The township experience is becoming popular with tourists to Durban, which was evident at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 welcome party.
Delegates from Asia, Europe and the US got a taste of the township lifestyle at Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi shortly after arriving in the city. This is the first time a welcome party was held in eKasi since it started 36 years ago.
In getting a taste of this unique lifestyle experience through immersive tours, museums and its African cuisine, international travellers also get to mingle with the locals, where they learn to bead and dance to local sounds at contemporary lounges.
And Umlazi, Kwamashu, Inanda and Chesterville are just some of the townships that have created insightful tours to appease this growing appetite in the tourism sector.
Voted one of the best 207 restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Traveller in 2016, Max’s Lifestyle has attracted some big names including actor Common, rapper TI and the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Owner Max Mqadi emphasised the importance of supporting township tourism:
“Township tourism educates travellers on the history and culture of a place. Many influential South African leaders come from the township and there are many stories to be told.
“Many people have the perception that townships are unsafe. This is not true. We have implemented various safety measures to ensure that everyone has a good time without having to worry about their security. Locals are always at hand to welcome travellers with open arms,” he said.
Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, said in his keynote speech at the launch of this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba that travellers wanted experiential and authentic travel.
“Travellers wanted meaningful experiences, to meet real people in their homes and their communities and experience local traditions and customs.
“This kind of tourism generates real tourism benefits. The unique blend of culture, heritage, nature-based, rural and urban experiences make Africa a rich and varied all year destination,” he said.