Cycling Township Tour in Cape Town
Experience the lifestyle of the majority of South Africans on this interactive cultural Township Tour. Learn how to click like a Xhosa and join the Sangoma for a traditional ceremony.
Group SizeMin 1
All our tours are PRIVATE to ensure that you get the best experience, and also to limit the impact on the host community.
Price varies on sliding scale depending on the number of persons booked. For a single person, an additional supplement is charged and the price is discounted for 3 or more travelling together.
Transport to Masiphumelele may be provided at an extra cost per person or per group, from any accommodation in Cape Town or from the closest public transport station.
Community-based Bicycle Tours in Cape Town are a responsible take on township tours, providing tourists with many more opportunities to interact with the community than they would have from an air-conditioned bus. BEN facilitates the importation of discarded second hand bicycles to South Africa where they have helped to set up and provide ongoing support to locally owned bicycle workshops, training and employing members of the local community to renovate the bikes for the Community Bicycle Tours. As a result of this work, they have also been able to assist a local lady to set up a restaurant providing further income for the community.”
This tourism project started in 2002 in Masiphumelele has generated significant, sustainable benefits and has proven to provide real, lasting benefits for the local people.
Guests might have reservations about visiting an informal settlement and awkward at viewing people’s obvious poverty. The people of Masiphumelele welcome you and encourage tours to take place in their communities, as it is one way in which they have an opportunity to get involved in the Tourism sector. The tours are operated at a non profit basis and a fee goes directly to the people we visit and who make this tour possible. 10% of all tour proceeds go directly to Masicorp a non profit organisation based in Masiphumelele.
About this Operator... connect to PEOPLE, NATURE and LIFE...
If you are an active person who seeks a personalised quality experience, a greater understanding of our natural environment and genuine interactions with local people then these Experiences are designed for you!
They will broaden your horizons, encourage greater cultural sensitivity, and influence your empathy for nature conservation:
- LIFE: To expand people’s horizons, create growth by personal challenges and encourage an in-depth understanding of the world through hands-on travelling experiences.
- PEOPLE: To provide guests with meaningful and informative interactions with local people in a manner that brings mutual benefit and understanding
- NATURE: To create a deeper understanding of the natural environment by means of contributions towards scientific studies and grass-roots environmental projects.
The Operator's Responsibilities
Responsibility to the environment
- Use of recycled bicycles.
- Planting indigenous trees and vegetation rehabilitation on tour itineraries with the approval of relevant nature reserve officials, assisting travelers to offset the carbon footprint or ‘cost’ of traveling.
- Promoting and assisting programs that remove alien vegetation from natural habitats.
- Supporting local environmental organizations such as the ‘Biodiversity in Wine’ initiative when selecting the wine estates we visit.
- Groups are advised on sustainable seafood options to avoid eating endangered species, as prescribed by South African Sustainable Seafood Institute (SASSI)
- Encouraging minimal use of water
- Offering tours on bicycle to help reduce carbon emissions, being conscious of our energy use and recycling all office waste, where possible
Responsibility to society
- Encouraging genuine and real interactions between locals and tourists
- Respecting local laws and customs, bearing in mind the local population.
- Assisting disadvantaged individuals to become self-employed.
- Researching and advising our guests on the sustainable and ethical products they buy and consume.
- This operator supports the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation which seek to contribute towards eliminating poverty through original research and community engagement to develop and advance innovative approaches to strengthening livelihoods. Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation is a non-profit organisation and registered Section 21 (not-for-gain) company. You will have to opportunity to support this project when purchasing your trip (see below)
Responsibility to the economy
- Supporting locally-owned and run accommodation in preference to foreign-owned hotel chains
- Purchasing locally-made goods and sustainably harvested products, where possible
- Encouraging tourists to purchase genuine crafts from local suppliers
- Using local suppliers that practice responsible tourism policies
- We abide by the laws of the country by paying licenses, membership fees and taxes!
- All profits are generated back into the local economy
Responsibility to you
- Every precaution is taken on tour to ensure client’s safety
- We provide you with legally qualified tour leaders with appropriate experience to lead the designated trips
- All the vehicles used are roadworthy and have appropriate roadworthy certificates.
- All vehicles used for traveling purposes (excludes game vehicles) are fitted with seat belts.
- All drivers are suitably qualified with appropriate professional driver’s licenses
- We outsource certain activities to companies that are bona fide legal entities, and have suitably experienced and qualified tour guides to lead appropriate activities
- We go out of our way to do safety inspections on accommodation establishments prior to your arrival
What we Advise Clients to do
- Travel with an open mind: cultivate the habit of listening and observing, and discover the enrichment that comes from experiencing another way of life
- Avoid extravagant displays of wealth such as ostentatious jewellery and technological gadgetry. This can be an incitement to robbery, as well as accentuating the gap between rich and poor
- Please do not give anything to beggars or children. Many children in townships don’t get to eat balanced diets, so sweets are a bad idea! Rather give to a registered charity or organization to make sure that items get to the people most in need.
- Pick up your litter as you would at home: bottles, cans, plastic, cigarette butts. Apart from being unsightly, your rubbish can be deadly to wild animals
- Where possible, remove the wrapping of packaged goods before you leave on a trip: unwrap soaps and take bottles out of boxes
- Learning a little of the local language can help reduce barriers, take note of the dress codes and behavior of host community
BEN - Bicycling Empowerment Network South Africa
The Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) South Africa was established in Cape Town in 2002. The main mission of BEN is to address poverty and mobility through the promotion of the bicycle in all its forms. BEN imports used bicycles from overseas and distributes them to low income areas, trains recipients of the bikes in safety and maintenance, establishes Bicycle Empowerment Centre's (BEC's) and encourages cities to implement bicycle planning and infrastructure. BEN also assists the planning of events to help promote the use of the bicycle as a form of mobility - also known as active transport.
At BEN, we believe in the bicycle as a large part of the solution to mobility and poverty alleviation. Through the creation of 17 Bicycling Empowerment Centre's and the distribution of over 12000 new and used bikes, we are beginning to address job creation and access. Our training programs are ensuring that bike recipients are safe and in control of their bikes, mechanically and otherwise. The work we do in collaboration with the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane is beginning to see the start of environments that facilitate safe and secure bicycle travel. We trust this will continue long into the future, as we have not yet begun to make the difference required, and to tip the balance in favour of mass bicycle use, both in South Africa and beyond.
1. Import of bikes and establishment of Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC's)
The main aim of BEN is to address poverty alleviation and facilitate the accessing of opportunities through delivery of bicycles, imparting of skills and creation of employment. Low cost new and used bikes are imported from China and Europe respectively and Bicycle containerised workshops are set up in different areas where there is a great need for reliable but cost-effective transport. These are then stocked with these bikes, and tools, and the project commences with the training of the project team, preferably those from previously disadvantaged sectors. The team facilitates the operation of the project in its entirety, from setting up and running of the training courses, servicing of the bicycles and working together with schools, NGO's and health care groups to address the transport needs of both learners and teachers. The team members also visit other local projects such as community centres, sports facilities and places of employment where information about the program can be disseminated.
2. Lobbying and Advocacy for safe bike path networks
Working towards the implementation of bike lanes and paths and secure bike facilities is done in collaboration with the National Department of Transport (NDoT) through municipality substructures. This process is helped largely through the input of many BEN Board members. As a result of these efforts, various South African cities have indicated a commitment to re-examine the Bicycle Master Plans for bike paths in preparation for FIFA 2010, to be hosted by South Africa. The partnership with I-CE through their Bicycle Partnership Program assists this program.
3. Training and distribution in Schools, Corporate Organisations and NGO's
Training and distribution programs are conducted with many pilot schools and NGO's around the Cape and with a specific focus on the disadvantaged and their particular transport needs. A safe route's to school and work program is run in conjunction with the supply of new and second hand low cost bikes. The training ranges from one day to two-week programs. Survey forms are completed by the delegates to better determine their travel patterns and routes; the results of these surveys are fed back to the city authorities to help them better plan their traffic management and road planning. Included in this program is the project for healthcare workers in the townships and rural areas, whereby healthcare workers are mobilized with bicycles, training and back-up support to address their transportation needs.
4. Poverty Alleviation
The overall objective of poverty alleviation is built into each of the above projects. Low Cost Mobility for unemployed adults and youth targets groups of economically disadvantaged and is about facilitating availability of affordable means of transport to enable the groups access more opportunities for economic advancement and poverty alleviation. Training and job creation initiatives teach individuals to think creatively about jobs and entrepreneurial projects, linking the many uses of the bicycle to income generation activities. The project on bike lanes facilitates safe routes to schools/ work and also aims at facilitating safety of school children, pedestrians and commuters in general. The most affected by the lack of safety are the children of the poor who cannot afford own transport or public bus and have either to walk or cycle to school.
Following arrangements after booking, guests are met at the township entrance or at another pick up point and transferred to Masiphumelele and the BEN workshop from where we start the tour.
BEN is a non-profit organisation, which promotes the use of the bicycle in all of its forms to enhance low-cost, non-motorised, transport. BEN bicycles are second hand bicycles imported from Europe, fixed and repaired by BEN bike mechanics and then sold at affordable rate to people in the communities. The shopkeeper Phumlani has a vested interest in the BEN shop he runs, as he not only works there but also has ownership of the bicycle shop and thus has a future running his own small business. A local guide will take us round the township visiting interesting places and explaining some local Xhosa customs. We visit a local crèche where the teachers work under very difficult circumstances. Part of the tour proceeds go towards the betterment of their facilities. A highlight of the tour is to visit a Sangoma (traditional healer) who performs interactive dancing and drumming. For lunch we visit a local African restaurant or a local lady home who hosts the tourist groups in her home makes authentic African tea or lunch.
Please note that some attractions like the library and pre-school are CLOSED during the week-end and on school & public holidays.
All tours are on a PRIVATE basis and we guarantee departure even with one guest.
- Transport to and from accommodation
- Guided experience with township guide
- Sangoma (traditional healer) dancing and drumming
- Donation to Masicorp non profit
- Visit to Masivelani crèche (only available during the week)
- Gospel Church visit (on Sundays only)
- Visit crafters and local artists in community
- Lunch at Nongoloza’s or Nonni’s Restaurant or tea in an African home
- Hire of Old fashioned Dutch Bicycles
- International flight
- Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Dress code: It is advised to wear casual clothing and try to avoid excessive jewelery
- Please don't give sweets or money to the locals, rather donate to local NGO that helps with education and housing
- Please note: visit to the creche is on weekdays only and the visit to the church is on Sundays only
There are no extra accommodation options for this Experience. Please contact us for accommodation options before and after your trip
There are no optional activities features for this Experience. Please contact us if you would like us to enquire further
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