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Lebo's Soweto Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 18, 2014

I booked my stay at Lebos based on the good reviews I had read. Unfortunately I had exactly the opposite experience. The airport pickup I had booked (and confirmed just the day before) came 2 hours late, and that was only after the airport information desk called them twice. Then it turns out they had double booked my room, so on my second night the woman on the front desk called me away from dinner and told me I had to move to a dorm room fir one night because " someone else wanted my room". This was despite the fact that I'd booked it many weeks before. I was told I didn't even have time to finish my dinner, because they were arriving any minute and I had to move my stuff immediately. I thought about it, then said I wasn't happy to do that. The woman came out to the dining area later and told me in a really sarcastic voice that "she had sorted it out, and that I shouldn't worry because I was the star". The person I was talking to and I were astounded. To top it off,the place became party central that night until 3am. Despite asking for a quiet room when I booked, I was given the noisiest one. I found out the next day that one of the staff got really drunk and thumped on the door of the double booked couple in the dorm at 3am. They let her in, only for her to fall asleep on one of the beds and snore so loudly that the guest had to go out to the common area to try to sleep. I checked out the next morning, although I had 3 more nights planned. Oh, and get yourself a local sim, because the wifi doesn't work. I'm not sure what has changed, but there were a lot of unhappy and very tired people there when I was there. I hope you have a better experience.

Room Tip: It won't matter what room you request. Everyone there had had their requests ignired
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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7  Thank 14Sparrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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121 - 127 of 234 reviews

Reviewed December 20, 2013 via mobile

Thanks to Soweto Backpackers and their magnificent staff and guides we could experience the diversity of Soweto by bike and storytellers. We really had an experience for a lifetime in our first but not last visit to South Africa and Johannesburg.

Stayed: December 2013
1  Thank MartinSande
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2013

My wife and I stayed 4 nights here following an overland trip from Nairobi. It is absolutely brilliant. We booked it because of the location in Soweto and its proximity to Hector Pieterson Square, Vilakazi Street and the Apartheid Museum. Our room was comfortable and clean, the food was good and the staff wonderfully helpful and friendly. The garden and outside seating area are great to relax in. The bar is run on a trust basis and you simply write down what you have had and pay later. Soweto is a great vibrant place with very welcoming people. We felt very safe walking around the area and catching local mini buses.

Room Tip: Book in advance. I overheard several telephone calls from people asking for rooms and finding they w...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank David C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2013

I stayed in Lebo's Soweto Backpackers for 7 months as I was volunteering in a NGO in Soweto. I had a great stay there and I was always safe.

The Backpackers is a nice chilled place, with good vibes, a fire every night, a pool table and a bar. Everything is provided to enjoy the night with travellers from around the world or locals. If you like Reggae Music it will be a paradise for you to spend your holiday there. Don't be surprised that there are chickens sleeping in the tree that is a special attraction to confuse tourists but at the same time a good topic to start your conversation at the fire place.

The Backpackers is always clean as the staff is working hard for it. The staff members (it doesn't matter if it is the gardener, cleaner, tour guide, receptionist or the chef) are all very friendly and helpful and I can say that I found really good friends in them.

Optionally you can order breakfast or dinner which is always fresh made and more than delicious. You should not expect European dishes as you definitely will get local food which is always very nice. But please be aware that ‘Pap’ and ‘Fat Cakes’ are not the healthiest you can eat. :-)

The Backpackers is quiet small but this makes the nice vibe. In case you don’t like having a fire or it is raining you can chill in the living room where a television and a computer are provided. The wireless is not for free but you have a good reception at the whole property so you can use your own computer or your smartphone without any problems.

To make sure that tourists are not getting bored the Backpackers offers you different tours for a reasonable price. The tour guides are all well trained and always friendly. It doesn’t matter if you do a bicycle or a tuk tuk tour you will definitely have fun.

Close to the Backpackers you also have the option to explore different types of bars. Still walking distance is the famous Vilakazi Street, where you find normal bars or traditional ones like the ‘Shack’. If you stay for a PUZA Thursday in Soweto you should make sure that you celebrate it with a beer or cider in a traditional atmosphere.

Who ever tells you that Soweto is dangerous please DON’T believe in that. It is not the safest place on earth but there is no safe place on earth at all. Don’t be afraid to walk around on your own, nothing will happen as long as you feel comfortable. As an advice I can say that you should not take all your belongings with you and don’t play with expensive things in front of locals and if you follow these rule you will be fine. I was also walking in the darkness on my own (not long distances) but nothing happened to me at all. Especially as a white person you will get a lot of attention but people just want to be friendly. So please make sure that you are friendly to everyone and you will have the best time in your life.

I totally enjoyed my stay at Lebo’s Backpackers and I would like to Thank Lebo and Maria for hosting me. It was a pleasure meeting you and I wish you all the best.

Many thanks also to all the staff members (Lerato, Tebogo, Linky, Bongiwe, Malindi, Thando, Sipho, Tshepo, James and all the others where I can’t spell their names) for the unforgettable time and all the important things you thought me. Missing you all lots

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank JuLiE_eIsH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2013

We chose to do the 2-hour tour of Soweto. A driver was sent to Braamfontein station to pick us up and drove us back there after the tour. He was really nice and friendly and explained a lot of things to us as he was from Soweto (but he wasn’t taking part in the tour, he was just helping the Backpackers with the picking-up of people).
This has been a really interesting and original way of visiting Soweto. The use of bikes allowed us to be closer to the population and not only have a look at the location through car windows. Very moving experience.
Little disappointment though: in the highlights of the tour, Nelson Mandela’s house is mentioned. But note that it is not the entrance to the house. Just a look around it behind bars. And as we didn’t have much time, we could not stay longer there…
Otherwise, I find it a bit pricey compared to other attractions in Jo’burg but as part of the money is going to the community, I don't really mind.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank EleanorRigbyEverglot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

This guesthouse provides a great way to experience life in Soweto. To be able to see Soweto from the inside, and realize what a vibrant and safe neighborhood it actually is was a really great experience. Staff is friendly and helpful and the garden with the fire pitch is a great place to spend some time relaxing and socializing in the evenings. Bike tour was really nice. This place I would recommend because of the experience and the atmosphere.

Room Tip: I was in the twin room that had the window out to the dining room, it was a very nice room, but you...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Carin_jinja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2013

Lebo and Lungi took my family and I (wife and two daugters aged 11 and 9) around the sites and sounds of Soweto. This was an amazing experience, which gave a balanced and experienced insight into the area. They say that history is written by the victors, but in the case of Soweto this line is less defined.
Although we didn't stay at the backpackers there was certainly a great vibe in the time we spent there and our hosts during the tour could not have been more helpful. Superb.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Graham R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lebo's Soweto Backpackers

Address: 10823A Pooe Street | Orlando West, Johannesburg 1804, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 123 Specialty Lodging in Johannesburg
Price Range: $13 - $31 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Lebo's Soweto Backpackers 3*
Number of rooms: 18
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Also Known As:
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