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Soweto Tours

Mashaba Tours and Transfers has been offering bespoke tours of Johannesburg’s most famous township Soweto for many years. Our clients are international visitors, locals education institutions and private groups who simply want to discover the history of Jo’burg by seeing its heartland. We offer personalised guided Soweto Tours which hark back to the days when travelling was all about talking to the locals.

Our tours are always accompanied by our friendly, knowledgeable guides who can tell you many tales of Soweto’s past, present and future.

Half day Soweto Tour – Soweto Township

Our tour will introduce you to aspects of daily life in Soweto and the social fabric of this vibrant city as well as offer you some insights into its fascinating history.

Full day Soweto Tour – Soweto Township

After our HALF DAY SOWETO TOUR we enjoy lunch at one of Soweto’s many tavern restaurants where you can enjoy traditional township fare such as peri-peri chicken and pap, morogo (spinach) or chisa nyama and chakalaka.

Full day Soweto Tour – Soweto Township and Johannesburg City

After the JOHANNESBURG HALF DAY TOUR we will have lunch at and then drive to Soweto for a SOWETO HALF DAY TOUR.

Full day Soweto Tour – Soweto and Apartheid Museum

After the SOWETO HALF DAY TOUR we will have lunch at a tavern restaurant in Soweto and then drive to the Apartheid Museum.

Full day Tour – Johannesburg and Apartheid Museum

After the JOHANNESBURG HALF DAY TOUR we drive onto the M1 SOUTH to the Apartheid Museum where we will have lunch at the museum restaurant.

Full day Tour – Johannesburg, Soweto and Apartheid Museum

This tour combines the route and many of the attractions we visit in our JOHANNESBURG CITY HALF DAY TOUR and our SOWETO HALF DAY TOUR with a visit to the APARTHEID MUSEUM as well.

Booking your tour of Soweto with Mashaba Tours is easy. Simply contact us via email or by phone at 082 959 5686 or email at peter@mashabatours.co.za and we can offer you a variety of options for customisable tours. 

Soweto Tours Tailored to Your Specific Needs 

Our tours of Soweto start from any central Johannesburg address and can be tailored to your specific needs. We offer a comprehensive tour, known as the ‘Iconic Soweto Tour’ which takes you to all the famous sites such as the Mandela House, Hector Pieterson Memorial (Museum), Orlando Towers and many more. We also provide private tours where you can select your own custom itinerary options.

This is a good way for small groups to see the township without having to worry about other people’s preferences or schedules. You can choose to visit Nelson Mandela’s home, take a stroll through Vilakazi Street – Soweto’s very own ‘Melrose Place’ and even visit the Hector Pieterson Museum. We will do our utmost to ensure your tour is as special and unique as you are!

soweto tours with mashaba tours

A Passionate Approach to Local Tourism

Our tours of Soweto can also be combined with other activities such as township shopping, visits to the Cradle of Humankind and much more. African experiences like these usually give visitors a fuller idea of what life was like in South Africa during apartheid and what it is like now. They also give visitors the chance to buy unique African products directly from their source of origin 

Our tours are conducted by expert guides who can tell you much about Soweto’s history, people and culture. We pride ourselves on our passionate approach to tourism which emphasises the interaction between locals and visitors from all over the world. This is why our tours of Soweto are so popular amongst travellers who want to hear the stories straight from the source.

Get Blown Away by the Iconic Soweto Tour

Soweto is a vibrant, energetic township that has come a long way since its days as a symbol of apartheid for non-white South Africans. Visitors will be blown away by the sheer size and energy of this historic township.

Mashaba Tours and Transfers is a family-run tour company that has been in business for many years. It aims to provide high-quality services at low prices. As an active member of the tourism industry, Mashaba Tours and Transfers is committed to promoting South Africa as a truly ‘world-class destination’ by offering tours that are good for your budget and also give guests the best possible experience.

Mashaba Tours and Transfers takes great pride in its wide-ranging services which include transfers, travel, tours and accommodation bookings throughout South Africa. Whether you want to visit Soweto, Mapungubwe or the Cradle of Humankind we will find an affordable and exciting itinerary for you.

Dedicated to Offering Tourists a Truly Authentic South African Experience

We aim to provide a service that is personal and friendly by giving our clients all the information they require to have an enjoyable visit to South Africa. We also want visitors from around the world to have an authentic South African experience which is why our tours are structured in a way that gives you the chance to interact with locals wherever possible.

Our tours are well priced because we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of South Africa, no matter what your budget. This is also why our tour guides are local people who will take you beyond the usual tourist spots and provide a first-hand experience of what life in the township is really like.

Soweto is a unique place, shrouded by history and social change which should be experienced firsthand. Mashaba Tours and Transfers makes it easy for travellers from all over the world to visit this important landmark as we offer transfers from your hotel/accommodation in Johannesburg to Soweto. We can also organise a transfer from your hotel at the end of your tour for a small fee.

Soweto is only 30km from Johannesburg and is known as ‘the largest township in South Africa’. It was founded in the 1930s by the then racially segregated government due to overcrowding in the city. For decades, Soweto was an infamous symbol of apartheid and it remains a place where many significant events during this time took place.

Soweto is home to about 1.3 million people (according to Statistics South Africa) and features unique neighbourhoods that give a fascinating insight into life as a black South African during apartheid – including vibrant religious communities, educational institutions and places of entertainment.

