Soweto shows off an authentic history which tells the story of the Apartheid era.
Where To Eat
Knowing where to eat in Soweto shouldn’t be a challenge at all. Here, you will find traditional meals that display true township culture. From the famous shisa nyama, buffets, soul food, kota’s to even sidewalk street vendors selling everything from tripe, to the famous “inyama yenhlokho” (pig and cow heads… it’s not as bad as it sounds), you’ll basically get a gourmet meal around every corner to tantalise your tastebuds. And do not forget the traditional beer, “umqombothi” too. Don’t forget the traditional beer, “umqombothi.“ Here is our Culinary Guide To Soweto’s Best Restaurants for all you newcomers.
What To Do
Culture & History
Soweto has developed an authentic urban lifestyle. That’s why it is a must visit for tourists who are looking for more than just nature, sea and the big five. Vilakazi Street in Orlando is one of the most famous streets in the area, with a history that still displays a large part of Soweto’s culture. Here, you will find the house that Nelson Mandela and his family lived in from 1946 to the 1990s. This house is now a museum, attracting thousands of tourists each month, both local and international.
The Hector Pieterson Museum is also found on this street. This heritage venue shows off the memorial site of the 1976 Soweto Uprising.
The Walter Sisulu Square, based in the heart of Kliptown is also a must visit. This is mzansi’s first township entertainment explosion centre, consisting of outlets suitable for local traders and hosting all sorts of events that attract both the locals and tourists.
And for sporting fanatics, what would a visit to Soweto be without experiencing the vibe and atmosphere of the famous Soweto Derby? This is usually the biggest soccer derby in the country with two rival teams, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, going head-to-head. Here, you get to experience and be part of a true and authentic sporting vibe – don’t forget your earplugs and a Vuvuzela.
Night Life, Festivals & Shopping
There is always a place to party in Soweto. Whether you are looking for a simple laid back environment in the ghetto, a club or bar, a social night market, a township shebeen, or even literally hanging at the Orlando Towers; there’s a place to suit your mood and lifestyle.
You can also check out the recently introduced Soweto Street Culture Festival on Vilakazi Street, the annual Soweto Wine Festival, The Locrate Market, the famous Fashion Week or even the Soweto Market – there’s something to keep the whole family entertained.
For a more familiar shopping/mall experience, visit Maponya Mall in Pimville. You will find everything here, from popular shops, restaurants, gyms and churches. So, whether you prefer going on a shopping spree, or having a chilled, laid-back day at one of the bars or even working out – Soweto is the place to be.
Getting around Soweto has never been easier. With every location being a few kilometres from each other, one can easily catch a local mini-van taxi (who will not charge you more than R10). They will take you to the Bara Taxi Rank where you can get transport to any location of your choice. If taxis aren’t your choice of travel, there is always the Rea Vaya bus service. This bus links Johannesburg CBD and Braamfontein with Soweto, making it a convenient way not only to travel within Soweto, but outside of the township too.
Being such an iconic township and a city on its own, Soweto is a major point of interest independently. If you haven’t yet made your way down there and soaked up the culture, vibe, traditions and history… best you do so soon. You don’t know what you’re missing!
Have you been here? Share with your thoughts and views with us below.