Tour operators are offering foreign tourists guided tours in black townships on the outskirts of Cape Town.

The tours, called ‘crawls’ by the operators, are aimed at showing tourists the other side of South African life far removed from the bright lights and luxurious hotels of the city.

Once known as no-go areas to foreign tourists, black townships on the outskirts of Cape Town are now on the tourist trail.

Tour operators Thandile and Laura Diniso know these townships from first-hand experience

The dwellings, often constructed from anything their owners could lay their hands on, stand in stark contrast to the modern South African city just a few kilometres (miles) away.

What these townships offer is the opportunity to see how the majority of black South Africans actually live.

The township of Langa is typical.

One of the experiences offered to tourists is a walk through various shebeens – the township equivalent of local taverns where they are offered various local brews and South African beers.

Local craft markets offer the chance to buy locally made goods and also provide a photo opportunity.

Knowledge of the area is essential for the tour guides.

“It was very interesting to see how the people live here. There is an enormous difference to Cape Town city. If you see the waterfront, there everything is clean and nice and rich. Here it is poor and people live in fear. It’s an amazing difference ”
SUPER CAPTION: Dorien Klingstein, German tourist

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“Very educational because in England there nothing like this and you only hear about it, you don’t see it so it has more impact when you see something like this. This is sort of a hands-on experience. You get to see everything and take it all in, rather than just reading about it. ”
SUPER CAPTION: Sarah Holledge, British tourist

SOUNDBITE: (English)
It’s been a really enjoyable experience but at the same time I suppose it’s been quite depressing. It still seems to me that South Africa is still two nations in one.”
SUPER CAPTION: Ed Launders, British tourist

The three-hour tour costs about 15 U-S dollars, but some would say offers some invaluable experience.

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