Categories > Guides and Tips

Everything You Need to Know about Soweto in Johannesburg

Everything You Need to Know about Soweto in Johannesburg

Welcome to Soweto

Soweto is a historical township alright, but it’s so much more than just the epicentre of political change in South Africa. 

Aside from famous streets (e.g. Vilakazi) and memorials honouring the men and women who stood up against apartheid, Soweto has so much more to offer!

It has a thriving local food scene that we recommend you check out during your trip. Plus, there are tons of tourist spots and activities for you to enjoy like a cultural tour of the Credo Mutwa Village and traditional South African shows at the Soweto Theatre!

Where is Soweto?

Where is Soweto

Soweto is a township located to the left of Johannesburg City and just below Roodepoort, making it a fantastic place for day trips or tours coming from the city centre.

What is the main street in Soweto? 

The main street in Soweto is also one of the most popular streets in South Africa—Vilakazi Street. It goes right through the township and ends on both sides with the Kumalo Main Road and Pela Main Road.

How to Get to Soweto

By Bus: To get from the Johannesburg City Centre to Soweto, you can take the bus from Library Gardens. You then ride the bus to Lakeview Station in Soweto, which will take you around 26 minutes of total travel time.

We think this is the best option if you want to get to Soweto quickly and cheaply (at just ZAR 26.30). 

Plus, you can do a bit of sightseeing going from Joburg to Soweto as you pass by the different stations (e.g., Chancellor House, Westgate, Boomtown, and Klipspruit).

By Train: You can also take the train going to Soweto by embarking on the Metrorail Station in Johannesburg. Ride this train and pass through different stations (e.g., Langlaagte, Dube, Ikwezi, and Inhalazane) until you reach Merafe Station.

The train ride to Soweto will take you around 46 minutes, but it will also be the cheapest option at just ZAR 9. We recommend taking the train if you’re not in a hurry and if you’re trying to keep your spending in check.

By Taxi: Lastly, you can also take a taxi going to Soweto from Johannesburg City Centre if you want to get there fast. Riding a taxi will only take you around 20 minutes, but it will also cost you more at around ZAR 460.

We recommend that you take a taxi to Soweto if you’re travelling with family or with a large group and if you have excess funds to use during your trip to Johannesburg.

Best Time to Visit

If you want to commemorate the historical significance of Soweto, we recommend visiting the area during Youth Day (June 16).

During this holiday, you can check out the activities in the area such as the Youth Day Dance and Soweto City Sightseeing tours where you can visit the Mandela House and Soweto Towers, among others.

What to Do and See in Soweto

Address: 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West


Contact Number: +27119367754

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM


  • ZAR 60 for foreigners
  • ZAR 40 for local adults
  • ZAR 20 for local kids

One of the most popular (and most important) tourist spots in Soweto is the Mandela House. This is the actual residence of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and it’s a site of great historical significance that you shouldn’t miss.

Aside from the Mandela family growing and thriving at the said site, the home also witnessed the oppression of the family (and the nation) during apartheid. 

Inside, we found that the interiors had a rustic suburban African house feel with black and white pictures hanging on the walls.

Pro Tip:
If you are passionate about preserving history and highlighting the importance of struggling against oppression, then you can also donate to the Mandela House.

From j_manning_za

Address: Cnr Klipspruit Valley Road & Union Road Kliptown, Pimville Zone 9


Contact Number: +27119452200

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM


  • Free

Walter Sisulu Square is another must-visit spot during your trip to Soweto thanks to its historical importance in the fight of South Africans against apartheid. 

In June of 1955, the Congress of the People clashed here with the apartheid state, proposing a vision of the country that was not based on racial segregation.

We took a stroll along the well-maintained laws of its open-air museum and took pictures of its brick tower that contains the engraved constitutional charter of South Africa.

Pro Tip:
The Walter Sisulu Square sometimes hosts concerts. You can check out their Facebook for more information.

Address: Cnr Bolani Link and Bolani Rd, Jabulani


Contact Number: +27119307461 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM


  • Around ZAR 150 (depending on the event)

The Soweto Theatre will immerse you in the local arts of South Africa. 

Not only do they feature performances from local artists, but they also include other culturally significant activities like their fashion week and ballroom dance featuring local apparel and performers respectively.

Some of these include song and dance performances, Bible worship book launches, and even financial advice seminars. 

What truly impressed us, though, is the theatre’s Schools Setwork Festival when the theatre brings its presentations to different universities in Johannesburg!

Pro Tip:
Check out their website before your visit so you know what performances to expect.

Address: 976 Phiela St, Orlando East


Contact Number: +27767072488

Operating Hours:

  • Depends on the tour schedule booked (tours take around 3 hours)


  • Around ZAR 185 per guest per tour

Food is an important part of a nation’s culture, and that rings very true here at the Wozobona Cultural House. 

