Your guide to an inspired trip from Madiba to Mzansi

Madiba loved tourism with all her heart and believed that tourism was a sector that had the potential to improve people’s lives. In his memoirs, he wrote about the freedom he felt exploring nature and swimming in streams as he grew up in Qunu. At times, the beauty of South Africa’s natural landscape and its interactions with South Africans of diverse cultures provided respite from the struggles of colonial oppression.

Here are five ways to travel to South Africa with Madiba in mind:

Stay in the townships for the real experience

Madiba drew a lot of inspiration from the townships’ culture and lifestyle and connected with the townships of SA by participating in local activities including boxing and cross-country running.

His legacy is an inspiration to many who wish to walk in his footsteps, eat what he ate, and socialize where he did. For a Mabiba-inspired journey, you must stay in the townships for an authentic experience, similar to how he would have lived on famed Vilakazi Street Orlando West, Soweto. It is the only street in the world to have hosted two Nobel laureates – Madiba and the late Desmond Tutu.

Tshepo Matlou, Head of Communications and Marketing at online booking platform Jurni, said: “Madiba’s legacy and love for his then-community transformed Vilakazi Street into a thriving business district. , including thriving restaurants and accommodations. The lifestyle element in the area is fantastic as people from all over want to experience the township that inspired Mandela and Tutu. But this is just one example of what the townships have to offer Authenticity is a value you can expect when booking holidays in Mzansi townships as each has its own story to tell.”


While traditional South African cuisine or ukutja kwethu kwasekhaya (homemade food) was Madiba’s favourite, the former president had an adventurous palate. Local dishes like samp and beans (umngqusho), chicken and dombolo are said to be what he enjoyed the most. And when he felt adventurous, he would ask for amasi malva pudding, rice pudding or fishcakes and poached eggs. Consider taking a local food tour or researching restaurants that specialize in these foods.

Insights Restaurant at Sanctuary Mandela – Nelson Mandela’s former presidential residence turned boutique hotel – serves delicious dishes cooked by his former personal chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya. She creates Madiba’s favorite dishes for the public, from the very home she cooked for him for 20 years. These dishes include Umsila Wenkomo (Oxtail), Shrimp Curry, Kingklip Chowder and Peri-Peri Chicken.


Across South Africa there are various places that capture the spirit of Mandela. In Sandton, the large bronze statue ‘Dancing Madiba’ lights up Nelson Mandela Square. In Howick, Durban, the iconic Mandela Capture installation is photographed by tourists from all over the world.

“International travelers often want a Mandela-related experience,” notes Sandra Kneubuhler, district manager for Radisson Hotel Group in South Africa. “And South Africa is rich in artistic and architectural discoveries. At our hotels, we often recommend that visitors take a street art tour of the streets of Maboneng, visit Vilakazi Street in Soweto, and take advantage of the morning to stroll through the many art galleries dotted around the Cape Town’s CBD or take a trip to Robben Island, which can be viewed from the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront. There are no shortage of ways to celebrate Mandela and follow in his footsteps in South Africa. »


South Africa is home to some of the most famous safaris in the world. The Kruger National is the second oldest game reserve in Africa. Affectionately known as ‘The Park’, Kruger is home to a greater variety of large mammals (147 species) than any other game reserve in Africa. Nelson Mandela himself kicked off his 80th birthday celebrations in 1998 by throwing a party for children in Kruger Park.

If you want to explore the magic of Kruger on your own, the famous Kruger Gate Hotel, located in the Greater Kruger Conservancy, is the perfect way to access the park in minutes, any time of the day. The hotel also offers great all-day package options that combine safari experiences with a stay that immerses guests in pristine wilderness where large herds and powerful predators roam free.


A real way to immerse yourself in a new city is to mingle with its inhabitants. Walking tours, outdoor activities and cooking classes give travelers the opportunity to experience the friendliness that South Africans are famous for. Airbnb Experiences are local-lived experiences so anyone can book and participate. They are a great way to explore the range of cultures in South Africa. Consider new experiences like architectural sunset tours of Pretoria, Cape Malay or African food tours and full-day African print clothing design classes.

As you travel through Mzansi this year, consider these words from Madiba’s 1995 speech, where he said, “Our natural beauty provides only a fitting setting for our country’s most precious asset: its people. Our nation is made up of warm and generous people. Its wide variety of culture and heritage, once exploited to divide our people, has been transformed by them into a source of strength and wealth in all walks of life.

Comments are closed.