Choose your country and language:

Africa

  • Global
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • DRC
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Americas

  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Brazil

Asia Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia

Europe

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
Back

TThe township of Soweto to the south-west of Johannesburg has transformed from a legacy of the apartheid era to a vibrant, energetic hub that will ignite your senses and immerse you in true South African culture. Soweto is significant for its role in the struggle against apartheid, so you can expect to find lots of historical sights. The easiest way to see it all is on an official township tour.

A tour of Soweto (short for South-Western Townships) is a must for any visitor keen to get a taste of the vibrant street life this township is famous for.

More of a city than a township, Soweto has its roots in the gold mines that drew workers to Johannesburg in the beginning. However, after the National Party was voted into power in 1948, Soweto grew rapidly as apartheid tightened its grip on the country and forced black people out of “white areas”.

Did You Know?
TThe film District 9 was shot in Soweto.

TToday, a tour of this sprawling area will show you the many milestones of South Africa’s turbulent political history.

First, you’ll see Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, where South Africa's Freedom Charter (a document used to help draft the country's Constitution) was signed in 1955.

Soweto

Food
When to visit
How to get here

AAnother important stop is the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, where the famous Soweto Uprising of 16 June 1976 took place. This event saw school pupils take to the streets to protest against the use of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in schools. The iconic news photograph of a dying 13-year-old Pieterson, cradled in the arms of a fellow school pupil after being shot by the police, drew attention to South Africa’s oppressive racial policies. When you see it, it’ll hit you hard, but it does put everything into perspective.

Then there’s the famous Vilakazi Street, once home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners, namely former president Nelson Mandela and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Here you can put your feet up for a bit, while you savour a delicious meal in one of the several taverns or restaurants.

OOther must-sees include the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, listed by the Guinness World Records in 1997 as the largest hospital in the world, as well as the vibrant Orlando Towers, where the more adventurous can get their adrenaline pumping with an urban bungee jump.

 The easiest way to experience Soweto is to go on a township tour where knowledgeable guides will educate you on the significance of so many places in our history. It could be anything from a whistle-stop two hours to a whole day or even an overnight stay. It’s up to you.

Who to contact
Best time to visit
Tours to do
What will it cost
Length of stay
What to pack
Where to stay
What to eat
What's happening
Best buys

Related articles

Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility - Feel the chill of one of SA’s most notorious gallows.

Vibrant culture
Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility - Feel the chill of one of SA’s most notorious gallows.

The Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility gallows is now a museum. It memorialises the 3500 souls who met lost their lives here.

Sakhumzi Restaurant - Soak up the kasi flavor at Sakhumzi Restaurant.

Vibrant culture
Sakhumzi Restaurant - Soak up the kasi flavor at Sakhumzi Restaurant.

Soak up Soweto’s rich cultural atmosphere at an important South African tourist destination, Sakhumzi Restaurant.

Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished

Vibrant culture
Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished

Chancellor House – Where Mandela & Tambo Attorneys once flourished

Mandela House (Houghton) - Take a look inside Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home.

Vibrant culture
Mandela House (Houghton) - Take a look inside Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home.

Thousands gathered to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy outside his Houghton home after his passing in late 2013.

Explore South Africa while sowing the seeds of rural upliftment

Vibrant culture
Explore South Africa while sowing the seeds of rural upliftment

Have you heard of Agritourism? This is a category of tourism that provides visitors the opportunity to experience everyday life on working farms, ranches, wineries and agricultural industries.

Place of human rights Constitution Hill, Johannesburg

Vibrant culture
Place of human rights Constitution Hill, Johannesburg

Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill remembers the horrors of the past, and yet embraces the promises of the future, marrying them with the reality of the present.

The face of an uprising, The Hector Pieterson Museum, Soweto

Vibrant culture
The face of an uprising, The Hector Pieterson Museum, Soweto

The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto's Khumalo Street recalls the events of 16 June 1976 and the ensuing Soweto Uprising.

Kliptown Open Air Museum

Vibrant culture
Kliptown Open Air Museum

The home of the Freedom Charter Kliptown Open Air Museum, Johannesburg

Tour the beloved country; the KwaZulu-Natal Freedom Route

Vibrant culture
Tour the beloved country; the KwaZulu-Natal Freedom Route

Tour the Beloved Country KwaZulu-Natal Freedom Route

Lilliesleaf Farm

Vibrant culture
Lilliesleaf Farm

Home of the Freedom Struggle Liliesleaf Farm

Mandela sites in Gauteng

Vibrant culture
Mandela sites in Gauteng

Nelson Mandela’s memory lives on in a number of places in Gauteng where he spent his formative political years, opening a legal practice and starting to play a leading role in the Struggle against apartheid.

In memory of those who sacrificed everything. Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct, Gauteng

Vibrant culture
In memory of those who sacrificed everything. Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct, Gauteng

In memory of those who sacrificed everything Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct, Gauteng

Alexandra township – a vibrancy that’s hard to beat

Vibrant culture
Alexandra township – a vibrancy that’s hard to beat

The next time you decide to try something new and different, why not go for a memorable township experience in the kasi (township) of all kasis: Alexandra.

South Africans food markets- Jozi

Vibrant culture
South Africans food markets- Jozi

Yes you may be in South Africa for the wildlife, sun, sea or all of the above, but the country is gaining a delicious reputation for its food.

Walk through South Africa’s history in Pretoria, the capital city

Vibrant culture

Walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind

Vibrant culture
Walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind

Have you ever wondered where we, human beings, came from? What led to this evolutionary revolution on Planet Earth? All of the answers can be found in one place: the Cradle of Humankind.

South Africa and its jazz scene

Vibrant culture
South Africa and its jazz scene

Jazz fans from around the world appreciate the skill and vibrant talent of South African jazz musicians.

Remembering the past at the Voortrekker Monument

Vibrant culture
Remembering the past at the Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument commemorates the epic exodus of disillusioned Boers from the Cape into the interior.

Pretoria Art Museum - a poignant collection of local art

Vibrant culture
Pretoria Art Museum - a poignant collection of local art

The Pretoria Art Museum’s collection policy has always focused on establishing a representative collection of local art.

Where it all began – Maropeng Visitor Centre, Cradle of Humankind

Vibrant culture
Where it all began – Maropeng Visitor Centre, Cradle of Humankind

Maropeng is the official visitors’ centre for the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site within easy distance of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Showcasing African art at the world-class Wits art museum

Vibrant culture
Showcasing African art at the world-class Wits art museum

World-class art museum showcasing African art.

The Apartheid Museum – a soulful reminder of the triumph of human spirit

Vibrant culture
The Apartheid Museum – a soulful reminder of the triumph of human spirit

A soulful reminder of the triumph of human spirit.

South Africa on social media

Copyright © 2018 South African Tourism
|Terms and conditions|Disclaimer|Privacy policy