Guided Tours of Masiphumelele
If you’re interested in taking a tour then please contact Eric on 0027 (0)710 317 408.
Apart from promoting township life, the other purpose of this site is to encourage people with an interest to visit Masiphumelele Township for themselves. Such a tour can provide an insight into the way that many people in South Africa live their lives as well as offering support to this developing community.
Eric works a morning or afternoon shift most days as a Sharkspotter at Muizenberg or St James in False Bay, so why not meet him at the Sharkspotters look out point, learn something about Cape Town’s Great Whites and then head back to Masi for a compelling cultural experience. (For more info on Eric please see the ‘About‘ page)
An idea of what to expect from a tour of Masiphumelele
In 2010 I arrived in South Africa for the first time. Like many visitors, I was keen to experience as much of the country’s natural and cultural diversity as possible. I was therefore incredibly grateful for Eric’s offer to give me a guided tour of his home township, Masiphumelele. For me, this was not only the beginning of a great friendship with Eric and his family but also the first of many happy days spent in Masi.
Highlights of my time in Masiphumelele included eating at Nongoloza (see the eating page), visiting the primary school (see volunteering), attending a service at the Zion Church, street cricket, Saturday football, and the hospitality shown by Eric’s family and many other residents of the community.
In addition to showing you around, Eric can also give you his take on the great white sharks of False Bay and a fascinating insight into what it’s like to be a Xhosa man living and working in the new South Africa.
The rest of this page is devoted to a short virtual tour (mostly photos) of Masiphumelele. And if you’re interested in staying a little longer and helping out with some of the excellent community projects, why not take a look at the volunteering page.
Just before the virtual tour slideshow, a quick note on the safety of visiting Masiphumelele.
An Introduction To Township Life
Sometimes South Africa’s townships receive a bad press for being unsafe. My own view, garnered from numerous visits to Masiphumelele and long discussions with Eric, is that you should treat a visit to Masiphumelele with the respect and caution that you would when visiting any new community in the world.
I never felt unsafe in Masiphumelele and received an entirely positive welcome from everyone I met. There are a couple of things that I would recommend to visitors though:
- It certainly helps to visit with a local who can speak the local language and introduce you to others. For this reason I would always recommend meeting Eric or another resident of the township before your first visit to Masiphumelele.
- Remember that the vast majority of residents are good people. They are friendly, hospitable and genuinely pleased that you have taken the time to visit their neighbourhood.
- When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It’s an old saying but worth baring in mind. Again, if you’re with a local they can answer questions on local customs and etiquette if you’re unsure.
- Be sparing with the camera. It is fine to take pictures but maybe get to know the people first and ask before you shoot.
Why Visit Masiphumelele?
The truth is that Masiphumelele is a wonderful place where I met some of the kindest people and received only the finest hospitality that South Africa has to offer.