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African Architecture & Design

January 9, 2020

At ROAR AFRICA we believe that one of the most important functions of travel is to help us understand the vast complexities and universalities of our ever-changing world. And so, when planning itineraries for those guests who wish to embark upon a wholly immersive experience in Africa, we have long incorporated city experiences that offer unique insights into the deep-rooted art, craft, and design traditions that exist in some of our favorite urban centers. As the only Africa travel specialist to offer an authentic “deep dive” into the multi-faceted cultural and design landscape of our continent, our itineraries are designed to celebrate the singular energy found in Africa’s food, fashion, art, culture, and design.

While the discipline of design may seem a relatively new notion for a young nation like South Africa, there is a rich tradition of art and craft interwoven into the country’s multicultural heritage that is both vibrant and dynamic. In fact, South Africa’s creative communities have championed art, design, and craft as a means to express and affect change and transformation.

Did you know, for example, that the city of Cape Town has hosted one of the world’s most enduring and diverse design conferences for a quarter of a century? Or that it blazed a trail as World Design Capital in 2014 and became the first African city to be named as an UNESCO City of Design in 2017, the same year that the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) opened its doors. 2018 saw the opening of another world-class art museum, the Norval Foundation. This together with many other exciting developments prompted my decision to curate an immersive experience that would showcase the creative trajectory of  South African cities. We showcase the depth and breadth of South Africa’s creative and cultural scene merged with unique insights into the historical, geographical and political factors that shaped the urban centers too. At ROAR AFRICA  we have our very own Architectural and Private Homes Tours, led by specialist guides handpicked because they add gravitas and insider knowledge to the idea of an African city.

For those interested in the urban design, architecture, and lifestyle of African cities, our Architectural Tour is designed to give historical, cultural and social insights as well as exclusive viewings of many of the city’s unique architectural buildings and residential properties.

This trip is led by an award-winning architect and urban planner with a gift for storytelling, who has a passion for a city that was founded in the same year as New York. Yet South Africa has a remarkably different and fascinating progression, so this excursion promises to be an experience you will never forget. From the first Dutch settlements in the 1700s, to the profound influence of British rule in the 1800s, the introduction of railways and a modern harbor, and the arrival of the modernist architectural movement in the city –  not to mention the large, fascist buildings that defined the apartheid era – this is an illuminating tour that will contextualize modern-day Cape Town for you like nothing else.

Our architectural tour can be paired with a Private Homes Tour – led by the former editor of ELLE Decoration South Africa – whose showstopper selection of architectural houses, personal spaces and secret gardens in the city offers an unseen glimpse into the coveted lifestyle of this incredible city. As always, this tour is crafted with an eye for detail and imbued by our love of a good story, ensuring that you will gain wonderful insights into the style choices, design trajectories and architectural aspirations of those who live here – many of whom are drawn from the worlds of design, fashion, music, art, and architecture. So whether it’s a contemporary home hand-built by its architect owner where the mountains meet the sea, a designer mountain retreat on the slopes of Table Mountain, a fashion duo’s dramatic rooftop eyrie in the city center, or a historical Cape Dutch home with designer African interiors – you will get the opportunity to take a peek inside some of Cape Town’s most incredible private homes.

For more information on our design tours in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, email welcome@roarafrica.com.

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