The site’s staff gave us a tour of the area that showed the daily life and struggles of the Ubuntu tribe. We saw the traditions of these tribesmen and women during their heyday.

The highlight of the tour, though, is the township meal which features Ubuntu dishes like Jamaican beef patty, peppered gizzard, and suya bowl (charred beef). 

After the meal, don’t forget to check out the exhibits displayed at the museum and listen to the traditional music played onsite.

Pro Tip:
The tours offered by the Wozobona Cultural House are carefully curated, so it’s best to reserve your slot to get your preferred date of visit.

From wolflulama

Address: 991 Bochabela St, Jabavu


Contact Number: +27129301813

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM


  • Free

The Credo Mutwa Cultural Village is an outdoor museum that you need to see and visit if you want to immerse yourself in African culture and beliefs. 

The pieces featured on site are the works of the famed local healer Credo Mutwa, and each of the works displayed is believed to have the power of foretelling the future.

This museum also has a garden where you and your loved ones can just take in the vibe and the works of art around the museum. 

Pro Tip:
Wear something light and comfy during your visit to the village. As we mentioned earlier, this tourist spot is an outdoor experience that will require you to walk around the vicinity.

Where to Eat and Drink in Soweto

Address: 6980 Vilakazi St, Orlando West


Contact Number: +27115361379 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM 

Cost: $$

Sakhumzi Restaurant offers local cuisine that will make your South African trip truly memorable. 

We tried out their best-selling Ubuntu ox liver and Southgate pork ribs. The ox liver was tender and flavourful while the pork ribs had that fall-off-the-bone smoky goodness!

Address: 8038 Vilakazi St, Orlando West


Contact Number: +27115365690 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Friday to Sunday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM 

Cost: $$

Vuyos Restaurant is another gem of a find here in Soweto offering modern African cuisine that will surely tickle your taste buds. 

Our favourite here is definitely their platter with its assortment of tender but juicy chicken, smoky lamb chops and steaks, and salty and crispy chips!

Address: 6974 Vilakazi St, Orlando West


Contact Number: +27814303165 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday, 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 AM
  • Sunday, 9:00 AM to 12:00 MN 

Cost: $

Makhelwane Restaurant is another restaurant serving delicious South African meals that include beef stew, lamb stew, and braai meat. 

Plus, the ambience of this place is amazing with a wide open space for its outdoor dining area and cosy interiors perfect for family gatherings or group reunions.

From zola_hashatsi

Address: 618 Makhalemele St, Dube


Contact Number: +27 11 982 2796 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM 

Cost: $

We recommend that you visit Wandies Place if you want to experience the different flavours of South African cuisine when in Soweto. 

Our family fell in love with their beef stew thanks to its thick broth and tender meat. It’s a perfect hot dish for rainy weather. 

Where to Shop in Soweto

Address: 2601 Bolani Rd, Jabulani


Contact Number: +27119303333

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Located right in the middle of Soweto, this mall has everything you can ever need! 

We wanted to see the latest gadgets on offer here so we went to Ackermans Connect Mobile Store. It has a ton of mobile plans and mobile units on offer that we couldn’t make up our minds!

From wethepeopleza

Address: Cnr &, Nicholas, Diepkloof


Contact Number: +27119387016  

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

This mall is one we highly recommend you visit if you want to buy necessities during your travel. 

We liked the grocery, Shoprite, where we were able to score some food items and beverages with huge discounts.

You also need to drop by the clothing boutique right beside Shoprite, Pep. It offers high-quality casual and sports apparel for men, women, and kids.

From fashionjeremiah__

Address: Chris Hani Rd, Protea South


Contact Number: +27 15 296 1401 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Variety is the name of the game at Protea Gardens Mall! From branded apparel (Adidas and Nike shoes) to kitchen needs (like olive oil and potato chips), we saw slashed prices that were truly tempting.

Where to Stay in Soweto

Address: Union Ave, Kliptown


Contact Number: +27115277300 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, Check-in time at 2:00 PM and check-out time at 11:00 AM

Book Now

Soweto Hotel & Conference Centre is a classy hotel that we recommend you stay in or at the very least visit. 

Aside from their top-notch accommodations, we liked that the interiors keep in line with the area’s historical significance with portraits of important figures decking the walls of this property. 

We were checking in via their guest reception area, and we ended up staring at the picture of Nelson Mandela hanging behind the front desk. 

It didn’t end there though, as our rooms also had pictures of important events (e.g. the oath-taking of Nelson Mandela) to satisfy the history buff in us!

From: christian_hlalethwa 

Address: 4985 Skosana St, Orlando East


Contact Number: +27603576611

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Sunday, Check-in time at 2:00 PM and check-out time at 11:00 AM

Book Now

If you’re looking for a no-frills hotel when in Soweto, then Soweto Towers Guest Accommodation is an accommodation you need to consider. 

What we liked most about this location is how near it is to two landmarks—just 4 minutes away from Mandela House and Soweto Towers!

Related topics