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Johannesburg > Johannesburg Places to Visit & See > Sightseeing Tours & Safaris > Soweto Tour

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Soweto Tour

 
 
Close to Johannesburg, Soweto - an acronym for South Western Townships - is the most populous black urban residential area and also the most metropolitan. Its genesis lies in the segregationist planning of South Africa. Later it was also the hotbed of many political campaigns and anti-apartheid movements. The streets of Soweto have also given South Africa its political personalities, including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Both these Nobel peace prize laureates once lived in the famed Vilakazi Street in Orlando West.

The Soweto City Council organizes Soweto tours on every weekday morning from Carlton Center, Johannesburg. You may attend the Johannesburg-Soweto tour by making reservation from Soweto Tourism Information Office (Phone: 336-4961). There are also travel agencies organizing the Soweto tours from Johannesburg.

 
 
Typical Johannesburg-Soweto Tour Itinaries

On pick up, you will get a good overview of the suburbs and some of the city's top schools. An exciting experience is the new Constitutional Hill development incorporating the new Constitutional Court and the historic and notorious Johannesburg Fort, which was a prison from 1913 until the 1980's. This symbol of apartheid has now been creatively incorporated into the new development "blending the worst of the past into the best of the future".

Journey to the old inner-city of Johannesburg where the early mining "Randlords" established their mining houses, many early Johannesburg buildings survive and have important historical connections. The inner city remains the home of most of the major banks and a number of regeneration projects are underway. Newtown is an important initiative to create a vibrant cultural centre with new housing and commercial components. Visit the site where the main gold reef was discovered in 1886 and view an original shaft and the exposed reef as well as an early crushing mill.

Then it is onto Soweto - a "City within a City", home to more than 3.5 million people. Discover the connection with early Johannesburg and experience the special "township vibe". The visit takes in the Baragwanath Hospital and the huge and vibrant taxi rank, Africa in the raw. We enjoy a beer with some of the locals at a traditional house shebeen.

Visit the home of Nelson Mandela, now a museum and the famous Vilakazi Street. The Hector Pieterson Museum will give you a real feel of the drama of June 1976, when the students of Soweto took to the streets to protest against apartheid. A truly moving and educational experience!

The tour will take you to the full range of housing standards from squatter camps to up-market millionaire houses as well as the notorious single gender hostels. You get out and interact with the local communities, where a friendly and safe welcome awaits us everywhere. You also visit the famous Regina Mundi church a focal point of much of the struggle in the 70's and 80's. The Black Madonna and Child painting is housed here.

A highlight of any tour to Soweto is a typical "township" meal at one of the excellent restaurants in Soweto patronized by locals and tourists alike in their Johannesburg trip. You then leave Soweto to visit more of the historical sights of Johannesburg as well as the new areas of Sandton - one of the most modern and sophisticated commercial centers in the world.
 
 
 
 


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