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Advisable to stay in Soweto?

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Chicago, Illinois
posts: 131
reviews: 30
Advisable to stay in Soweto?

My husband & I are doing our 2 1/2 week dream trip to South Africa in a few months...we are so excited! Other people who have been to Jo-Burg & a friend who did a medical school volunteer rotation in Jo-Burg for the summer have advised us against staying in Soweto due to safety concerns & recommend Sandton & Rosebank instead. We only have 2 nights in Jo-Burg (spending the rest of our trip in Cape Town & on a private reserve in Sabi Sands) and I really want to stay at the Soweto Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn Soweto) b/c all the sights we want to see are in the area - Apartheid Museum, township tour, Hector Pieterson museum, Wandie's, etc. We feel it would be a good cultural experience & that's really all we're interested in.

Would there be any reasons not to stay in Soweto? The hotel seems really nice, and we figure we could just call cabs to take us around if we need to go out at night. We are safety-minded & use common sense when in a new place, but not paranoid about it, as we have travelled to Thailand, Cambodia, all over Central America, Peru and felt as safe, if not safer, than some parts of the US. Any input would be much appreciated!

12 replies to this topic
Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
posts: 5,400
1. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

I suggest you message Sepsep if she doesn't reply.

Staying in a guest house such as

www.sa-venues.com/visit/lolosguesthouse/ might be a more personal experience than a hotel.

Johannesburg, South...
Destination Expert
for Johannesburg
posts: 559
reviews: 7
2. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

The Soweto Hotel is a great hotel which is on the site that the Freedom Charter was signed. It is a modern, newly-built hotel with all the amenities of any hotel. It would be a great base for your Soweto tour. Even more impressive about the hotel is that it was opened and remains to be owned by a group of entrepreneurs who are all from Soweto originally.

However all the sites in Soweto would be managed in an afternoon, or a day if spend the recommended 2+ hours at Apartheid Museum. The rest of the time you can use to explore other parts of Joburg, of which staying in Soweto would not be convenient.

I'd therefore recommend that you spend one night at the Soweto hotel and the next night in Rosebank/Sandton to get a true contrast of our vast city.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 131
reviews: 30
3. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Thank you lamlee & SepSep. That is a great idea - a night each in Soweto & Rosebank or Sandton to see the contrasts - we will most likely do that!

Johannesburg, South...
posts: 20
reviews: 15
4. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Totally agree with other forum advisors...Soweto compared to other townships is far safer and the government has spent quite abit to make it more tourist friendly..Soweto now boasts 3 shopping malls that have designer brands and you can pick up some south African memorabilia ..try to go to maponya mall,it would be 5/10 min from most tourist friendly hotels in Soweto..do enjoy your trip

Johannesburg, South...
posts: 413
reviews: 46
5. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Yep, Soweto is fine, as long as you take all the usual precautions and use reputable tour operators, etc.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 131
reviews: 30
6. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Thanks! We are super excited about our trip & are looking forward to visiting & staying in Soweto!

soweto
posts: 1
7. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

As a Sowetan,I'd tell you to go for it,been there a few times(ON THEIR JAZZY SUNDAYS) and must say their service is great,but more importantly the staff

there is VERY FRIENDLY like most Sowetans and there's loads to see and learn...just make sure you take necessary precautions or you have someone to take you around.ENJOY IT.

8. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

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Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
posts: 5,400
9. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Please report back, when you get back home. A first hand tourist report would be great for others.

This area is not visited enough.

Thanks

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 131
reviews: 30
10. Re: Advisable to stay in Soweto?

Thanks again everyone! Unfortunately, we won't be there on a Sunday to be able to experience the Jazzy Sundays, but I'm sure we will have a great overall Soweto experience nonetheless. And lamlee, we will be sure to report back. We are visiting SA in May 2012. Happy New Year everyone!

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