Did you know?
The mural on Soweto's Orlando Towers was hand-painted and took 6 months to complete.
This is definitely one of the most exciting ways to see South Africa's biggest and most famous townships. Based around the Orlando Towers, part of the old Orlando Power Station and a major Soweto attraction, outdoor adventure activities are fast changing the way visitors experience this already vibrant place.
For starters, you now have the most awesome view of Soweto from the top of the towers. Then, of course, there's the adrenaline rush; never before could you enjoy such heart-pumping adventures in a genuine township setting.
A Soweto adventure experience includes the bungee jump, a tower swing (the world's first between two cooling towers), an internal tower swing and base jumping, all off the top of the west tower, some 100m up.
Once you're secured in your harness, an open-air lift transports you along the outside of the tower to a platform, three metres from the top. A quick walk along the floating staircase takes you to the tower's rim and to either the sky-bridge (between the two towers) for the bungee or the platform for the swing.
And then...you jump! The Soweto Bungee Jump sees you falling 33 storeys down, and the Power Swing offers a 40m freefall before the swing cables kick in. The ominously named Abyss, another world-first, is similar to the Power Swing but sees you jumping inside the tower, swinging across the width of its base. There's also a viewing platform for the slightly less adventurous.
The Orlando Towers played a significant role in Soweto's history. To mark this, the west tower has been painted to reflect the famous sons and daughters of Soweto as well as traditional township scenes. It's believed to be the biggest mural in South Africa and adds a creative edge to this historic landmark, while providing a great backdrop to your plunge to the bottom.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Orlando Towers Adventure Centre
Tel: +27 (0)12 345 5114
How to get here
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities to OR Tambo International Airport. If you're driving, from Durban take the N3 highway to Johannesburg, and from Cape Town, the N1. From Johannesburg, take the N1 south towards Bloemfontein. Take the M68 Soweto off-ramp, following the signs to the Orlando Towers.
Best time to visit
Soweto is an all-year-round destination due to its moderate climate. Winter (May to August) days are mild, but nights are cold. Summer days (October to February) usually bring afternoon thunderstorms.
Tours to do
Evening shebeen (tavern) tours; half-day and full-day township tours; Nelson Mandela house tour; Hector Pietersen Memorial tour.
What will it cost
Bungee jump, R480; power swing and internal swing, R360; abseil, R360; viewing platform, R60.
Length of stay
Half-day to full day.
What to pack
Plenty of sunscreen, a hat and lots of courage
Where to stay
For something a little different, try a township homestay or book in to one of the many charming B&Bs in the area.
What to eat
Traditional African cuisine at venues across the township, corn on the cob straight off the fire from street vendors.
Tour de Soweto cycle race in August; Soweto Wine Festival in September; Soweto Festival in September; Soweto Food Festival in October; Soweto Marathon in November.