Deon Meyer’s imaginary crimes come to life with Cape Town tour

2016-11-16 20:22
At the top end of Long Street in downtown Cape Town is the St Martini Kirche, a Lutheran church. This is where Benny Griessel is called at 05:37 in the morning, the beginning of 13 long hours. (Deon Meyer)

At the top end of Long Street in downtown Cape Town is the St Martini Kirche, a Lutheran church. This is where Benny Griessel is called at 05:37 in the morning, the beginning of 13 long hours. (Deon Meyer)

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Cape Town - It's no longer necessary to just imagine detective inspector Bennie Griessel pounding the streets of Cape Town tracking down clues and chasing after killers.

South Africans and international visitors can now join a mystery tour to get into the head of famed local author Deon Meyer and his protagonists.

From next week, participants will be able to hop into a minibus for an audio-visual tour visiting sites from Meyer's books Thirteen Hours, Trackers, 7 Days, Cobra, and Icarus.

Just as with writing a book, the vision for the tour started with a small idea, a healthy dose of imagination, and a bit of physical exertion.

Dave van Asche, a managing director of a construction company, recalls relaxing with a Deon Meyer book in his Blouberg apartment in February.

"There was a sort of fight [in the book] quite close to where my apartment is," he told News24 on Wednesday.

"When you read a book, you get a picture, but I wanted to see what it looks like."


Van Asche made his way to Otto du Plessis drive to have a look at the fictitious murder scene in the sand dunes.

"It gave me insight into what Deon was trying to convey. I enjoyed it and wondered if people would like the same thing."

He emailed Meyer with his idea and the author really liked it.

While anyone in the city could freely visit the scenes from the book, the tour is said to offer insight into Meyer's thought processes, along with personal anecdotes.

In true Thirteen Hours style, the first part of the tour involves a chase from the bottom end of Cape Town to Lion's Head, and across the lower part of Table Mountain and the City Bowl suburbs.

Participants then follow the steps of a woman captured and taken to a warehouse in Observatory.

Van Asche's favourite part of the trip is visiting the coffee shop in Oranjezicht where Meyer's American tourist tries to get hold of a public phone while being hunted down.

She manages to duck out a back alley as a pack of men arrive at the front entrance.

"It is one of his exciting chases," teased Van Asche.

While being driven around, participants will listen to the relevant scenes from Meyer's audio books and see video footage from some places that don't allow everyday access.

These include private residences and the Salt River mortuary.

"I am sure not everybody would appreciate people knocking on the door and having access."

True fans who ace an on-tour quiz may walk away with a book signed by the acclaimed author.

Ten percent of the proceeds go to a trust in aid of disadvantaged children in Loxton, Karoo.

Meyer and one of his characters, Lemmer, take weekend retreats in that area.

Read more on:    deon meyer  |  cape town  |  books  |  tourism

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