Captivating stories and intriguing tours

We have reached the final stretch of 2023. To celebrate the arrival of the festive season, LocalPlaces presents enthralling stories and tours – for both Cape Town and Johannesburg.


New newsletter format
Welcome to our new newsletter format, which we will publish monthly as a blog and share with our readers here on Whatsapp, and on our website. We will publish this same newsletter one last time on Mailchimp as an email to our database. But we have found that the world has changed, and email newsletters are not read any longer.


Walk around the Alfred Basin on our IkapaPlaces Welcome Cape Town Walking Tour. 

NEW! Daily welcome tours
At LocalPlaces, we have introduced two new, SHORT, daily walking tours. One for Cape Town and one for Johannesburg. These are available as open/public tours and can be booked at an attractive per person rate. Subject to availability as we will sometimes have clashes with private tours. Booking 24 hours in advance is therefore essential.

Our Welcome Cape Town walking tour, daily from 5-7pm, involves ambling around the city’s first habour, the Alfred Basin in the V&A Waterfront. It unpacks the astonishing history of how Cape Town came into being. Read more here:

Our Welcome Joburg walking tour, daily from 4-6pm, involves a walk along pedestriansed Main Street, from Gandhi Square to the Magistrates Court. Focusing on the gold rush and the formation of Johannesburg as the City of Gold. Read more here:

Our Welcome Tours are available at R325 per person. It is not only something that you could recommend to international visitors, but a brilliant activity to enjoy with your friends and family during the holidays.


Our Understanding Joburg Walking Tour, covering the astonishing Marshalltown, is the most popular JoburgPlaces tour by far.

Getting to understand the cities
In both cities, we are also offering a longer walker tour, focusing on getting to know and understand the city. These are available for private group bookings, and occasionally on Saturday mornings as open tours.

Our Understanding Cape Town Tour, covers the city’s entire history from 1000 years ago till today. It involves a leisurely walk from the Waterfront to the Company’s Garden and is simply a must-do experience for anyone visiting this beautiful city with astonishing history. Read more here:

Our Understanding Joburg Tour involves exploring Marshalltown and plotting the 7-phases of Joburg’s development. It is an essential tour to do for anyone visiting or living in Johannesburg. Read more here:


Our JoburgPlaces Understanding Soweto Tours saw an enormous increase in bookings during 2023.

A gazillion great tours
Don’t forget that we offer a gazillion other walking tours. As well as special interest tours, most of which involve driving in comfort to explore the wider city regions. In Cape Town these include tours such as Fantastic Foodie, Viewpoints & Watering Holes, Peninsula Overview, False Bay Villages and Winelands. In Johannesburg these are comprised of tours such as Fantastic Foodie, Viewpoints & Watering Holes, Joburg Overview and Understanding Soweto.

Read the detailed descriptions of the tours on our website:


This astonishing Maboneng penthouse will be the venue for a private JoburgPlaces storytelling dinner this week. 

Scrumptious Storytelling Dinners
While we no longer operate any of our own venues, bars or restaurants, we are still able to host you for fantastic storytelling lunches or dinners. This is only available for private group bookings. In Johannesburg, we are hosting one such dinner this week in a spectacular penthouse in Maboneng. In Cape Town, we continue to host dinners at the exquisite Seven Colours Eatery at Battery Park in the Waterfront.


Charlie Moyo is a legendary storyteller around Johannesburg, including Soweto. 

This time, we are including a couple of intriguing stories, giving you a taste of what you would hear and experience with us:

Cape Town history is complicated, contested and intriguing.

The Cape Pre-1652
Did you know? Cape Town (and therefore South Africa) has a long, complex, and contested history that predates the much-quoted date of 1652.

In the 1400s it was the Portuguese who established shipping routes for trade to the East. One can write many posts about their attempts to trade or collect refreshments here, but it ended in a devastating battle with the Khoi people, in which Captain Almeida and 64 men died. Consequently, European ships mostly avoided the Cape for the next 150 years.

When Britian and the Netherlands began to dominate the shipping routes in the 1600s, their need for a halfway stop increased. For a long time, they used Robben Island for this purpose. Passing ship crews hunted seals and literally herded penguins onto their boats. They also collected penguin eggs. But the Dutch eventually introduced Dassies to the island which overgrazed the landscape completely, wiping out the ecology in many ways. In 1601, an English ship captain left convicts with sheep on the island. Their mission: fatten the sheep for passing ships. In 1607 a Dutch ship dropped sheep again.

