Soweto Tour – Ek Se Tours
I had a fantastic day with Lesika who was my guide, he owns Ek Se Tours. He is very passionate about South Africa and Soweto. We started off going up the Orlando Towers – quite scary in a wire “cage”, I tried not to look down too much! There is an adventure centre at the Towers, you can do bungy jumping, bridge swing and quad bikes at the base (great for our adventurous clients). You get a great view and orientation on Soweto and realise just how big it is.
We then explored Kliptown on foot, a very poor area in Soweto with communal taps and not many basic services eg no rubbish collection provided. We visited a wonderful community centre, called SKY which assists local children to have meals there and do their homework in the afternoon, some children stay in dormitories. We also drove past the Hector Pietersen Memorial and Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s houses.
We went on to Constitutional Hill where I joined a tour of the notorious Number 4 prison, it gives one a better understanding of what it was to be at the bottom of the racial hierarchy and how apartheid made criminals of many black men. Prisoners included Ghandi, Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela and the Students of the 1976 uprising. The Old Fort (housing white prisoners) and Women’s jail are also part of the complex. It was a chilling experience, detailing daily life in the cells. The jail operated from 1892 until 1983 when it was closed due to massive overcrowding and disease.
We also had a look inside our Constitutional Court where 11 judges stand guard over the Constitution and protect everyone’s human rights.
I ended the afternoon with a visit to Lilieslief Farm in Rivonia, another incredible Museum and part of our history - Nelson Mandela was arrested here as were the Rivonia trialists. It has amazing exhibits which are interactive and very informative. Clients should spend a few hours here.
Inner City Walking Tour
I did this tour with my family and felt completely comfortable and amazed to see how the inner city is being revamped. A lot of roads have been closed and are now public walk ways and many stores like Woolworths and others have opened up. The history (125 years) since Johannesburg was first put on the map due to the discovery of Gold, right through to now is covered but it is not overly- political and very different to a Soweto Tour and Apartheid Museum which are both excellent tours. It includes passing by excellent retail shopping and then in Braamfontein lots of art galleries and coffee shops.
The great thing about this tour is that it is a Walking tour – like you would do in any other large international city and after sitting in game drive vehicles for a few days, what a pleasure to stretch the legs!!