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MMany visitors of Soweto are astounded by the vibe and the friendliness that they experience in this suburb of Johannesburg. From the sounds of children playing to the hypnotic beat of kwaito music (local hip hop) and passing taxis, you’ll be immersed in all that it is to be a real Sowetan.
Enjoy a kota (quarter loaf of bread stuffed with meat and fried chips) at the local spaza shop (informal tuckshop) or head down the street for some shisa nyama (barbeque).
NNo place gives you a better opportunity to experience Soweto, its people, the different neighbourhoods and its history up close and personal like Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.
Soweto Bicycle Tours
TThe owner of the tour company, known simply as Lebo, first plunged into tourism in the early 2000s when he was selling crafts at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto. He then started inviting some of the travellers he met to his home to experience another side of Soweto, outside of viewing the area from a bus window, and that’s how the little house he grew up in became the Soweto Backpackers.
Soweto Bicycle Tours, a home-grown initiative of Soweto Backpackers, will take you on a ground-level tour of an iconic area of Johannesburg, a place Nelson Mandela once called home.
DDepending on which tour you choose, you can cycle through Meadowlands, historically known for the forced removals from the vibrant and racially mixed Sophiatown in the 1950s.
Cycle through historical landmarks of the 1976 student uprisings and visit the memorial site of Hector Pieterson. You will also cycle down Vilakazi Street where Nelson Mandela used to live and where Archbishop Desmond Tutu has a home.
TThroughout the tour you will also get an opportunity to have a "taste of Soweto" by stopping at different food stalls and a shebeen (pub) along the route, enjoying popular township snacks, food and drinks. The tour will end with traditional beer tasting along with storytelling on African customs and traditions.
There is also a three-hour tour of Kliptown, a section of Soweto where the Freedom Charter - a historic document outlining South Africa after apartheid - was signed in 1955. This document became the foundation of South Africa’s constitution, one of the most progressive in the world.
Not too keen on cycling? You have the option of a walking or tuk-tuk tour as well.
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Wits Art Museum – part of the University of the Witwatersrand – houses an African art collection that was started in the 1920s and includes masks, photographs, paintings and more.
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There are many places to eat in Soweto from formal restaurants to more informal taverns and shebeens. There’s lots to experience in Soweto, so include a meal at one of the more popular restaurants as part of your tour itinerary.