Soweto is not just the biggest township of South Africa, with around 3,5 million people, but it's also known for the Soweto Uprising, where around 10.000 students demonstrated and got shot by policemen on 16 June 1976.
Today it's where you can do bicycle tours!
I did a favela tour in Rio de Janeiro just a month before and last year the Masiphumelele township tour close to Cape Town. I would have expected a similar tour and experience in Soweto, but it was not. This felt more like cycling through a usual neighbourhood.
I'm not saying that it is one, but it felt like it.
There was lots of space and most houses had gardens and their own ground. The streets were rather wide and not very busy. Very different to my other two "similar" tours.
We did a 2 hour bicycle tour, which was OK, but I would certainly recommend doing the 4 hour one, which will for sure give you a much better picture of Soweto. We were shown a "cultural dance" and the Hector Pieterson Memorial, one of the first dead students of the Uprising. We also stopped at Nelson Mandela's former house. I haven't been inside, as it's just a usual house. To find out more about Nelson Mandela, I highly recommend visiting the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.
The cycle tours are run by Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, which is also a cool place to stay. The 2 hour tours cost around € 32 per person, which is a fair price. But if you would compare that to the monthly income of around € 600, which many people in Soweto earn, it seems a bit high? But the bikes are in a good condition and you can choose between mountain bikes and shoppers.
First it might feel strange to see how people live in a township, but no worries! The people like you to come and see, that you are interested to find out more!
If I would recommend doing a Soweto township tour when visiting Johannesburg?
Travel tip shared by Melvin for Travel Dudes.