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OOn ITV’s ‘South Africa with Gregg Wallace’ episode 5, which aired on 2nd February 2021, Gregg is transported by tuk tuk around the colourful, vibrant township of Soweto located just outside of Johannesburg. Once home of both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, Gregg immerses himself in this energetic community, dishing up lunch in the school canteen and learning the traditional gum boot dance! Catch up on the ITV Hub here.

“Did you know the bustling metropolis of Soweto is the same size as Liverpool?!”

South African Tourism,
Soweto, Johannesburg

OOn this episode, Gregg arrives into Johannesburg, known as the City of Gold or Jozy, before heading to Soweto; a township known for its rich history, vibrant culture and dynamic attitude and an absolute must-visit when staying in the city of Jo'burg. Some would say that to learn about a destination, it’s best to jump in at the deep end first, so Gregg heads to the Orlando Towers; an abandoned power station now converted into an adrenaline junkie’s dream – take the lift up, and bungee jump your way back down! The power station towers over Soweto at 100m high and offers panoramic views of the township below, showing the scale of this vibrant city. Not one for heights, Gregg politely declines the jump and chooses to make it back to ground the easier way… in the lift.

OOnce firmly back on the ground, Gregg is whizzed around the sites by tuk tuk with ‘Meet Your South Africa’ guide Charles Ncube, with the first stop being for breakfast with some of Charles’ friends to share a meal of amagwinya - otherwise known as fat cakes. A traditional breakfast for many in this diverse township, fat cakes are little deep-fried savoury donuts, and are very much enjoyed by Gregg.

"Actually the best food might have been fat cakes in Soweto - really really cheap, they're like fried dough balls and they come with different dips - I had a tuk-tuk driver, and we sat there with three of his friends munching on these dough balls into these chili dips and the memory of that is still with me. Really good. And it's a kind of mid-morning thing for them, it's their elevenses. I thought that they were lovely.”

WWatch Charles Ncube video and learn more about this Jozi local here

FFuelled and ready to continue their adventure, Charles and Gregg head for Vilakazi Street – one of the most famous street in South Africa and the only street in the world to have produced two Nobel Prize winners. Within just 5 minutes’ walk from each other, this street was once the home to Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond TutuBeing home to two of the most prominent fighters against Apartheid, Soweto was an important epicentre of the struggle, and can claim a big part in the birth of the Rainbow Nation.

OOnce Gregg was able to appreciate the powerful history at the centre of Soweto, it was time to head out to the suburbs. Here, he meets Food Mama Flora, cooking up the lunches at the Precious Moments Day Care – thanks to Food Mamas work for the Lunchbox Fund, they can provide food for the children which nourishes them, as well as encourages families to send their children to school.

GGregg is whizzed to the last stop of his Soweto adventure in search for an international dance troupe of gumboot dancers in Kliptown. Gumboot dancing was born in the gold mines and was used as a form of communication between the miners in dark and noisy situations and is now celebrated in art form and is taught by Thando Bezana at the Kliptown Youth Programme

Although Gregg explored Soweto by zipping around in a tuk tuk, the township can also be enjoyed at a much breezier pace on a guided bicycle or walking tour.

SSoweto is just a small slice of Jo'burg and its surrounds, with so many diverse neighbourhoods and activities to experience. We’ve listed some of our top must-visit’s whilst in Johannesburg: 

Maboneng Precinct 

Meaning ‘place of light’, Maboneng is a transformed and regenerated neighbourhood located on the south-eastern part of Jozi’s city centre. This chic downtown Johannesburg neighbourhood is famous for its laid-back, energetic vibe and is one of the most renowned creative districts in the world. You’ll find a mix of eclectic restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries and rooftop bars in this quirky precinct. Take a seat at one of al fresco eateries and watch the world go by, we’re sure you’ll be entertained by the street artists! The best way to get under the skin of Maboneng is through a walking tour with from Curiocity Backpackers with Bheki Dube. https://mabonengprecinct.com/ 

Top Tip: Visit Maboneng on a Sunday morning to experience Market on Main, a weekly market that trades in local cuisine and fashion. 

NNeighbourgoods Market

Neighbourgoods Market attracts up to 4000 people to the city over the course of the day. The market has a great selection of pricey food and drinks, with queues for the ever popular paella stand and Balkan burgers, along with frozen mojitos and craft beer. The happening crowd takes over the terrace, with the top floor offering a great city view plus designer clothing, leatherware and vintage fashion. The Market is open every Saturday of the year (Including Boxing Day) 9am-3pm. http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/

CConstitution Hill

One of South Africa’s most important historical sites, Constitution Hill is split across four locations; the Old Fort, a notorious prison for white males; Number Four Jail, reserved for non-white males; the Women’s Jail and the Awaiting Trial Block. Many of the country’s high-profile political activists, including Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, were once held here. You don’t want to leave Joburg without a visit to this significant site, where you’ll learn about the struggle of so many. https://www.constitutionhill.org.za/

AApartheid Museum

Set aside two hours to explore the Apartheid Museum which chronicles apartheid and South Africa’s 20th century history. Visitors to the museum are given a randomly generated race card, which dictates their initial experience. The installations have been curated to depict chronological events leading up to and beyond apartheid. Coupling this museum with a visit to Soweto is one of the most impactful ways to visualise the journey South Africa has been on in the past 4 decades.  https://www.apartheidmuseum.org.

