Schweet Soweto

Private Property South Africa
Lucy Sarah Heaney

Take a night out to stay in the heart of Soweto.

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers is an Orlando West gem. Overflowing with good food, good music, and great vibes, Lebo’s has established itself as the perfect place to spend a night (or two, or more) in the heart of Soweto for tourists and locals, and once you spend time there, it’s easy to see why.

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Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers was opened in 2003 by Lebo, who runs the business today with the help of his wife Maria – a Swedish national who spent a year in South Africa and loved it so much that she stayed. Very much a family-run operation, Lebo and Maria are committed to making every guest who stays with them feel as though they’re part of the family, which is a big part of why this haven for travellers has set itself apart as a must-stay spot. Sitting around the fire in the communal area, you’re as likely to meet and make friends with visitors from America and Holland as you are to bond with South Africans – Lebo’s is open to anyone looking for a relaxed atmosphere and fantastic meals.

As Joburgers, we mostly look further than the 20-minute drive to Soweto for our weekend breaks, but Maria says an increasing number of locals are choosing to visit Lebo’s when they need some time out. While enjoying a beer and our bunny chow at lunch in the sunshine, I completely understood why: despite being so close to home, Lebo’s made me feel like I was on holiday far away from the stresses of everyday life – I could have happily stayed all week.

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The highlight of staying at Lebo’s is the Soweto Bicycle Tours, which are either two-hours or four-hours long. Even if you’re not staying at the backpackers, take some time out over a weekend and sign up for a tour, which includes everything from tasting traditional food to stopping on Vilakazi Street. Don’t wait until you’ve got overseas visitors to spend some time with Lebo and his incredible team – this beautiful spot in Soweto will have you rushing back to Orlando whenever you can.

Experience it for yourself:

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers and Soweto Bicycle Tours

011 936 3444

sowetobackpackers.com

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a journey through the Soweto neighbourhood:

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Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Soweto
A vibrant , colourful community
Soweto is a lot bigger than one would envision from a map, and also offers a lot more than meets the eye. The general atmosphere is very welcoming and people are very neighbourly, with a strong sense of community. Soweto has come a long way in the last 20 years, with the improved and expanded public transport infrastructure and better roads. There has been an increase and improvement on amenities like the Baragwanath hospital. The education systems have been expanded - such as the new University of Johannesburg Soweto campus. Property values have greatly increased, resulting in the area having great investment potential.
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