“An air-conditioned bus does not give you high-fives as you drive by,” says Kgomotso Pooe, owner of SoWeToo Tours.
SoWeToo Tours is different from other tour companies in that it encourages visitors and tourists to experience Soweto life just like locals.
“Touch, smell and interacting with locals” is the best way to get the most from your Soweto experience, Kgomotso says.
Kgomotso only hires chaperones from Soweto, as they understand the best areas to visit to experience the different elements of Soweto, as well as places and people to avoid.
A typical day with SoWeToo Tours includes tasting local cuisine such as “skopa”, which is roasted sheep’s head; going bungee jumping at the Orlando Towers; or a game of paintball.
To learn more, visit the SoWeToo website: www.sowetoo.co.za.
Lebo’s Backpackers and Cycling Tours
Owned by Lebo Malepa, the vision of Lebo’s Backpackers and Cycling Tours is to offer affordable accommodation and to introduce cycling as a way of experiencing Soweto and its surrounds.
But the company is not limited to cycling – Lebo and his guides also do walking and tuk-tuk tours. The cycling tours are the most popular, though, and two-hour, four-hour and full-day tours of Soweto are offered.
“The cycling tours bring something new to touring Soweto. Tourists want full exposure and if you are in a car, there are some limitations. Also, tourists are conscious of global warming, so providing a cycling experience puts them at ease,” Lebo says.
Turning his home into Lebo’s Backpackers and Cycling Tours initially raised eyebrows, but Lebo was able to change his parents’ and neighbours’ perceptions.
“When you bring strangers into your home, there will be a lot of sceptical people, including my parents. But as the business grew, perceptions changed and we are now able to benefit the whole community.
“The open space just across from Lebo’s Backpackers and Cycling Tours has now been turned into a recreational area – tourists can now play with the kids and just enjoy their time outdoors.
“The neighbours provide parking if visitors need some parking space, while our guests’ laundry is done by mamas (women) in the community. So the whole Lebo’s Backpackers and Cycling Tours experience is made possible by a collective, a community,” he says.
After a long day of touring Soweto, guests staying over at Lebo’s can gather around the fireplace and look forward to delicious African cuisine.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +27 (0)11 936 3444.
Ntokozo Dube of TK Tours facilitates educational and enjoyable tours of Kliptown and Walter Sisulu Square.
Ntokozo (32) grew up in Kliptown and has been involved in tourism for 10 years. He openly shares his challenges growing up in Soweto, and introduces his guests to some of the inspirational people who have helped him overcome these challenges.
With excellent knowledge of Soweto's history, within the broader South African context, Ntokozo comes across as more of an informative friend than a regimented tour guide.
Contact Ntokozo by phoning him on +27 (0)73 133 5234 or sending an email to email@example.com.
- Soweto tours can also be booked through City Sightseeing. Read more about it here.