Cycling with AWOLtours

Cycling with AWOLtours

Oh well, here’s another blog post that is long overdue. This was SO much fun!! My Dad’s comment was: yes we stayed in beautiful luxury lodges but cycling in Masiphumelele was the best experience from the entire holiday.

Cycling with a guide through a township is really a responsible take on township tourism in South Africa. I have a huge problem with driving in a vehicle and just taking pictures from behind your window. Cycling with a guide who lives in the area, gives you the opportunity to be part of the community for just a couple of hours and interact with people in the street, the kids who walk to school and the ladies doing the laundry.

Vivian, our guide for the morning, met us just outside Masi on a parking lot, about 40 minutes drive from Cape Town (and 7 minutes from Noordhoek where we stayed). From there she guided us to the bicycle shop where we all got our ‘OV fietsen ( = bikes). The boys each got a mountain bike and for Rosie they’d organized a GREAT kiddie’s seat. She was comfortable from the first moment and I could see she was already having so much fun.

Our first stop was a creche. OMW!! The kids went totally CRAZY! They danced and sang for us and didn’t want to let us go. It was incredible to see that with the few facilities they have, they do so much. Part of the tour fee goes towards the creche you visit which is great to know. It is always better to support in this way, instead of giving hand-outs to people directly. Give responsibly!

Creche in Masi

Creche in Masi

We continued our tour and cycled very relaxed to our next stop. Vivian took us to the local library and community center.

Masi 2Then we had to park our bikes and continued walking through the ‘informal’ part of the township. We zigzagged through a labyrinth of small pathways to end up in a kind of community church. Here we would meet Vivian’s mom and sister who both are Sangoma’s. A Sangoma is a traditional healer in Xhosa culture. To become a Sangoma takes years of apprenticeship.

We finished our tour at the local lunch spot, Nongoloza’s with a typical South African lunch: Pap & Vleis. Even my Mom enjoyed not having cutlery.. (really.. first time ever…haha!!)

If you like to learn more about the bicycle township project of AWOLtours you can read up on in it here.

By booking a tour you really support the entire community, a true example of responsible tourism in a super fun way!