Whatever you choose to see in Soweto you will find that it is the people who will make your Soweto visit most memorable. The township was always at the forefront of the struggle against Apartheid, and also once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, both Nobel peace prize winners who both lived on Vilakazi Street. Lined with restaurants, bars, gift shops and street markets, Vilakazi Street has now become a tourist attraction in itself.
There are several worthwhile historical sights and museums to visit including the Hector Pietersen Museum and Memorial, the Nelson Mandela House Museum and the Kliptown Museum. Other major landmarks that are worth adding to your sightseeing itinerary are the colourful Soweto cooling towers where you can take a bungee jump and enjoy a shisa nyama lunch at the famous Chaf Pozi beer garden and the Regina Mundi Church, a place which played a critical role during the struggle against apartheid.
Soweto also has a cultural, music and social scene that is all its own with its own theatre and more weekend party spots than you can't shake a stick at. Soccer in particular is also a huge obsession for the many exuberant fans of Soweto's two mega-clubs – the (Kaizer) Chiefs and the (Orlando) Pirates.
The seemingly endless identical streets of small houses can be bewildering but if you do plan to drive yourself here you will find the main tourist destinations such as Vilakazi street, Hector Pieterson Memorial museum and the football stadiums well sign-posted from main roads coming out of Johannesburg.
However, by far the best way to really get to know Soweto on a first visit is by taking a tour with a local guide.
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers
10823A Pooe St, cnr Ramushu St, Orlando West, Soweto
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is a justifiably celebrated establishment that was one of the first pioneering tourism businesses in Soweto to revolutionise what 'township tourism' could mean in South Africa. What started off as a humble backpackers h
Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum
8287 Khumalo St, Orlando West, Soweto
This deeply moving museum is unquestionably Soweto's best. Named after one of the first schoolchildren to be killed by the police during the Soweto uprising of 1976, the museum focuses on the events leading up to the uprising, offering an examination of
Lebo's Open Air Restaurant
10823A Pooe St (cnr Ramushu St), Orlando West, Soweto
Where once there was a dumping ground, township tourism pioneer Lebo, of the eponymous backpackers, envisaged a park - a quiet, green space where local children could play and visitors could relax with a plate of home-cooked food, fresh from the p
Lebo's Soweto Bicycle Tours
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, 10823A Pooe St, Orlando West, Soweto
A great way to experience Soweto is by taking a cycling, walking or Tuk Tuk tour. Lebo's offers 2-hour, half-day or full-day options. Routes include visits to places of historic and cultural interest such as Vilakazi Street, with Nelson Mandela's house a
Probably the most famous street in all of Soweto, Vilakazi Street lays claim to two Nobel prize-winning residents – Nelson Mandela (who lived here with his then wife Winnie in the late 1950s and early 1960s) and Rev. Desmond Tutu who still divides his ti