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“Safe, clean, relaxed - a great experience”

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Lebo's Soweto Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
Helsinki
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Safe, clean, relaxed - a great experience”
Reviewed July 27, 2010

Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is amazing. Anyone going to Joburg and wanting to experience real South African life should go there. I spent three nights there with a group of students and everythings went fine. The staff was kind and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

Rooms and other facilities are very simple yet clean and cosy, you feel like at home. There is a little backyard, inside fences, where they provide games, music instruments and a self'-service bar. Every night there were some locals, probably friends of the owners, playing reggae around a fire. We also ate at Lebo's a couple of times and were very satisfied, especially with the South African barbeque. The meals have to be ordered in advance as there is no non-stop restauration available.

The surroundings of Lebo's place were interesting. It is actually a very safe neighbourhood to be (contrary to our doubts). There are middle-class houses around, the slums are about 1 km away. Lebo organizes bicycle tours to different parts of Soweto, they are great and funny, yet shocking for some parts. With our guide during 4 hours we saw some historic buildings, went to see the life in slums, drank beer with local people, ate cow's head grilled in front of us, heard wonderful stories... It was exciting but seeing the existence of extreme poverty and social problems like alcoholism was shocking. I would still strongly recommend taking this guided tour.

All in all, Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is a great experience. If you go there, do yourself a favour and reserve enough time to just enjoy the atmosphere at the hostel and to see the neighbourhood. You will appreciate that time.

  • Stayed October 2009
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank hkarhu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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204 reviews from our community

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Zurich, Switzerland
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2010

Stayed at a homestay which was booked through Lebos Backpackers. This was actually Lebos Grandmothers home. She has a building in the garden with one double room, one twin and a room with six bunk beds. There is one toilet and shower which is shared. The rooms we used were very clean and comfortable. Lebos Grandmother prepared a breakfast each morning but cooked breakfast was available at the Backpackers. A car was sent to us each morning and took us back each evening - it is about a ten minute ride to the Backpackers.

Lebos Backpackers itself is a friendly place. There is a pool table and garden area in the complex and when we were there there was a bar area outside the complex. I dont know if this was temporary for the World Cup or not.

The main thing is to understand that despite its reputation this part of Soweto appeared to be 100% safe. My family and I walked around the area for five days - sometimes my teenage son and daughter wandered around by themselves. People were friendly and I lost count of the number of times people said "Thank you for coming to Soweto".

Lebo does a super job of providing a safe and tidy place to play for the children in the area. He deserves a lot of credit for this. The kids are friendly and many an hour was spent chatting or playing with them.

Lebos Backpackers is an easy fifteen minute walk to Nelson Mandelas House, Desmond Tutus House, Winnie Mandelas House and Hector Pieterson Museum.

Dont be afraid - it is a great place to visit.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank mrdh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TX
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2010

Nice place to stay. Lots of culture and history in the area. the lounge area is great- pool tables, bar, fire pit, etc. However, the beds were awful. Great bike tours to take, and safe.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lo55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa
Level 6 Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2009

The most common response to learning that I was planning on staying in a hostel in Soweto was a warning: Soweto wasn’t safe. While all areas of Soweto might not be safe for a tourist to wander around in, Lebo’s offers the opportunity to experience the rhythm of township life safely. I spent several hours in the park across from the backpackers. Formerly a vacant lot, Lebo cleaned it up and installed play equipment. On weekends and after school, it is full of children. I watched soccer games and children stream to and from school. One afternoon, I helped out in an informal after school art sessions. I was often on my own, my purse and camera in full view.

The hostel itself offers basic, clean rooms with shared bathroom facilities. My private room had little furnishing but was spacious and I spent little time there other than to sleep. There are plenty of common areas, my favourite being the back garden; I felt in a world apart. During the day I lazed in the hammock and at night sat by the fire drinking a beer.

Lebo’s offers an honesty bar and three meals. Mimi, the cook, prepares wonderful home cooked township meals. If you’re lucky, she’ll even organize a braai. Internet is also available for a reasonable fee. I preferred watching the local children to TV, but there’s a large television in the common lounge. The staff are friendly and helpful and can arrange Soweto tours or transfers to local sites and museums.

If you’re comfortable with backpacker style accommodation, you can’t beat Lebo’s in Soweto, and you can’t beat Soweto in Johannesburg.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank snullr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2009

The vibe at Lebo's is awesome. The hostel is well kept, they have a very chilled outdoor space, ita lamost like a beach bar in Soweto... and they even have their own park where you can play football with the local kids. The staff and owners are super friendly and welcoming. The hostel is located within walking distance of Soweto's main historical attractions and I felt safe walking around. They also offer excellent bike tours of Soweto that are very popular. This is an authentic township experience, you feel almost like you are living in someone's house. The service is always with a smile and is very personal.
Only problem is that if you are staying inside it can be a little loud in the mornings, but i guess you expect this from a backpackers hostel.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank MochaChoca
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

Property: Lebo's Soweto Backpackers
Address: 10823A Pooe Street | Orlando West, Johannesburg 1804, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 111 Specialty Lodging in Johannesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Lebo's Soweto Backpackers 3*
Number of rooms: 18
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Also Known As:
Lebo`s Soweto Backpackers Hotel Johannesburg

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