now and have a drink that is not banana related. Actually, I can’t promise anything!

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Compared to Long Street, the V&A Waterfront area is a completely different side of Cape Town, figuratively and literally. It’s a gigantic shopping mall with absolutely everything in it. After meeting my Kumuka tour group, a few of us walked from the meeting place at Seapoint to the Waterfront. It’s amazing how much safer walking in a group feels to walking alone! We spent the evening at the V&A Waterfront and I caught a cab back to Long Street (the others were staying at Seapoint). I shared the taxi with a Swedish couple who didn’t pay their share of the taxi... but, it was better than getting a taxi on my own, I guess. The next morning I left the Backpack hostel and met the Kumuka tour group at Seapoint at 8:30am.

The township beer club
The township "beer club"
A guy in a township hostel - fou…
A guy in a township "hostel" - fo…
Some goats having a walk about town
Some goats having a walk about town
The chemist!
The chemist!
One of the townships
One of the townships
Cape Town
photo by: v10