Soweto is an urban area situated in the southern half of Gauteng in South Africa. The area’s name is an abbreviated form of the township’s original name, taking the first two letters of each word: “South Western Township”.
The area has a long and rich history and some of the original townships which came together to form Soweto have been around since the First World War. The area was also a central point in the struggle against Apartheid with Soweto being the site of the 1976 Soweto uprising.
Today the area has developed its own culture and was one of the founding places of a South African form of hip hop called Kwaito which originated in the country’s townships. It is home to two soccer teams, a tennis tournament, a marathon and a wine festival. There is a Soweto Internet radio station, a Soweto TV channel and the Sowetan newspaper which are all media sources dedicated to Soweto. The area also has several sports stadiums, including the FNB Stadium which is Africa’s largest stadium and is home to the South African national football team – Bafana Bafana.
There are a number of things to do in Soweto for visiting tourists, including the Nelson Mandela National Museum, the Hector Pieterson Museum and the Regina Mundi church as well as a number of other Apartheid struggle memorials.
Some of the most popular attractions include a number of day tours which are available to take visitors through Soweto allowing them to experience the unique and rich culture which has developed in the township. In addition to this is the bungee jumping that is open daily from the top of the Orlando Towers, two cooling towers of a decommissioned coal fired power station which are a prominent feature on the Soweto skyline. Visitors can bungee jump from a bridge which spans the gap of the two cooling towers or just enjoy the beautiful view of Soweto from the top of the 100m tall structures.
Activities and Attractions
Soweto has a range of activities for it's visitors:
Usizo Lwenkosi Soweto Tours
Soweto Bicycle Tours
Hector Pieterson Memorial
Orlando West Regional Park
Although most tours in the area are day tours, accommodation is available in the area for those looking to stay the night in Soweto, including guest houses, bed and breakfasts and self-catering units. Please see our Accommodation Directory for a full listing.