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Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

New York, NY
posts: 7
Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

Hello!

We are leaving in less than a week for our South African adventure! Very excited, can't wait to enjoy the results of all the research and planning.

I just received our voucher from our safari operator but she informed me that they won't drop us off at the hostel we booked in Soweto for the night after the safari as she said it is dangerous and known for car jackings!

I had some some research about Lebo's and staying in Soweto, thinking it would be a good experience and fine safety-wise, but now I am having my doubts. Can anyone who's been there give an honest opinion about staying in Soweto and perhaps at Lebo's in particular? How did you get there? Is it okay to arrive in the evening?

Any advice on if we should try to book elsewhere? We only have about 24 hours in our trip left and staying in Soweto and doing a tour there in the morning before our flight home at night seemed like a good idea -- but now maybe not?

Thanks very much!

Mary

5 replies to this topic
Johannesburg, South...
Destination Expert
for Johannesburg
posts: 1,837
reviews: 23
1. Re: Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

I am surprised, to say the least.

I would pursue the matter, and if they still refuse, find someone else!!!

As a tourist guide and driver, I have been going into the area for the last 9 years, both by day and in the evenings.

I have never encountered any problems.

While I have never actually been to Lebo's, Lebo's is well known, and only about 1 or 2 Km from some of the most important tourist sites in Soweto viz; The Mandela house, and Hector Pieterson Museum.

These are areas that are always busy, with people visiting the Museums, and restaurants in the area.

In fact, I will be in the area tomorrow (Sunday 5th May), with clients from the USA.

good luck!

2. Re: Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

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Johannesburg, South...
Destination Expert
for Johannesburg
posts: 1,837
reviews: 23
3. Re: Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

Too late to edit, but I want to say this:

This type of thing, is certainly doing a disservice to South Africa, and the South African Tourism Industry in particular.

This is the type of negativity which adds to, and multiplies the (erroneous) perception that South Africa is such a dangerous place.

Certainly, there are bad areas, just as there are in any country you care to mention, BUT, no tourist would ever normally go to those areas anyway.

By the way, my granddaughter was involved in a karate tournament/exhibition in Soweto a few years ago, and my daughter drove around in Soweto, alone, (that is to say, without an armed guard, or any male in the car ), in order to get the grand daughter to the venue, in Orlando, Soweto, and safely home again.

Thousands of visitors visited, slept, partied, got drunk, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in Soweto during the World Cup Football, in 2010.

I routinely take visitors through Soweto, prior to going to the airport for their flight home, vehicle packed with their luggage and all ..... Go figure.

New York, NY
posts: 7
4. Re: Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

Hi Gavin,

Thanks very much for your message. The operator's reaction did seem odd to me as Soweto is one of the top places visited in Johannesburg and Lebo's has good reviews. I live in New York City have common sense precautions about safety in any city but also want to be aware of my surroundings when I'm travelling.

I may write to them to push back. They did offer to drop us at the airport, from which we can take a taxi. Do you know how much a taxi from the airport to Soweto should cost?

Cheers,

Mary

Johannesburg, South...
Destination Expert
for Johannesburg
posts: 1,837
reviews: 23
5. Re: Staying in Soweto & Lebo's Backpackers

Mary,

I found a website which gives approximate taxi fares.

What time of day would they drop you at the airport?

The page I found is for Sandton to Soweto. However, the distance from OR Tambo to Lebo's is 47 Km, the same as Sandton/Soweto, so I expect the fares will be similar.

Note, there is a difference between companies, and a higher rate at night.

Here is the link:

taxiautofare.com/za/taxi-fare/Johannesburg-t…

Good luck

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