Soweto: The Heart and Soul of Africa

The township is often described as the “heart and soul of Africa” due to its rich mix of South African, French and Portuguese culture which can be experienced during a Soweto tour. Visitors will also meet local people in markets, shops and schools to learn more about their daily lives in this vibrant community.

Our tour guides will take you on a journey of discovery where you can learn about the history and culture of South Africa. You will hear captivating personal stories from your guide who is passionate about sharing their local knowledge with visitors from around the world. We also offer specialised tours which focus on the music, art and architecture of Soweto.

Soweto is also the home of Nelson Mandela and you will have the chance to visit his former house on Vilakazi Street which recently opened as a museum. The focus of the tour is to share this historic moment with visitors so that everyone can learn about what life was like for Madiba during his time in Soweto.

Enjoy a Memorable and Affordable ‘SoweTour’ Experience with Mashaba Tours 

We are passionate about showing guests from around the world that South Africa is not just about game reserves and beaches. We aim to provide an affordable tour experience that showcases the rich diversity of our country through township tours, city tours, wine tasting adventures and more.

We look forward to showing you why South Africa is known as the ‘ Rainbow Nation ‘, regardless of whether this is your first time visiting or your hundredth! Contact us today if you need more information on our travel packages.

A Brief History of the South Western Townships [Soweto]

Soweto means ‘South Western Townships’ and is located on the outskirts of South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg. The township comprises a sprawling 40 square mile sprawl of houses, shacks and matchbox-sized flats – and has a population of more than 1.2 million people. It is the world’s largest black-only township and was formed as a result of the Group Areas Act (1950) and, as such, is also one of South Africa’s oldest.

The origins of Soweto can be traced back to 1912 when thousands of black labourers moved to the city in search of work. They camped on the outskirts of the city in an area known as ‘Isandlwana’. This later became to be known as Newtown, after the white suburb of the same name.

The introduction of the infamous ‘dompas’ in 1952 saw black people being forcibly removed from Johannesburg’s central business district and rehoused 10 miles away in the township of Soweto. This compulsory relocation policy aimed to force blacks out of Johannesburg and into specific areas, to avoid urbanisation. But the move also had a financial element to it, since whites were only allowed to rent homes in white areas and so black people were now viewed as an economic threat.

The first major wave of migrants to Soweto came from other parts of the country and settled in Pimville, located on the outskirts of Soweto. By 1959, Pimville (designated as a blacks-only area) was nestled amid several suburbs designated for whites – and racial tension was growing.

In 1955, following a surge in popularity of the African National Congress (ANC), the government took action against their activities. On 21 March of that year, 69 people were detained without trial following a protest against the forced carrying of passes. This event is now known as the infamous ‘Treason’ trial and was a major turning point in the anti-apartheid struggle.

On June 26, 1976, the then South African President, John Vorster, announced that black people were to be removed from Soweto and relocated to the nearby township of Tladi. Residents were given just one day’s notice to leave their homes but thousands refused to leave their homes and instead stayed in the streets.

A few days later, when South African police failed to move everyone out of Tladi, they changed their tactics and drove through the suburbs of Soweto at high speed in armoured cars. Residents who had not heeded the warning before were forced to leave their homes this time.

The 1976 Soweto Student Uprising 

The Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976 was the most visible resistance in a series of protests against apartheid. It was sparked by an Afrikaans language order, which the government claimed was intended to improve the education of black students. However, students were outraged by the new order which forced them to be taught in Afrikaans and refused to accept the government’s explanation.

The uprising began on June 16, 1976, when more than 20 000 black high school students took to the streets of Soweto to protest the new education policy. Police fired on the protesting students, killing at least 500 and injuring many more. The violence escalated over the next few years and spread across SouthAfrica.

In the 1980s, the government of South Africa was in a state of crisis and it was during this time that they passed some laws that were considered by many to be unjust and unfair. During the presidency of P. W. Botha, who ruled until 1989, the country entered a state of emergency as a result of the growing violence.

In 1985, thousands were rendered homeless when their shanty towns, built on cheap land outside the cities, were bulldozed by police. In 1989 a new South African president, F.W De Klerk, was elected and in February 1990 he unbanned the African National Congress. Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in May 1994 after the country’s first democratic election.

Soweto Today 

 Today, Soweto is still an important suburb of Johannesburg with more than 1 million people living there. The township has also become more ethnically diverse since it first became established and now consists mainly of black Africans alongside a large number of smaller groups. Chinese, Indian and other foreign shop owners are also common in the area.

Although this multiculturalism is new to Soweto, it is consistent with the township’s history which saw people of different races and cultures forced together to make a community. This diversity is an important part of what makes Soweto significant in South African history, and its continued presence is what will keep it from being forgotten. 

Soweto as a Tourism Destination 

Soweto is becoming more of a tourist attraction for people who are interested in South African history and the apartheid movement. It is an extremely important part of South African history because it has become known as the home to some of the largest protests against apartheid; it was the sight of major violence between protestors and police.

Soweto was home to many important people who fought for the end of apartheid and a free South Africa, such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. It was also the sight of protests hurtling towards the goal of a free South Africa. 

Soweto is surrounded by historical importance making it an important site for South African tourism. Let Mashaba Tours and Transfers help you discover this world-famous historic township with a customised tour.

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