South Western Townships
South Western Townships
4.5
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles979 reviews
Excellent
531
Very good
328
Average
93
Poor
16
Terrible
11

Narayananram
Phoenix, AZ120 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
Please avoid SOWETO walking / biking tours at all cost. It is not worth it. We went with a reputed guide with 5 star reviews today and we were mugged at gun point. We quietly surrendered our phones , with tears in our eyes. I did not expect this , especially given that I had a local guide accompany me. The soweto local was as helpless and vulnerable as we were. We were also warned by a restaurant owner and security guards at Constitution hill to not walk anywhere alone on the streets because of the criminal activities. From my first hand, near death experience it is best that you avoid SOWETO tours (bike, walk etc) at all costs.
Written July 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Esme H
Hondeklip Bay3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
In current violent conditions in South Africa, it is not advisable to visit. You are surely putting yourself into danger.
Written February 18, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tolga_O
London, UK124 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2011
SOWETO had played a huge part on the history of Jo'burg and the struggle against apartheid. In addition two Nobel Peace prize winners lived on the same street there.
It was also SOWETO where the student uprising began and where many political demonstrations took part. Lots of SOWETO residents who were politically active during apartheid were tortured but they live in peace now. The rich and poor black live side-to-side in SOWETO and you have to go there to see it for yourself.

Ironically SOWETO has grown so large that it wants to separate from Jo'burg.
Written February 14, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alison W
Johannesburg, MI1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017 • Friends
Such a world of contrasts in one sprawling mega township. Rows upon rows of cramped shacks stretch beyond rows of elegant suburban homes of the affluent. Dingy, depressing corners and bright city streets. Overcrowded schools and spacious malls.

It really is a melting pot of cultures and peoples. It provides a bird's eye view of the recent history of South Africa.

But beyond the porta-loos and litter and poverty, there's an overwhelming sense of camaraderie, vitality, enduring optimism and a zest for life that are hallmarks of these remarkable people.

Don't miss it!
Written December 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jonmak_12
Sydney, Australia60 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Solo
Didn't take a tour, just thought I would drive in and take a look and what immediately hits you is just the size of it at 5 mill + inhabitants. Drove around during the day and despite real security concerns only felt unsafe once for a short time. Well worth a visit.
Written July 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karrst
Pretoria, South Africa3,299 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Couples
Soweto is nothing like what we expected. It is vibrant city steeped in the history of the apartheid struggle. The township is a mix of modern and early twentieth century housing, mingled with areas of “shanty” towns made of shacks and the “shabeens” etc.
On entering Soweto you pass the Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital, the largest in the southern hemisphere. To the right you can see the iconic Orlando Towers, colourfully painted, with bungee jumps for the brave. Soweto is also home to the fabulous Maponya Mall.
On to Vilikazi Street with the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, along with modern restaurants and cafes. Then onto the Hector Pieterson Museum, which is a memorial to the 1976 Soweto unrest. This is a far better museum than the Apartheid Museum as it is laid out for you to follow.
Freedom Square is a must visit to see the monument to the Freedom Charter, a grand vision, which still needs to be realized. There is also a monument to modern day commercialism with the failed Soweto Hotel and Conference Centre lying empty across the square.
No visit would be complete without a tour of one of the shanty towns, with a visit to Kliptown and a guided tour through the “shacks” by a resident. We also went to see a Youth Training facility which has gained international awards. This was followed by a drive through Diepkloof and the modern day up market housing.
The people we met were genuinely friendly and warm, in a very relaxing atmosphere. Surprisingly the streets were kept quite clean and strangely almost no “hawkers and beggars” at the robots/traffic lights as opposed to what one sees in the metros and suburbs.
Written December 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SoozSolo
Brisbane, Australia874 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Solo
Like Soho in New York, Soweto is an abbreviation, short for “South Western Township”. But, unlike Soho, it remains a challenge to know whether a visit to Soweto is ‘proper’, and it’s a conflict still – even moreso after visiting – to know the right answer.

There is something voyeuristic about touring Soweto that makes it ‘feel’ inconsiderate. Likely, there is an argument that the tourist dollar contributes to its economy and, if truly the case, would encourage you to undertake the tour with a full heart and generous wallet.

There are absolutely some “must-see’s” and perhaps, if isolated, would make the tour more palatable:
• Vilakazi St (only Street in the world to have produced two Nobel Peace Prize winners; Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu) and its refurb’d pavements, and public artwork’d entrance, are fitting recognition and acknowledgements, appropriate to any significant tourist destination in the world;
• Mandela House, 8115 Orlando West; where Mandela lived with his first wife, Evelyn (1946-1957) and second wife, Winnie (from 1958) and where he returned after his release from prison (in 1990 for only 11 days), but where Winnie remained until their divorce in 1996;
• Hector Pieterson Museum; at the hands of the South African police, the 13 year old shooting-victim who, alongside his sister Antoinette; and bearer, Mbuyisa Makhubo, were immortalised in a compelling and upsetting photograph, and unwittingly became the poster-children of the 1976 student uprising;
• the decommissioned Orlando power station twin-towers; colourful now in graffiti-art and considered Township’s most distinctive and world-famous signature landmarks; you can bungee and rap jump, power and internal swing and take the lift ride to the viewing platform.

“Sight-seeing” through the poor, and poorer again, areas is difficult to see and difficult to do; if one should do so at all? It feels compromising to take a ‘tour’ to look upon misfortune.
However, a visit to the towers and Vilakazi St and its two museums is a must. I met Hector Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette, outside the museum; a reminder of how recent this ‘history’ actually is.

I recommend Peter Mushaba of Mushaba Tours and Transfers, who also does Cradle of Humankind, Gold & Diamond mines, Johannesburg & Pretoria Tours, among others; any of which can be customised.
Written May 20, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matthew E
Brooklyn, NY42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Solo
I was taken to the townships by Imbizo, an excellent tour company run by a vibrant woman named Mandy Makazana. Based on Mandy's suggestion, we spent most of our time in Alexandra, a smaller but more genuine township community than Soweto, which is actually a large network of townships (with a population of 4-5 million people) that has more of a feeling of a suburb. I highly recommend Imbizo Tours.
Written March 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ashisharya
Faridabad, India70 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2012 • Friends
South Western Township or SoWeTo as we call it is mainly known for the Nelson Mandela's house, the life of the poor in the African regions. This is a must visit place for any fortunate people who get to visit Jo'Burg. There is a nice restaurant on the same road as Nelson Mandela's house.
You will get nice food + the local people would do the tribal dance + miner's dance which is what miners sing when they are mining to keep up the spirits.
There is a 60 ZAR fee for international visitors to the Nelson Mandela's house.
Written October 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gam70
Ottawa30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2011 • Business
As a foreigner living in Jo'burg in the early to mid 1990s, whenever I felt lonely, I would hop on my motorcycle at practically any time of day or night and drive to Chiawelo, Soweto for some companionship with friends I came to regard as my second family. At the time, this was still a fairly uncommon practice for whites, whether local or foreign, but I've always felt a bond with Soweto and Sowetans that I find difficult to explain.
Whereas in Jo'burg I was just another white face in the sea of what was then a city wracked by racial tension, in Soweto I was always welcome. During apartheid, whites were banned from visiting Soweto and even after those legal walls came tumbling down, fear of the unknown kept many whites from visiting. So the fact that I was willing to take the plunge seemed to open hearts towards me. I've always been grateful for my Soweto friends. It remains my second home.
Things have changed a lot since those days, thank goodness, but Soweto remains a special place.
Written July 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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