Posted on November 22nd, 2020
Honest Travel Experiences
Honest Travel Experiences is a local South African travel company that is all about making travel affordable so it can be accessible, promoting inclusivity and diversity in travel spaces.
The company was started by Franck, a man from the Congo. I’ll let Franck introduce himself “Hey ya’ll, Franck here. I was born in the Congo, but raised in many countries across the African continent. My first experience travelling across Africa began as a refugee at the age of 7. At the time, my father was a political journalist who had to flee the government in fear of execution. We travelled by bus and foot for many years to our final destination, South Africa. I have lived in Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. My love for storytelling grew overtime and as I explored South Africa I realised the diversity of this country and the story of it’s people wasn’t well represented in the tourism industry; my mission is to retell the true African story and change people’s view on the African continent through unique experiences that will connect travellers to the people of Africa. I believe I can use tourism as a catalyst for building communities and changing the narrative of this beautiful continent through a fair trade between visitors and communities.”
Honest Travel is all about diversity and inclusivity with a focus on rewriting the African story and reshaping how we do tourism in Africa. They specialise in local tours in both Johannesburg and Cape Town that are beautifully different to your standard tourist experience. Honest Travel Experiences is all about making travel affordable so it can be accessible. Their inner city tours range from food and art market tours in Joburg, neighborhood bike tours through Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea in Joburg and a District Six and Langa bike tour in Cape Town. For all their Cape Town and Joburg tours follow these links.
They have recently started multi-day tours on mini road trips across South Africa. Check out their website for upcoming trips.
I recently partnered up with Honest Travel Experiences for a trade exchange. This is where I receive one of their experiences in exchange for photographing the tour, promoting it on Instagram and blogging about the experience. While this is sponsored, all the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.
Honest Travel Experiences: District Six History and Coffee Tour
District Six was once a vibrant, multi-cultural, multi-racial community. During the apartheid years the residents of District Six were forcibly removed according to the Land Areas Act. This tour is all about learning the history of this area in Cape Town as well as experiencing the unique vibe of the surrounding area today.
The tour begins at Truth Coffee in Buitenkant Street. You’ll be treated to a coffee tasting at this steampunk-style café. During the COVID-19 pandemic our experience was altered to just be a coffee of your choice which was still absolutely wonderful. The coffee here is some of the best in Cape Town and you’ll love the steampunk, industrial vibe of the place.
District Six Museum
After you’re all fueled up on coffee you will walk down the street to the District Six museum. Unfortunately for us it was closed on the day we went, but I have been before and so can 10/10 recommend and rave about this incredible temple of history. Everything is so beautifully curated and there are such remarkable pieces of history that have been so well preserved. You guide will take you through the museum explaining the past events of the District Six area.
*The District Six museum has fallen on hard times following the COVID-19 lockdown. Any donations to keep this important piece of history going would be greatly appreciated by the museum. Have a look on their website to see how you can offer your support.
Walk Through District Six
Once you’ve learnt all about what happened in District Six during the apartheid regime and heard the stories of specific families you’ll take a walk through the area where this history took place. While parts of what was District 6 is now the CPUT campus, most of the area has been left derelict and desolate. Families from different races who had all been living together in a harmonious community were forcibly removed from their homes under the Land Areas Act during apartheid. Homes were destroyed, families scattered far and wide and the vibrant community broken. It is a tragic story and the part that really struck me was the awful wastefulness of it. The land was never repurposed or redeveloped. A horrible eyesore now exists as a reminder of the suffering so many people of colour had to endure.
After walking around the historical sites, it’s time for a break and a sweet treat at the lovely Charly’s Bakery. Charley’s Bakery is an institution of note and has been serving Cape Town delicious and beautiful cupcakes for the past 30 years. Established in 1989 by Charly and Jacqui, the business is family-centered and their heart for the surrounding community is evident. Their cupcakes are fun with designs ranging from mermaids and unicorns to florals and seasonal styles. They also make cakes for special occasions that are absolute works of art. We enjoyed our sweet treats and loved meeting the kind and friendly faces behind the business.
Local Street Art
The District Six/ Zonnebloem area is rich in beautiful street art. So following your sweet treat you’ll have a walk through the artistic streets before heading back to Truth Coffee to end off the tour.
There’s something really special about a walking tour where you get to really see a place and feel its heartbeat. I absolutely loved exploring the District Six area, learning more about the history of the place and meeting its people.
There was a beautiful moment that we experienced that I think so encapsulates the beauty of this kind of local-centered tourism. We were standing on a street corner in the heart of what was once District Six. Our group was Amy and I, two white girls, our guide Shai, an isiXhosa black man, another girl on the tour who was Zulu and black. We were all chatting about what we had learnt on the tour and just feeling the heartbreak of the families that had been impacted. A young isiXhosa black guy from Umtata who was studying at CPUT walked past and upon hearing our chats asked if he could join in the conversation. We then bumped into a Mr Brown, a Malay coloured man who works at the District Six museum and was one of the people impacted by the forcible removals in District 6. A multi-racial group of South Africans all standing on a street corner in District Six having important conversations about the past of our country. It really struck me as a very special moment, one that gave me so much hope for the people of our country, hope that the deep-rooted segregation that still lives within us can be healed, reconciliation can happen. And this is a part of what it can look like. Experiences like this Honest Travel Experiences District Six tour has the power to bring people together, to retell the African story and bring about hope for a better future for everyone.
I absolutely loved my experience with Honest Travel and would highly recommend their tours to international visitors and local explorers alike. You can book the tour on their website.