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Johannesburg/Soweto

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Soweto [1] is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Understand

Trivia
Soweto is the only place in the world to have raised two Nobel Prize winners. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have residences on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital [2] is the largest hospital in the world with over 3000 beds.


The name Soweto was first used in 1963 to describe the groups of townships to the south west of Johannesburg, and it is an acronym for South Western Townships. These townships were originally established after an outbreak of bubonic plague in the inner city slums of Johannesburg in 1904, but under the apartheid government, many black South Africans were forcefully relocated from the city and its suburbs to Soweto and other townships.

Get in

Most visitors to Soweto take a tour from their Johannesburg hotel. However, you can do Soweto independently with a car.

Unless you are with Soweto locals you probably do not want to stray from the Orlando West tourist friendly area on your own. Soweto is huge and those without an African complexion will feel very conspicuous.

Get around

It is best to visit Soweto as part of an official tour group by a SATSA [3] accredited tour guide.

Several of tour operators are available:

  • Imbizo Tours [4]. Tel:+27 (0)11 838-2667.
  • Simkile [5]. Tel:+27 (0)11 608-2640.
  • Soweto By Nite [6]. Tel:+27 (0)82 748 1588.
  • Soweto.co.za [7]. Tel:+27 (0)11 326 1700.
  • Mandela's Soweto [8]. Tel:+27 (0)84 840 2847. Professional tour guides using luxury minivans.

See

Soweto Mural
  • Credo Mutwa Village, Corner Ntsane and Majoeng streets, Central Western Jabavu, +27 (0)11 930-1813 (+27 (0)83 693-2003). Open daily from 6AM to 6PM. Restored Zulu and Sotho villages
  • Hector Pietersen Museum, 8288 Maseko Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 536-0611. Open 10AM to 5PM Mon to Sat and 10AM to 4PM on Sun. Try to allow at least an hour here. Great bookshop inside.
  • Mandela Family Museum, 8115 Ngakane Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 936-7754. Open 9:30AM to 5PM daily.
  • Regina Mundi Church, 1149 Khumalo Street, Moroka, +27 (0)11 986-2546. The people's parliament.

Do

Soweto Housing
  • Walk through Baragwanath Taxi rank area and eat some "Runnaways" ( chicken feet )with the locals or try some "Smily's" ( Sheeps head )
  • Visit a real Shebeen (drinking place), not just the touristy places
  • Be seen at the Soweto Wine Festival [9], the most successful trend-setting annual lifestyle event held in Soweto.

Buy

  • Maponya Mall, Old Potchefstroom Road, Klipspruit. New mall (opened 20 September 2007) with 200 stores, cinemas and restaurants.

Eat

  • B's Place, 5541 Shuenane Street, Orlando East, +27 (0)11 935-4015.
  • Sakhumzi Restaurant, 6980 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 536-1379 (+27 (0)83 337-6925, , fax: +27 (0)11 939-4427), [10].
  • Wandies, 618 Makhalamele Street, Dube, +27 (0)11 982-2796 (), [11]. Offers some of the best indigenous South African menus, including Mogodu (tripe) and pap. Put you business card on the wall with those of many visitors before.

Drink

  • The Back Room, Shop 20, Pimville Square Shopping Center, Modjadji Str, +27 (0)11 938-9388.
  • The Rock, 1987 Vundla Drive, Rockville, +27 (0)11 986-8182, [12]. Night club and restaurant

Sleep

  • Botle Guest House, 648 Monyane St, Dube, +27 (0)11 982-1872 (fax: +27 (0)11 286-9010).
  • Dakalo Bed and Breakfast, 6963 Inhlwathi St, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 936-9328 (+27 (0)82 723-0585, , fax: +27 (0)11 935-4380).
  • Ekhaya Guesthouse, 8027 Bacela St, Orlando West, +27 (0)11 939-2850 (+27 (0)83 472-9390, ).
  • Lolo's Guesthouse, 1320 Diepkloof Ext, +27 (0)11 985-9183 (+27 (0)82 332-2460, , fax: +27 (0)11 528-0498).
  • Vhavhenda Hills, 11749 Mampuru St, Orlando West, + 27 (0)11 936-0411 (+27 (0)82 213-1630, , fax: +27 (0)11 936-0411).

Stay safe

By and large Soweto is a pretty safe place for tourists to visit. It is not the easiest place to drive around in by yourself so if you are going to stay there overnight get the bed and breakfast owner to meet you on one of the main roads and follow them in or get a transfer in. If you are going to do a tour, go with one of the registered tour companies (see above or contact SATSA ). Try to make sure that the tour company is using a local Soweto/Johannesburg guide as makes for better insight to the place and its history.

Contact

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