Exactly what do you get on a Soweto Tour?
It’s one of the popular products, tour operators offer to tourists seeking to understand the authentic South African black culture and its history. I must admit, I’ve never been on any official ‘Soweto Tour’ myself and was not born in Soweto, but have called it home for about seven years between 2000-2007.
I’ve taken visiting friends on an unofficial Soweto Tour, where I acted as the ‘untrained tour guide’. Just recently I had the pleasure of showing my visiting brother-in-law, it was his first encounter with Soweto, though also from a township in Durban…eNtuzuma.
My wife is from Dobsonville and I frequent it more than I care to remember because I also have friends who reside in Soweto.
Today I’ve decided on checking out exactly what you get on a Soweto Tour in terms of tour rate and product package from the competing service providers.
A quick search on Google revealed the following results, with the keyword ‘Soweto Tour’…I only selected the top 3 links (data not edited from the respective websites):
- R 500.00 per person
- Strictly based on a minimum of 4 pax.
- Groups of 8 or more will be quoted separately
- Half Day Tour (4 hours)
Meet your friendly and very experienced local Sowetan tour guide.
• Enter Soweto Via Diepkloof EXT.
Back on to the highway and continue to Soweto via the upmarket area called Diepkloof Ext where some of the houses can cost in the millions.
• Diepkloof Hostel & Ekukhanyeni
We visit this large hostel nearby which has been transformed from migrant labour to informal family accommodation. Be treated to a dance by some of the local children and view the Ekukhanyeni crèche which is a shipping container transformed into a functional “edutainer “, this Soweto.co.za initiative provides much needed pre-school education for the local community.
• Baragwanath Taxi Rank
Into the Baragwanath area and stop off at the huge taxi rank. Here we walk about and get the feel of Africa in the raw, soak up the sites, sounds and “smells” of Africa at close quarters – informal open air butcher shop, herbalists, barbers and market etc.
• Kliptown Squatter Camp & The Roots and Shoots Youth Programme
We stop off at the squatter camp in the Kliptown area and meet some of the locals who are happy to show you around their basic home structures. We then meet Thulani a local resident who will show you around Soweto.co.za’s latest development project involving food gardens, sports activities and arts and culture.
• Hector Pieterson & Vilakazi Street
The trip continues to neighbouring Orlando West and the Hector Pieterson Memorial, the site of where the student uprisings of ‘76 began. We visit the fascinating museum, which is a state of the art multi media centre depicting scenes leading up to the student uprising of June 16th 1976 and the eventual transition to democracy in South Africa.
• Mandela House and Visitors Centre
We then visit the newly revamped Mandela House and Visitors Centre in famous Vilakazi Street which is filled with many interesting artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to South Africa’s greatest icon.
- R495 per person
- Daily departure
- Duration ± 4h
- Minimum 2 people
Soweto Tour Includes:
- Entrance fees into Hector Pieterson Museum
- Visit an informal settlement
- Mandela House Museum
- Drive past Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
- Walk through the Regina Mundi Church
- Drive past Diepkloof ext
- Drive past Baragwanath Taxi Rank
- Drive past Maponya Shopping Mall
- Drive past the Soccer City Stadium
- Visit Freedom Square and Freedom Charter Memorial
- Drive along Vilakazi Street
- See the homes of Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Winnie Madikizela- Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela
- Visit a local shebeen and taste a beer drunk by the people of Soweto if your older than 18 years
- Bottled water
- R450.00 per person (All entrance fees included)
- Minimum: 2(Two) people on tour
- DURATION: Half Day
- DEPARTURE: 09H30
Pick up from some of the areas may have a once off pick up fee
Pick up at hotel or arranged point
- Soccer City
We make our first stop at Soccer city and stop for photos.Enter Soweto via Diepkloof ext which is the upmarket in Soweto and some of the houses can cost in the millions
- Drive past Diepkloof hostel which has been transformed from migrant labour accomodation to informal family accommodation.
- Baragwanath Precinct
In this area we stop and do a walk about.Here we get the feel of Africa in the raw,soak up the sounds and smell Africa at close quarters.See the informal open air butcheries,herbalist,barber shops and markets.
- We then drive past Orlando Towers which is now the landmark of Soweto. Drive past Orlando shanty town (Mkhukhu) and see poverty at close quarters before heading to Orlando west and see Winnie Mandela House.
- Make a stop at the site where 13 year old boy Hector Pieterson was shot and killed by the police on 16 June 1976
- Hector Pieterson Museum
Here we visit this fascinating museum,which is the state of the art multimedia center depicting scenes leading up to the students uprising of 1976 and the eventual transition to democracy in South Africa.
- Mandela House Museum
We stop for a tour at this newly revamped Mandela house which is filled with many interesting memorabilia pertaining to the South African liberation icon.Take a walk down Vilakazi street to see Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s house.Vilakazi street is the only street in the world that has produced two Nobel Peace Prize winners (Nelson Mandela & Desmond Tutu).
- Depart Soweto