The Real City Tour
Discover the essence of Africa... Daily Departures
The Shebeen Tour
Come share real African hospitality... Daily Departures
Nelson Mandela Bay was formerly known as Port Elizabeth, and is situated on the Garden Route. Hosting excellent Blue Flag beaches, attractive architecture and interesting British as well as Xhosa heritage. it is a ‘must see’ inclusion on any visit to South Africa. Nelson Mandela Bay offers the perfect conditions to explore and understand contemporary Black culture, with 75% of its 1.4 million residents being Xhosa speaking, proud and hospitable.
The townships of Port Elizabeth played a pivotal role during the anti-apartheid struggle years and it was in recognition of this that out of 800 applications, this was the city nominated by Nelson Mandela to carry his name. It also has the honour of being the first to appoint a black mayor.
Calabash Tours was started in 1997 and was created to cater for tourists who wanted to experience true urban Africa where we could offer them the opportunity to visit townships and meet the locals. Our company is unusual in its approach to unlocking parts of the country often made inaccessible by ethical and safety concerns, and pre conceived ideas.
Steeped in responsible tourism and pro-poor tourism thinking, our ground breaking approach allows visitors to access, understand and appreciate the social history of the people, their day to day experiences of being black South Africans during apartheid, as well as during our emergence as a democracy. Our experiences are real, authentic, and ethical. Currently our township visits are the only tours that are accredited by Fair Trade Tourism South Africa. This guarantees the visitor that communities benefit, are involved in decision making, and are more than happy to welcome you to their communities.
Calabash Tours has also extended its tours to East London, where similar township experiences are offered. Being closer to the rural heart of the Eastern Cape, we also offer insightful visits to rural villages in the Eastern Cape, where our diverse and fascinating heritage can be accessed in a community beneficial way.
Calabash Tours is owned and operated by a young, dynamic team, who share a vision of tourism being a powerful development tool, while balancing the social needs of the poor with the desire by our visitors to have fun, to learn, and to engage with the South African people in an ethical way.
We hope you find the information we have included helpful for organizing your holiday of a lifetime. If you have any queries that are not covered here, please contact us and we will be happy to help at any time.