05 July 2012 by Kate Turkington

Hop on a bike

Soweto by saddle – it’s a fun, fascinating way to experience this vibrant township close up.

A friendly local gives the thumbs-up

You'll get a bit dusty and a bit sweaty but you'll have the ride of your life.

Soweto was once a symbol of apartheid oppression and racial division. Today it’s a vibrant place full of great tourist opportunities, and a fun, interesting way to see Soweto is from the saddle of a bike.

Away we go...

You’ll hop on your bike at Lebo's Backpackers (they do pick-ups and drop-offs from anywhere in Johannesburg) and then off you go.

What sort of tours does Soweto Bicycle Tours offer?

No Soweto tour is complete, however, without stopping off at another Soweto institution – a local shebeen (informal tavern).

If you just have time for a quick spin, but still want to take in some historical highlights such as the Hector Pieterson Memorial, which commemorates Hector Pieterson and other schoolchildren fatally shot during the 1976 student uprising, then opt for the 2-hour ride.

You’ll also stop off at the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in Vilikazi Street – the only street in the world where 2 Nobel laureates lived.

More time? Then take the 4-hour tour or the full-day tour and take in Meadowlands, 1 of Soweto’s oldest suburbs. Created in the 1950s for black people who had been forcibly removed from so-called ‘white’ areas, it played a vital role in the freedom struggle.

Even from a distance you won’t miss the huge 33-storey brightly painted Orlando cooling towers – another Soweto landmark. (If you’ve some energy and time left after your bicycle tour, go bungee jumping from them.)

Whichever you choose, no Soweto tour is complete, however, without stopping off at another Soweto institution – a local shebeen (informal tavern). Quaff traditional beer with the friendly locals (but be warned, it’s strong stuff) and eat kota, the local burger.

Category: Routes & Trails

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