Then, in 1613, the British kidnapped a Khoi person, Coree, from the Cape mainland and took him to England. He returned a year later to act as a Khoi interpreter and trade agent, but by 1620 Dutch shipmen killed him when he refused to barter cattle with them. Before that, in 1616, Britian had also dropped 10 convicts on the Cape mainland, led by John Crosse, a convicted highway man. However, they soon fled to Robben Island to escape the Khoi.

In 1631, British ship captain Johan Hall, took another Khoi man, Autshumato (who became known as Herry the Strandloper), to Java in the East Indies. Herry returned to Robben Island where he and 20 other men acted as agents for passing British and Dutch ships.

Then in 1638 passing Dutch ships attempted to plant coconuts on Robben Island. I guess these tropical trees never survived in the harsh, stormy Cape weather!

Bottom line: the history of the Cape is not like you were told. There is much more to it. Competition to control the shipping routes were fierce, and the local people of the Cape got drawn into the ongoing battle.


A landmark Victorian building still stands proudly in the Fashion District, Joburg inner-city.

Joburg the Victorian shantytown
Did you know? The first Johannesburg that was built was the Victorian shanty town. A mining town with corrugated iron shacks, and eventually buildings with brookie-lace balconies and corrugated iron roofs. Showing off the latest technologies of the industrial revolution.

After gold was discovered in 1886, Joburg grew rapidly with mostly English-speaking migrants arriving here via Kimberley and Cape Town. They came from the British colonies all over the world, as well as from the USA. Eight years later, 80 000 migrants lived in a city called Johannesburg, trapped in the Dutch speaking Boer republic. A mixture of English, Boers, Zulu mine workers and local Tswana and Sotho people.

Since then, Joburg got rebuilt six times!


It took a massive storm and a consequent insurance claim to cause the building of a harbour for Cape Town. 

A storm and an insurance claim
Did you know? The Cape became a British Colony in 1806 as Britain was desperate to control the shipping and trade routes from Europe to the East (India & China). Until then, Cape Town had no natural harbour. Ships dropped their anchors in Table Bay and used smaller boats to transport people and goods to and from the beaches.

However, a massive storm hit Table Bay in 1858 and an entire fleet of British ships, moored in the bay, was wiped out. The insurer, Lloyds of London, decreed that no ships would in future be insured if they moored in Table Bay during winter months. This caused a massive conundrum for Britian. Without insurance their ships could not stop over at Cape Town. Meaning their strategic trade route outpost would become obsolete.

It was then that Queen Victoria sent her son Alfred to start the process of excavating a harbour. Prince Alfred kickstarted construction in 1860 and returned to Cape Town a decade later, in 1870 to inaugurate the harbour (today known as the Alfred Basin at the V&A Waterfront).

While the harbour was built to provide safe ‘parking’ space for ships, its construction was fortuitous and just at the right time. By 1870 the 2nd Industrial Revolution hit the world – and out of that came the Scramble for Africa to get access to natural resources.

Without the habour first being built because of an insurance claim, Britian would never have been able to expand so fast into Africa. By the time diamonds and gold were discovered, ships could easily moor in the harbour. By the time of the Anglo-Boer War, navy ships could offload soldiers and ammunitions in their thousands and tonnes.


 Joburg today is still boastking some impressive early 20th century architecture. 

London of Africa
Did you know? Joburg was once known as the London of Africa, or the Empire City. Rebuilt after the devastating Anglo-Boer War with splendorous Edwardian Architecture and some monumental buildings. Did you know that most of the colonial city was demolished too, to make way for new buildings? In fact Joburg was rebuilt 6 times in its short history!


Explore the Bo-Kaap on our IkapaPlaces Fantastic Foodie or Mesmerizing Midtown tours.

Hosting you
Whether it is for a tour, dinner, city immersion or event, be in touch with LocalPlaces – JoburgPlaces & IkapaPlaces, as we would love to host you.

Email us on

WhatsApp us on 082 894 5216

Find everything about what we do on


Thank you to our many wonderful clients who have toured with us and attended our storytelling dinners, city immersions and events during 2023. We are hoping to still be hosting many of you during the festive season and throughout 2024!

Don’t forget that we offer an amazing LocalPlaces membership package which gives you vouchers to several tours during the next year. It can be shared with friends and family and gifted in part of full as the ideal Christmas, festive, birthday or corporate gift. Read more here:


We’d love to receive your reviews of our tours. 

Review us
Some of our tours are now also available to book via Tripadvisor and Viator. This is especially useful to international guests. In an effort to raise our profile on these platforms, we invite you to post a review to any tours you have attended with us. Find the links here:

Welcome Joburg walking tour:

Understanding Joburg (Astonishing Marshalltown) walking tour:

Understanding Soweto tour:

Welcome Cape Town walking tour:

Understanding Cape Town walking tour:




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *