Cape Town is one most beautiful cities in the world. Which means that people go back there again and again. Once you’ve done the main sights you want to get under the skin of a place a little more – start learning a bit more about it. What better way to start than with a class? There are, of course, plenty of more detailed courses for those who want to study in depth, but if you are looking for a taster, a way to learn a little more about a fascinating culture while having some fun, try one of these half-day or one day courses.
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They say they don't know what started the street wire phenomenon, but I remember back in the 1980s, people in Kwazulu-Natal complaining bitterly that the phone lines kept being stolen for their lovely wire! The creativity was astounding. Wire art, from furniture to toys, jewellery and fine art has become big business. Streetwires is a community project in Cape Town providing employment and training for over 100 people, and also offering thoroughly entertaining courses for tourists who wish to spend the day trying to make something for themselves.
Find the true rhythm of African life with Andulela Tours who run all sorts of specialist township tours. On their drumming tours they may take you to have your hair braided in the local hairdresser, for a tour of the ‘spaza’ (informal) stores and a story-telling session at the local primary school before you settle down to learn the basics of drumming. The Jazz safaris are cool evening affairs in smoky backroom joints, where you hear best of township music and get a chance to hang with the musicians.
3. Photography Tours
Any photographer knows that it can get incredibly frustrating trying to get good photos on a normal tour. Not only is the lighting often wrong in the middle of the day, but other people wander into shot and they get frustrated waiting while you clamber up a hill or wait for a goat to wander across your frame to compose the perfect shot. Whether you are a National Geographic professional or a complete rookie who wants to learn how to learn how to use your new toy in inspirational surroundings, the answer is specialist photographic tours. Several companies, including Photography Tours, Photo Tours and The Cape Photo Co, offer photo safaris with or without courses, taking you out at the best times of day, to perfect locations.
4. Wine Tours, Tastings and Courses
Really learning about wine takes years, but making a start is a lot of fun. The Cape Wine Academy is a professional school, but offers some day courses, tastings and lectures for visitors. The other option is to do a tour of the many vineyards who offer tastings - preferably in the company of an expert and with a designated driver. A number of tour operators offer winelands tours but relatively few offer the added opportunity to train your palette. Tsiba Tsiba Tours & Travel run private and small group wine tasting tours. Andulela run specialist tours with the added option of being able to try blending your own wine. New Fusion Tours do a two-day tour of brandy distilleries involving tasting some of South Africa's 50 local brandies.