MapMyWay – explore Cape Town like a local

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Do you want to get to know Cape Town like a Capetonian? Cliffordene Norton chats to Philip Todres from MapMyWay about the vibrant happenings that the Mother City has to offer.

Photo: Pixabay.com

Please tell us more about MapMyWay.

Back in 1989, MapMyWay simply provided the visitor with reliable information regarding special fields of interest. This came in the form of free printed maps, such as the Arts + Crafts Map, which showed people interested in the arts where to find museums, galleries and related places of interest.

The 2020 edition of the Arts + Crafts Map will be the 32nd edition. The word “map” is very important – it tells you that it will show you the way to your chosen destination.

From this, we developed the MapMyWay website to make a multiplicity of information about Cape Town and surrounds available to the visitor. The site focuses on the three most crucial questions the visitor asks (and that visitor could be from Paris, France, or Parys, Free State – ie local or from abroad):

  • What is there to see? 
  • Why would I want to visit that place – why is it special? 
  • Where do I find these places?

What services does MapMyWay offer consumers?

The idea is to provide sufficient information so that visitors can make their own choices. But, confronted by the wide selection, we try to help visitors make informed choices by creating “Curated Routes”.

For example, with Cape Town Tourism, we have developed the Khayelitsha Map, which has four Curated Routes, each developed by a person who knows the area and speaks with authority and authenticity.

Khayelitsha Restaurants, Cafes and Nightlife Route, curated by Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena:

Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena is the founder and creative director of 4Roomed eKasi Culture, which has just been named one of the world’s best restaurants of 2019 by Besha Rodell, in a list compiled for the first time ever in a partnership between two prestigious global magazines – Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure.

Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena (Photo: Sankoela [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

A dental technologist by profession, after participating in MasterChef South Africa, she swapped her lab coat for an apron to follow her passion for food, art and home decor. This prestigious award is certainly a huge step for Abigail in achieving her mission to get Khayelitsha and other townships onto the tourism map in a bid to improve the socio-economic challenges facing residents, while preaching the benefits of traditional foods with a healthier twist, through the company’s CSR project on backyard gardening.

Khayelitsha Accommodation Route, curated by Maria Maile:

Maria Maile was born and raised in Graceland, Khayelitsha, but lived in many areas of Cape Town before being able to buy her own house. Her working career has taken her from being a chef at the University of Cape Town to setting up various small businesses with like-minded women in her community.

It was during this later stage that she was exposed to tourism in the township, and she opened her home to tourists for accommodation. In 1998, she was sponsored by the British Council to attend a tourism course at a local technicon, allowing her experience and passion for tourism to flourish and help her push through the hard times.

Khayelitsha Arts, Culture & Shopping Route, curated by Juma Mkwela:

Juma Mkwela, chief executive officer and co-founder of Khayelitsha Art Hub, has been an artist his whole life, but he became active in the Cape Town art movement in 2009 when he began painting murals to bring about social change. He’s had experience running artist residency programmes, the Word of Art gallery as well as a successful art and cultural tour company, Township Art Tours.

He’s a social entrepreneur, having started and worked with many social art programmes, like Jullard Creations, an art programme for children; Write on Africa, a mural project across Africa; and Colour Ikamva, a programme for painting murals in underprivileged schools. Khayelitsha Art Hub is Juma’s culmination of a long career of artistry, entrepreneurship and social change.

Khayelitsha Adventure & Activities Route, curated by Buntu Matole:  

Buntu Matole has lived most of his life in Khayelitsha, and, through his love and passion for sports, has travelled countrywide, representing his school, community club and province, to promote positive change for his community.

One such organisation is LoveLife Youth Centre, where he is a peer educator. Buntu is passionate about being an entrepreneur, and after many years of exploring different fields, he furthered his studies in entrepreneurship and co-founded ABCD Concepts and Sporting Code.

  • The Khayelitsha Curated Routes look at a particular area. 

On the other hand, the Iziko Museum Route – curated by Emma Bedford, previously of the Iziko South African National Galery and now with Aspire Art Auctions – focuses on the various museums under the Iziko Museums of South Africa umbrella, and sets them out on a logical route, with concise information about each location on the route.

If you have a particular route that you would like to promote, please get in touch with us, and we’d be happy to consider adding it to those that we have on offer.

2020 Arts + Crafts Map (Photo: provided)

What does the process entail for consumers? In other words, what do they have to do from their side?

Visitors can pick up printed maps for free from visitor information centres, which include Cape Town International Airport, or from locations on the maps. The easiest way is to go to the MapMyWay website.

On the home page, the news blogs allow you to catch up on what’s happening in the Mother City and surrounds. You can view a selection of our printed maps and see the Curated Routes we have developed to date.

When was this service started, and what inspired it?

The printed maps started in 1989 with the Arts + Crafts Map. The maps became available on the internet in the 1990s. It was only from 2010 that we began to realise that our extensive database could be used more constructively.

With the City of Cape Town, we had established the Cape Town Green Map, which was part of Green Goal 2010, the award-winning environmental programme of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Cape Town Green Map was both a printed map and a very interactive website. The website has a very active news blog to encourage people to view green as an informed lifestyle choice.

This inspired us to see MapMyWay provide information to help people make informed choices with regard to what is happening in and around Cape Town.

What do the MapMyWay routes offer in terms of transport and types of activities?

The Cape Town Green Cycle Map specifically looks at cycling in and around Cape Town. And the options range from commuter routes to recreational routes and off-road routes. The news blogs on MapMyWay cover what’s happening in the visual arts and  performing arts, as well as sports, films, festivals and special events. Accommodation is generally not our field of interest.

Do you offer these services just for Cape Town, or have you extended to other parts of the country?

Cape Town and surrounds have been our focus to date – but watch this space!

Photo: Pixabay.com

What is the most interesting request you’ve received from a client?

Often, a request relates to a map that might be out of print, but which someone has held on to, and they now want to know whether it’s still current and available. An example is the Darwin Trail, which is used each year by the natural science department students of Stellenbosch University. We are requested to give permission for the department to run off copies for students. Or being asked to use content for academic research – the Pink Map was an important resource for a doctoral thesis.

Photo: Pixabay.com

Any tips for potential visitors to this beautiful country?

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! And, hopefully, MapMyWay will help you make informed choices and make it a particularly memorable stay.

Buro: MvH
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