Langa, Cape Flats
Once you’ve booked your Cape Flats accommodation explore our destination pages below for info on attractions and what to do in the Cape Flats .
A large area of wind-blown, flat land, covered predominantly by sand, lies to the north of Cape Town, known merely as the Cape Flats.
Described fairly accurately as the ‘dumping ground of apartheid’ it was here that thousands of ‘non-white’ households were forced to move as a result of the Group Areas Act, and today it is home to over a million people who manage to eke out an existence in a combination of townships and informal settlements. Despite its origins, and the harsh conditions under which people still live, taking into account the present government’s housing initiatives, the area is totally unique and has emerged as a vibrant and culturally diverse part of the city that stands in strong contrast to the largely ‘white’ suburbs of Cape Town.
Many visitors’ first impression of the mother city is along the N2, lined with tin and wood shacks that smack of poverty and little access to facilities.
Even the country’s successful bid for the 2010 Soccer World Cup did not see these shacks vanish. According to the city’s mayor, it will take 30 years to deal with the upgrading of informal settlements and the city already has a housing backlog of 400 000 units.
Cape Flats, Cape Town
Yet a visit through the townships of Langa, Gugulethu. Khayelitsha, Cross Roads, Mitchell’s Plain and Manenberg is one of the most revealing and enriching things you can do whilst in Cape Town – for better or worse this area is considered the birthplace of Cape Town’s soul and art, crafts, music and entrepreneurship abound in a collective show of making the best of a bad situation.
Add to this the pervasive ‘Cape sense of humour’ – the ability of people who live on the Flats to see the funny side of life – despite the odds, and you will have a better understanding of how the people of South Africa actually live. Yet, despite its association with flat sandy plains, the Cape Flats is also an extensive wetland and home to unique strandveld vegetation that has come under extreme urbanisation pressure.
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