Soweto possesses a vibrant culture and history, a fact that becomes especially apparent when searching for something to do in the area. If you're looking for entertainment, Soweto has attractions as far as the eye can see – quite literally – when you take the spectacular Orlando Towers into consideration!
For the thrill of a lifetime, take to the skies (for a moment) and bungee jump off the top of the Orlando Cooling Towers. If that isn't challenging (or terrifying) enough for you, put on a custom-made straitjacket and bungee jump without the use of your arms!
SCAD (Suspended Catch Air Device) freefalling - sound terrifying? If not, then read on! The world’s highest SCAD freefall takes place inside the Western Cooling Tower. If you are a serious adrenaline junkie in search of entertainment in Soweto, you'll find it at the Orlando Cooling Towers.
Interested in base jumping? Look no further! The Soweto Towers are base jump friendly, offering base jumping as an option for experienced jumpers. If you're a bit less adventurous, but still in search of a thrill, climbing the towers will offer oodles of entertainment and challenge experienced and beginner climbers alike. Try a 25m climbing wall and challenge your abilities!
MadMead Brewery launched Soweto Gold lager and opened the uBuntu Kraal Brewery in Soweto to commemorate 20 years of freedom and democracy. Soweto Gold was named the top craft beer in South Africa, so the brewery is definitely worth visiting for a taste of this brew.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Ubuntu Kraal Brewery is situated in Orlando West, Soweto. This location is of particular historic significance, being home to sites such as:
The site of the brewery was previously a construction site in the late 1980s. Today this former ash dump has been transformed into conference facilities, a cultural village, brewery, entertainment area, bar and restaurants, and private overnight accommodation.
Walter Sisulu Square is situated in the heart of Kliptown, Soweto. This township centre is unique, the first of its kind. Embracing both local and international trends, historical and modern, the Square epitomises the spirit of ekasi and Soweto. Ideal for family excursions, or for a shopping trip unlike any other, Walter Sisulu Square is a place unlike any other - and promises that is entertainment just as unique.
Points of interest at Walter Sisulu Square include:
Kremetart Park opened in Soweto in 2008, and has rapidly become a firm family favourite. The park is equipped with two miniature soccer fields constructed from sand as opposed to grass, in a bid to create an environmentally-friendly play area. The park also includes water features, benches, indigenous trees, and a large space to host events and fun fairs. Kremetart Park is also unique, in that it possesses a big-screen television where World Cup events were previously screened by Ekasi TV, and free broadcasts continue to be screened today.
Mofolo Park is located in Mzilikazi Street in Soweto. It is a popular park amongst Sowetans, and is best known for the vibrant concerts regularly held on its grounds, as well as the celebrations and events which take place there. Mofolo has seen both local and international musicians grace its stage. Notable events have included the first Drum Beat Soweto music concert in 2011, as well as recent Youth Day celebrations. Mofolo was previously a dump site, which makes its conversion into a colourful, beautiful place of artistic expression even more meaningful.
Plan D Scuba Adventures & Scubaholics offers a world of exploring with their adventures and tailored destination packages.
35 12th Avenue, Parktown North.
For more information, visit their website.
Section 12 J of the Income Tax Act was introduced in 2008 to stimulate much-needed equity funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. What makes this attractive for investors is that they get a 100% tax deduction against their investment into a Section 12 J venture capital company. This has a positive impact on the South African economy as small businesses are the future. One of the leaders in the Section 12 J arena is Lucid Ventures. Its investment committee reads like a fantasy rugby league draft: Gidon Novick (founder of Kulula.com), Alon Apteker (ex-director of Dimension Data), Leor Atie (Exec. Director of Saicom Voice), Rowan Williams (head of co-founder of iCapital), Neil Eppel (Executive at Sasfin Capital), and Jordin Borer as the investment hunter.
We met up with Jordin Borer to chat about their latest endeavours. Our meeting place was at Lucid's latest baby – Jamie's Italian in Melrose Arch. What makes Lucid so attractive is not only the financial capital they invest into SMEs, but the human capital that comes with every venture they take. As evident, the board of this Section 12 J company is jam-packed with years upon years of experience. This allows Lucid to guide business owners in the right direction.
Lucid Ventures raised money from a very select group of investors to curate and harbour its own pool of human capital. This group of 15 investors are all brilliant in their own right. Lucid Ventures initially set out to invest in technology but soon realised that the South African tech market is not yet developed enough to be seen as a stable avenue to venture down. Instead, the committee had a look at the hospitality and food industry in the country, which is booming. The principles of a Lucid deal is an initial investment of R2-million to R10-million for a minority stake in any given SME. Investee companies need to be driven by successful and ambitious entrepreneurs. This deployment of capital is intended to accelerate business growth and assist companies in dominating their individual markets.
The Lucid Ventures Portfolio (as at the time of writing):
Lucid Ventures has invested in Jamie Oliver's signature restaurant, “Jamie’s Italian”. Jamie’s is operated by highly experienced and successful restaurateurs. The first store was opened in Melrose Arch in December 2016, with further plans to roll out stores nationally.
Lucid has acquired a significant stake in Tented Adventures. Tented Adventures owns and operates tented camps along popular tourist routes throughout Southern Africa. Its existing locations include the Kruger National Park and Pilanesberg Game Reserves. The innovative model and attractive hospitality ecosystem will allow for substantial growth with a very favourable outlook.
Lucid Ventures has acquired a number of apartments in the Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence Cape Town. The iconic former Safmarine House has been redeveloped into a five-star hotel with the addition of luxury sectional title apartments. The Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence is situated in Cape Town’s Waterside precinct, the financial and legal centre of Cape Town, where the CBD and the docklands meet.