Top Tip: Check out also houses temporary exhibitions to be included in your visit.

ApartheidMuseum1

WWalking tours with Past Experiences

Immerse yourself in the best of Joburg with Past Experiences; a small female owned tour business run by specialist guide and passionate Joburger, Jo Buitendach. Jo’s love for Jozi is evident and she is particularly enthused by the city’s art. The tour starts in Newtown, not far from the Nelson Mandela Bridge, and highlights Johannesburg’s history as a gold mining town and its recent past. https://www.pastexperiences.co.za/tours 

newtown11.jpg

Top Tip: Finish off the tour with sampling of South Africa’s local beers at the SAB World of Beers.

Need some inspiration on how to package your South Africa holiday? Here is our suggested itinerary: 

EEasy connections

Transiting from the airport is easier than ever thanks to the Gautrain, a high-speed train linking Jozi’s OR Tambo International airport with the city in just 15 minutes. Gautrain operates a regular service Monday to Friday and a limited service over the weekend. Fares are deducted from a reloadable Gautrain Gold Card which can be purchased and topped-up easily at any Gautrain station.

GAUTRAIN.jpg

Top Tips: There is a Gautrain bus service that extends the network and reach of the Gautrain.

 

Tune in to the LAST episode, episode six (9th Feb) of ITV’s South Africa with Gregg Wallace to discover the iconic Zulu Kingdom in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.

South Africa with Gregg Wallace

Discover more

On episode 1, Gregg Wallace has a unique safari experience at Amakala Game Reserve, which is a pioneering wildlife and conservation area in the Eastern Cape province.

On episode 2, Gregg experiences the awe-inspiring beauty (and of course, delicious food!) of Cape Town and the Cape Winelands.

On Episode 3, Gregg Wallace experiences the breath-taking natural beauty (and of course, delicious food!) of the Kalahari Desert, following the course of the stunning Orange River and encompassing the very best of the Northern Cape.

On episode 4, Gregg sets off to explore the Whale Coast Route; a 300-Kilometre scenic coastal driving route that snakes from Cape Town to Gansbaai.

On episode 6, Gregg experiences the breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, rich history and of course, delicious food of the Zulu Kingdom; KwaZulu-Natal.

Meet Your South Africa with the people that know it best.

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"South Africa’s a very special country from coast to mountain. Cape Town itself is just an incredibly beautiful place also an incredibly diverse place, you have Table Mountain, you have indigenous forest and then you have this wealth marine life where you can see orcas and seals and penguins and whales and dolphins all on the same day and octopuses, massive invertebrate bio-diversity. I think, Cape Town is one of the most important bio-diversity hotspots on the planet and it’s also home to a huge community of endemic species and endemics are animals that you only find in that specific place and then when we talk specifically about the Great African sea forest, which is, the beautiful home of The Octopus Teacher. The thing about kelp forests is they cover 25% of the world’s coastlines, they are critical eco systems, they absorb carbon, they protect coastlines from storms and swell which is very important at this time because of rising sea levels and then they are just home to this unbelievable community of animals. They have some of the most bio-diverse habitats on Earth but, what’s happening, all over the world, because of climate change, is they are incredibly fragile. What’s incredible about the Greta African sea forest is the habitat is thriving, you know, it’s a very extensive kelp forest. It runs from De Hoop in the east all the way up the west coast to Namibia in the west and it’s healthy and the structure is there and although, you know, it’s not pristine but because the habitat is thriving the way that it is it really could be and you put your heard under the water there and you will see things that you never dreamed were possible and you’ll look up and there will be light playing through the forest and light rays shining down on you, and, it’s a dreamlike experience. It’s like being in a painting". Film Director, Pippa Ehrlich. We congratulate Netflix’s #MyOctopusTeacher​ for winning at The Oscars. The incredibly beautiful story of one of South Africa’s magical marine life and biodiversity, #MyOctopusTeacher​ was nominated for an Oscar award under the Documentary Feature category. Set in a kelp forest in #FalseBay​, #CapeTown​, South Africa, we say #MyOctopusTeacher​ definitely deserves the Oscar! #ShareSouthAfrica

We didn’t choose a location for this film because we never knew it was going to be a film, this is just what Craig does and what the C-Change project does, we live in Cape Town so we dive in Cape Town. And there are incredible dive sites all over the city, right on our doorstep and the incredible power of this film in some ways, and the joy of it from a filmmaking point of view is that, most natural history shoots you get flown off to some exotic location and then you’re under incredible pressure to get everything you need in three weeks. When you live and work in your home, you can be very picky about exactly the shot that you want. You know, you can wait for the best visibility, you can wait for the scariest storm. And the most amazing part of all of it is you go and dive, and you have these mind blowing experiences and you hold that feeling in your heart, and then you sit down straight afterwards and go back to the edit suite like this magical process of alchemy where it just pours into the film that you’re creating, so this was a once in a lifetime filmmaking process. It’s certainly changed my life." Film Director, Pippa Ehrlich. A showcase of South Africa’s beautiful biodiversity hotspot in a Western Cape kelp forest of #FalseBay​, Netflix's #MyOctopusTeacher​ has won an Oscar award under the Documentary Feature category. Good luck to the team for the brilliant story of a once-in-a-lifetime encounter in one of the most exquisitely beautiful environments on earth 🐙 #ShareSouthAfrica​ #CapeTown​ #FalseBay Learn more about the destination on www.southafrica.net

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