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Cultural Tours

The Cape Town Jazz Safari

"Gritty authenticity" The New York Times

Includes: Rendezvous with Cape Town Musicians, dinner, drinks, transport.

Any seasoned traveller will tell you that to truly get to know the rhythm of a culture, you need to get to know the rhythms of its music. And in Cape Town, that means jazz.
Cape Jazz is a distinctive mix of western and African influences, with riffs borrowed from all the kindred ports of the world, and infused with the indominatable spirit of the Cape people. Forged in the townships in darker times, this captivating art-form has given expression to South Africa’s struggles and joys throughout the lean years and into the fat.

But, like jazz scenes everywhere, the jazz scene of the Cape tends to guard its secrets from newcomers. Finding the hot spots can take time and effort... unless a little Bird tells you where to look.

Featured in the UK Sunday Times, the Cape Argus, and Lonely Planet, our Cape Town Jazz Safari takes visitors right into the fabric of the city’s musical spirit, at the same time giving back to the local music scene. Join us on an intimate evening excursion into the living room of latter-day Cape jazz cats such as Mac McKenzie, Hilton Schilder and Robbie Jansen. Dinner, drinks, and exclusive performances by one of these virtuoso musicians will be followed by a taste of contemporary Cape Town sounds, as we venture out of the inner city to enjoy live jazz at a nightspot, or saunter across town for a nightcap at the home of a second musician.

The tour kicks off at 7pm at the Distrix Café. There can be no more fitting place to begin our jazz experience than here at the foot of District Six, where old-school greats such as Basil Coetzee and Abdullah Ibrahim gave a musical voice to a nation’s heartache and hope.
Under the accredited guidance of a local jazz aficionado, you will then enjoy privileged access to Abdullah Ibrahim’s music school, “M7”. A beautiful collection of black and white photos and an introductory talk will give you a feel for the city's distinguished jazz history.

Next we move to the home of a key master musician, such as Cape Town's composer laureate Mac McKenzie. Mac lives in Bridgetown, which was the first coloured township of Cape Town.

After Mac and his family have entertained us, it’s on to our last stop. On Mondays we will attend a local jam session, which typically involves a melange of cool jazz, bebop and Cape Town standards. On any other day, we visit a second musician such as local ivory-tickler Hilton Schilder for a final half-hour of ear-candy.

This is an opportunity to experience a rarefied side of Cape Town. The Jazz Safari puts you in the talented hands of those who make a living from conjuring the city’s soul. You won’t want to miss a beat.

Articles on Cape Town Jazz:
The Custodians of Cape Jazz
Mac McKenzie
Robbie Jansen
Hilton Schilder
Jazzing the 7 seas
One Jazz riff after another in Cape Town (New York Times)


Safari in Cape Town
Cape Town Jazz Tour