New Brighton, Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth): Township Tour Review

New Brighton & Others, Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth)
Eastern Cape Province

Operator: Calabash Tours
Township based? No
Will pick you up? Yes
Cost per person: R300 (avg. excl. tip)
Departs from: NMMM (Port Elizabeth)
Duration: 3 hours – evening
Sites visited: Red Location, Ramaphosa, Kwamagxaki, Kwazakhele, New Brighton & others (depending on tour)
SA Blog recommends? In a heartbeat!

The Calabash evening tour – a sojourn to a few of the shebeens (informal pubs) in Port Elizabeth’s townships – is one of three that the tour company offers.

(See full review below.)

Booking Information
Tel: +27 (0) 41 585 6162, Fax: +27 (0) 41 585 0985, Mobile: +27 (0) 84 552 4414




Tour guide(s): Nelson, Mongezi, Lunga (co-owners of Calabash with Paul and Thandi)
Tips accepted? Yes
Tip range: 10% of the tour fee

The Calabash evening township tour – a sojourn to a few of the shebeens (informal pubs) in Port Elizabeth’s townships – is one of three that the tour company offers. The other two are a “real city” tour, which takes a journey through the political, social and economic history of Port Elizabeth (one of the key centers of the greater anti-aparthied struggle), and an “Addo” tour, which travels to the world-famous Addo Elephant National Park.

Calabash is a Fair Trade-certified tour operator, meaning that joining them for any one of these excursions helps promote socially-responsible tourism. As an “alternative” evening out in PE, however, the shebeen tour doubtless provides the most excitement.

This tour begins at the pick-up point in Port Elizabeth – either Calabash’s offices or your accommodation. The guide then takes you through a social history of the townships, covering their origin as well as the current situation for those who live there. Calabash works to develop an understanding of the townships among city visitors, so they do not just look on the tour as a “poverty safari”.

The tour then heads straight for a source of liquid refreshment in PE’s dark and smokey (but also quite safe, with your guide) outlying areas, such as Jeya Jazz Corner in New Brighton. There, the music is groovin’, the locals are sippin’, and the newcomers are welcome. After tossing one or two back at Jeya’s, you can proceed to another part of town, or just order another round. Dinner is included, and the evening lasts as long as your stamina! Groups of more than ten are treated to a live cultural performance.

Note: Booking with Calabash at least one week in advance is advised.