City Helicopters was founded by Lucid Ventures and Enzo Kuun in January 2017. Based in Cape Town, City Helicopters provides leisure and adventure helicopter flights around scenic Western Cape routes. The experienced fleet is comprised a Bell 206 Jet Ranger with registration ZS-RTT.
By Shawn Greyling
Growing up in Swaziland, as little children we would pick litchis, bananas, mango's and mulberries from the fruit trees. Chewing on sugar cane that we had cut from the fields was also something we just loved. Now, years later, I look back with fondness at the delight of picking my own fruit and veg, and while I can get all of this at the local grocery store, the DIY experience makes me nostalgic.
The Camdeboo Peach Farm is, as the name suggests, a peach farm. However, the big difference is that your average peach farm can't be found across the road from the Dome in North Riding — not to mention the fact that they aren't a commercial peach farm but rather a hidden nook in Johannesburg focused on bringing the farm lifestyle to you.
The idea is simple — it's a peach orchid and vegetable greenhouse which is open to the public for picking. You get boxes supplied to you on arrival which you can fill to your heart's (and stomach's) content, all of which go for R20 a kilo. Brilliant, right? Owner Juliana even encourages you to taste as you go along!
There is a café on the property aptly named the Peach Café. It has a constantly evolving menu of delicious bits and pieces (but peach smoothies and wood fire pizza's are staples). The café and pizza oven are an absolute sight for sore eyes with loosely wound bamboo and palm thatching lightly blocking the sun, making you feel like you've stepped into a hidden fantasy world. You'd never say you were in Joburg!
The other mind-blowing thing about the Peach Café is that they use Sun Cookers to get a lot of their meals going. Simply put, this is a solar-powered method for cooking your meals, leaving the smallest of carbon footprints. I love this idea so much that I'm making space on my patio for one.
There’s also a tiny farm stall on the property that stocks preserves of all kinds, while other specialities include Egyptian Dukkah, peaches in syrup (and I even saw a peach and chilli curry preserve which I promised myself I would pick up the next time I'm there).
Juliana at the Cafe confirmed that they do NOT have a liquor license, however wine fans are allowed to bring their own bottles to sip while enjoying one of the cheese platters on offer — these are complemented by a fresh pizza bread from the wood oven.
Unfortunately, words cannot describe the delight of this gem and what's better is that it's right here in Johannesburg, so you have no excuse not to go see for yourself.
Address: Travel along Witkoppen road, towards Fourways Mall or Northgate, turn off at Market Street towards Maroeladal. Follow the signs until you get to the farm gate (less than one kilometre) where you will find free and secure parking.
Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm
Peach Picking — Last weekend October — Early December
Fresh Vegetables — Last weekend October — Last weekend March
Peach Cafe — Last weekend October — Last weekend March
Farm Closed — Mid December — Mid January.
NB: due to the unpredictable nature of farming, opening times and dates can change.
by Byron Marais
Monkeying around in trees is the perfect outdoor activity if you are looking to spend a sunny afternoon with friends and family or, better yet, to overcome your fear of heights. Head down to Acrobranch Melrose or Huddle Park for an afternoon of tree swinging, nets, obstacles, zip lines, exercise, and fresh air.
The first time I played paintball, I had no clue what to expect. All I can say is it’s great fun, but you do walk away with a few ouchies and bruises. For an action-packed activity with friends, the Woods Paintball in Fourways offers you a day on the battlefield. Booking is essential.
Jumping out of a plane isn’t my idea of an adventure (extreme heights frighten the life out of me), but maybe some of you would find it exhilarating! Tandems4U offers you an opportunity to cross skydiving off your bucket list! No training needed, you are securely harnessed to a qualified professional and enjoy the ride, which includes a video and pictures to prove you actually did it!
Parys River Rafting offers a great experience for everyone, young and old. River rafting down the Vaal River sounds like a great way to spend a hot spring day! They have a variety of river rafting options to choose from, depending on whether you want a mild or rough rafting experience. Rafting durations can range between one and a half to seven hours depending on the route you take. Booking is essential.
It takes a lot of bravery to go bungee jumping! This is one activity that I will never see myself doing, but maybe you will have more guts to do it than I do! Orlando Towers in Soweto offers you the opportunity to bungee between the two towers, 100m above the ground with an amazing panoramic view of Soweto. And, if you want more adventure after your bungee jump, there are other activities available.
There is nothing better than go-kart racing with friends at the Kart Circuit in Zwartkops. This is the perfect activity for bachelor and bachelorette parties, team building, or just for a day out for a little bit of fun. All you have to do is call them ahead, make a booking, arrive and drive!
Quad biking has always been one of my favourite adventure activities when I am on holiday out in Clarens, but luckily you don’t have to drive all the way out there to have a little bit of fun. Drive down to Magaliesberg for a day of quad biking. This Magaliesberg quad trailis great fun, no matter what level of experience you have.
Whether you just want to have a slow, relaxed walk through beautiful scenery, or a fast action-packed ride to get the adrenaline pumping, Shepherds Fold Stables in Lanseria has great horseback riding experiences for all to enjoy, no matter what level of experience.
I have always wanted to learn how to manage a gun or do some Robin Hood antics with archery, and I found the perfect place if you are keen on that kind of thing too! Visit Guthries Shooting Range and try out a variety of firearms. And, if you want to try your hand at archery, they have a range of bows available for hire and archery instructors to help you out.
Looking to do something that will literally have you living on the edge? Visit Wild Cave Adventures and do the Glenburn Abseil on the Swartkops Mountain. There is an abseil course for beginners, and this rockface abseiling takes about three to four hours. And if that’s not your thing, take it underground and explore the caves! This is perfect for a team building exercise!
If we haven't included your favourite spot on our list, please share below!
Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.