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EEating out in Soweto offers an authentic dining experience and a taste of township life where you will find a wonderful mix of restaurants, taverns, shebeens, roadside eateries and butcheries.
First-timers might wish to ease themselves into the social scene with a visit to Wandies Place in Dube. This tavern-style eatery was the first township restaurant to attract foreign visitors and it is now not so much a local hot spot as a tour bus destination. Service is super-friendly and there is a good selection of township cuisine, such as ting (fermented sorghum) and umleqwa chicken stew.
For a more sedate sit-down celebration, try the Jazz Maniacs restaurant at the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre on Walter Sisulu Memorial Square in Kliptown.
Here you will find modern reinterpretations of classic Soweto cuisine. The walls of the hotel are lined with mosaic renditions of Nelson Mandela and iconic Alf Khumalo photographs.
Sample home-made ginger beer, succulent oxtail with herbed dombolo dumplings, morogo wild (spinach), and the best chakalaka relish imaginable.
On Sundays there is an eat-as-much-as-you-like barbeque on the front porch accompanied by live jazz.
Another popular spot is Sakhumzi's, founded by Soweto resident Sakhumzi Maqubela in 2001. It's located in the historic Vilakazi Street, a must-stop on every tour itinerary as this was once home to former president Nelson Mandela. Here you can tuck into an African township buffet featuring specials like tripe and lamb stews.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Restaurants are listed under the links below.
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.
Things to do
Vilakazi Street, the Hector Pieterson Museum, the Orlando Cooling Towers, Nelson Mandela House Museum, Regina Mundi Church and the Maponya Mall
What to pack
Comfortable clothes, walking shoes, a hat (even in winter) and a camera!
Where to stay
There are numerous guest houses and B&Bs in Soweto, as well as the Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre in Kliptown. Or you could stay at the award-winning Mama Lolo’s guest house in Diepkloof Extension.