Virtual tour: A Western Cape escape

In a time when we all yearn for the day when we will finally get to explore our beautiful country again, the Western Cape's One Day campaign allows one to virtually explore parts of the province and to learn more about its history with the help of a professional and friendly tour guide - whom viewers also have the option of lending a little support.

Developed by Wesgro, the Western Cape's official tourism, trade and investment-promotion agency, the campaign is aimed at inspiring travellers to keep the province on their "some-day" list by showcasing its natural and cultural richness, while also supporting local tour guides who would otherwise have little to no income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It's simple. Just head over to YouTube and find the "Discover Cape Town and Western Cape" channel.

There, you will enjoy three videos (so far) through which you can explore parts of the Western Cape, including Bo-Kaap, the West Coast and the Garden Route, with more videos expected to be available in the coming weeks.

At the end of each tour, you can show your appreciation and give some real support to the guides via PayPal or Snapscan.

The Cape Malay Culture Virtual Tour experience

At the beginning of the tour, you are placed in the comfortable hands of tour guide Latifa Cozyn from Cut Above Tours, who is well informed and experienced in the Cape Malay culture.

The adventure begins in Bo-Kaap where you learn about one of the oldest buildings - a museum dating back to as early as the 1700s.

Taking a virtual walk through the streets of the area, you can enjoy the refreshing view of palm trees and colourful houses which serve as a reflection of the vibrant culture and colourful nature of Bo-Kaap locals.

With food being an important part of Cape Malay culture, it is only right to pay a virtual visit to one of the most iconic stores in the region. Atlas Spice Store, which has been around for over 70 years, is popular for its unique and fragrant spices.

The tour also grants you the opportunity to learn more about the Muslim faith and the country's history.

During a beautiful, scenic drive along the Atlantic seaboard, you stop to explore the shrine of a spiritual leader.

Afterwards, it's a trip to Kalk Bay, a place where people lived together in harmony during a time when most of SA lived apart.

Virtually driving through the leafy suburbs of Constantia, the tranquil road leads to the kramat of Sayed Mahmud shrine, which holds a special place in the hearts of many Muslims, as well as many spiritual tourists who visit the province.

While the tour would ordinarily end at Cozyn's home for a traditional Cape Malay meal, this is an experience you unfortunately have to postpone until one day when you can physically explore all that the Cape Malay culture has to offer.

The West Coast Virtual Tour experience

This tour allows you to enjoy some of the province's splendid natural attractions. Guided by the knowledgeable and energetic Jeremy Howard of Energy Tours, the virtual adventure begins at the entrance of the West Coast National Park, where you can take a virtual walk and enjoy the rich birdlife.

In the Postberg flower reserve section of the park, you can defy the law of the year's seasons by experiencing the breathtakingly beautiful flowers, which grow during the months of August and September.

Then it's on to Langebaan for a virtual walk on the beach, where you might be lucky to spot a whale or two in the water. Unfortunately, the variety of water activities offered here, including swimming, kayaking and kite surfing, are on hold.

While the six-minute video (done with the help of Google Street View) can't possibly cover every square kilometre of the West Coast, it is a worthwhile and informative travelling experience.

And, while the idea of exploring nature from the comfort of your couch may seem weird at first, it is something you'll be glad to have experienced.

You can find the videos on the "Discover Cape Town and Western Cape" YouTube channel.

The campaign also has a newly launched "Dreaming of One Day" podcast series.

The first podcast, Dreaming of One Day Horseback Riding in the Cape Winelands, takes listeners on an equine adventure in Stellenbosch.

Each new episode will visit somewhere in the Western Cape where listeners will go on a journey through the Cape Overberg, Cape West Coast, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Garden Route and Klein Karoo and Cape Karoo.

The podcasts are free to download and can be found at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, Deezer and Podchaser.


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