A country is best explored on foot, so pull on your most comfortable shoes and immerse yourself in the streets and trails of South Africa. Learn culture and history, or grab the opportunity to shop or meet the locals in a township. For a scenic touch, we threw in three multi-day “slack-packing” trails, and a running tour, too.
Here are 15 excellent walking tours in South Africa, from Cape Town to Durban, and beyond.
Voice Map: Cape Town, Johannesburg & Cape Winelands
Voice Map brings the stories and insights of locals into your ears. It helps you to discover a city by way of fascinating and moving stories. You can move on your own time. Simply download the sound clips and start walking. It’s an enlightening way to discover three of South Africa’s most popular tourist regions.
Coffee Beans Routes: Cape Town & Johannesburg
Specializing in Cape Town tours, but having branched out very successfully to include Johannesburg, these folks have won some prestige responsible tourism awards. Apart from the usual cultural and historic tours, you can also choose a fashion tour or a jazz themed night tour to give your holiday true character.
Footsteps to Freedom: Cape Town
Having a look at the human stories behind Cape Town’s scenic splendor, the personable guides will introduce travellers to the people and the stories that make Cape Town such a great city. Meet history and culture in the city or in Langa Township or get more active on a hiking or cycling tour.
Vamos: Cape Town
If you’re interested in the city’s townships specifically, then these guys will bring you up close and personal with the people and experiences found in between the shacks. Have a braai at Mzoli’s, walk the streets of Langa, and support a sustainable business that employs the local residents.
Run Cape Town
Prefer running to walking? Run Cape Town will have you running some of the city’s most scenic routes. And it doesn’t stop at scenic. A pub run in Newlands or a run in Gugulethu will mix things up and give you a reason to pack your trainers (takkies). If you’re here on holiday but also busy with a training program, then Run Cape Town is your answer.
Durban City Walking Tours
These tours let you learn about Durban’s very first railway and how the station buildings were transformed over the years. Gain insight into the massive Indian population in the city and admire the architecture. Learn the difference between Inyanga’s and Sangoma’s and visit the Traditional Zulu Muti Market. It’s a morning spent indulging in Durban’s oriental history.
Past Experiences: Johannesburg & Pretoria
Full time tour guides Jo and Tania know their city by heart and love its history. They are flexible with where you go and what you see, but it’s easy to make up your mind with the comprehensive list of tours on their website. Expect anything from a gold history tour through the financial district, to a shopping tour. The graffiti and public art tour comes highly recommended.
Main Street Walks, Johannesburg
Side step the tourist crowds to start a walking and public transport tour in Johannesburg’s up and coming Maboneng District in the east side of the CBD. Navigate a way within and around the city and gain direct access to the people and happenings of the community and creative projects.
Walk and Talk Johannesburg
Similar to Voice Map, Walk and Talk also arms visitors with a comprehensive map and an audio guide. Explore Sandton – Africa’s richest square mile – at your own pace and listen to commentary in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin. Locals aren’t forgotten, with commentary in isiZulu and Sesotho also available.
Ezethu Tours: Port Elizabeth
Learn the history of this important port city and how it came about – the struggles, the discoveries and the adventures – on a historical walking tour of Port Elizabeth. Get your entire history roundup of PE in only half a day. Places of interest include Piet Retief Memorial, Vuyisile Mini Square, Fort Frederick and South End Musuem.
GPS My City: Pretoria
Take a self-guided tour that focuses specifically on Pretoria – one of South Africa’s three capital cities and home to the Union Buildings, the official seat of the government. You’ll learn a lot about SA history at Strijdom Square, Chief Tshwane Statue, Church Square and Heroes’ Acre while two scenic parks will offer some shade and relaxation.
Southernmost Walk: Cape Agulhas
Be a bit adventurous and sign up for this five-day coastal hike at the southern tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Travelers will be rewarded with stunning views, beautiful beaches, pebble bays, rock pools, floral wonders and an interesting history of shipwrecks, fishermen and Khoikoi beach nomads. Accommodation is in three and four star lodges and your luggage will be transported for you. All you take with you is a day pack.
Chokka Trail: Rural Eastern Cape
This marvelously scenic slack packing trail will introduce you to the scenic surroundings of St Francis Bay, Port St Francis, Cape St Francis and Oyster Bay. These characterful fishing villages are linked with a rugged and startlingly beautiful coastline, sand dunes up to the horizon, protected fynbos and wetlands. Take four days out of your holiday and experience one of South Africa’s most beautiful and untouched regions.
Garden Route: Oystercatcher Trail
Discover the incredible scenery of the Garden Route on foot with either a professionally guided three- or five-day walking trip in the area. Your bags, accommodation and food are all taken care of and you can simply marvel at the beaches, caves, history of the hunter-gatherers, and shell middens left by the Khoisan people. Various options are available from self-catered to fully-catered.