The Voice Map app is exactly what the name implies. Each walk you select and download becomes a fully comprehensive, talking tour guide on your smart phone or tablet.
Accurate maps and voice directions ensure you will not get lost but the content of the talks are what make Voice Map truly special.
What I loved about it:
It is so much more than what you would find in a guide book. Personal stories and reminiscences are seamlessly blended with facts, anecdotes and local knowledge, sometimes funny, occasionally sad, often inspiring, but never boring.
You are free to explore at your own pace as a friendly voice draws you in to local life and takes you beyond the few lines in the guide books.
You can stay is as long as you like anywhere on the route, or walk past parts that do not interest you as this clever app synchronises your location with the voice commentary.
I liked the fact that there are moments of no talking, so this app is nothing like the yapping tour guides who feel the need to kill the silence with mindless chatter and bombard you with tired sound bites in a bored monotone.
The maps and audio can be downloaded and used offline, so you don’t have to worry about your data getting chomped.
You can even read the text via the website by clicking on the circular satellite image icons located just below the map.
I also appreciate being able to refer back to the text or audio long after completing the walk. This is great for forgetful types like me, it makes it so easy not only to refresh my memory and fact check, but it allows me to relive my highlight moments of the experience.
Many cities all over the world have created walks and new ones are being added all the time. All countries and cities can be browsed on the website under the heading EXPLORE.
Selection is made easy as each walk has a picture, a brief synopsis, the length in km of the walk and the time duration of the voice narration. A little bit of information about the narrator is also given.
Cape Town presently has 34 walks.
7 are free and the other 27 ranges between ZAR 16 and ZAR 99.
Nothing over 6 US Dollars or 4 British pounds, small change for a unique experience
If you have not already clicked through to the website here are just of few of the wide variety of topics covered in the Cape Town area.
Walk the promenade in Seapoint, experience the awesomeness on the top of Table Mountain or discover the underground tunnels beneath the busy CBD.
Travel from Woodstock to Kenilworth by train with a local comedian giving a hilarious commentary on the local commute.
You can even enjoy a 7km bicycle tour from the V&A Waterfront to the Seapoint Promenade.
Because each story is done by a different narrator the content remains fresh and it is like meeting a new friend with each different walk.
Voice map has embraced authentic travel and made it easily accessible to the general public at a minimal cost. Locals are learning almost as much as the tourists and finding many more ways to enjoy their city and neighbourhoods.
My experience in the Cape Winelands at Spier Wine Estate
I walked 3, 8 km on a very hot day. The nature of the app allowed me to stop on 2 occasions for some shade and something cold to drink. Had I been on a more formal tour with a guide I would have dropped out after the first half hour.
I enjoyed the way the app allowed me to return to the areas that I really enjoyed and the commentary automatically refers to my physical location.
I kept returning to the incredible art installation near the hotel. At first you think you are merely walking through a series of pretty mosaic columns.
Then you start to see the hint of a picture. As you walk away from the columns the picture starts to emerge and it is both haunting and exquisite. It is Marco Cianfanelli’s rendition of Michelangelo’s “The Dying Slave”
225 000 pieces of mosaic were used in the creation of this piece.
Eagle Encounters are not part of the tour and require a ticket to enter. They do incredible work rehabilitating injured birds of prey. I love the owls, but more about them later
I was very impressed by the second half of the Spier tour which covered the behind the scenes side of the working farm.
The tree planting initiatives, the importance of the reintroduction of indigenous trees, and the Treepreneurs project gave me a new respect for the Spier brand.
My wow moment came when walking through the succulent section of the nursery which I loved as I grow them myself; I looked up and spotted 2 owls staring at me. They stayed there long enough for me to fumble for my camera, get a few shots, and call the others for a look.
Now, I am not giving away any more about this walk, download the app and do it yourself.
I am giving away FREE WALKS.
All you have to is click on this link and choose the walk that appeals to you.
You do need to own a smart phone or tablet and a set of earphones.
Enjoy your free adventure and please let me know how much you enjoyed it.
In case you get stuck claiming your free walk here are step by step instructions.
- When you click on the link you will be directed to a page where you can sign up to VoiceMap with an email address or Facebook account
- You will be directed to a page full of tours, with “Redeem” buttons
- Click Redeem on the tour of your choice
- You will be directed to a screen prompting you to install the app on your phone
- You can install the app by searching “VoiceMap” in either the Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the Apple Store (for iPhones and iPads), and selecting the app with VoiceMap’s headphones logo.
- Alternatively, you can open these links in your phone’s browser to go there directly. Android: bit.ly/getvoicemap | iPhone: bit.ly/voicemap
- Once you successfully downloaded the app and signed into VoiceMap on your phone, the same tour that you selected will be available to download free. (Instead of having a red price beside the walk, the tour they chose will have a green button saying Download.)