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Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers: A Home Away From Home

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers: A Home Away From Home

When traveling to Johannesburg, most travellers only go to Soweto for a day trip. But, staying in Soweto, especially Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers is an experience unto itself. The first black owned backpackers in South Africa, Lebo first opened his family home in Soweto to travellers in 1999. Since 2003, the accommodation has been officially open, enticing local and international travellers to stay in a warm, friendly hostel ever since.

The community aspect of Lebo’s is a reflection of Soweto itself

Lebo’s backpackers is all about the community and the atmosphere of the establishment reflects that. With the hostel being a meeting point for several tours, locals come and go or linger about hoping to talk to Lebo about an important matter or two. The locals are friendly, welcoming and offer you advice on what to see and do on that day, which is massively helpful in a township that’s buzzing with new activities every day.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Soweto and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Soweto

There’s a great range of activities available at Lebo’s

The activities on offer at Lebo’s Backpackers is unlimited. The staff are responsive 24/7, offer a free pick up from other hostels or the airport, and have a range of activities to fill your time in Soweto. They can book your safari trips in the Kruger, bike trips around Soweto to learn more about the community, help you find a volunteering project if you want to give back or allow you the opportunity to bungee jump from the top of the iconic Soweto towers. No matter your interest, the staff at Soweto can find an activity for you to enjoy.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Soweto and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Soweto

Rooms are very affordable


The rooms in Soweto range from dormitories to double rooms with the option to camp as well in the big, leafy courtyard just off where the braai’s are held. Each option comes at a very affordable rate. Dormitories are 160 ZAR (12 USD) a night, single rooms start at 270 ZAR (20 USD) a night, doubles at 390 ZAR (28 USD) a night and camping, the cheapest option, starts at 105 ZAR (7 USD) a night if you have your own tent but it’s only thirty Rands more if you need to borrow a tent from the hostel. Lebo’s backpackers also offers discounts for groups, students and if you’re staying for over 3 consecutive nights. There’s also a treehouse available with hammocks and soft lush couches if you ever get bored of staying in the dormitories.

With two separate kitchens - one for the staff, one for the guests - cooking your own meals is never an issue here. And due to the frequency of long-term visitors to Soweto, the washing machines, bathrooms, lounge room are all spotlessly clean and kept up to date. You’ll even be surprised with the amount of channels and selection of movies available on the TV!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Soweto and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Soweto

Don’t be afraid to say yes to things on offer at Lebo’s

The hostel has nightly community dinners around the braai - a South African style barbecue - which kick off on weekend nights until late in the night. Don’t miss this opportunity to eat some delicious home made Soweto stews, curries and dishes created and served by the locals from the community. If, at any time, one feels the need to do nothing but laze around in the hostel, the gardeners the hostel will keep you entertained for hours with their antics. But be prepared because you’ll be asked to join impromptu soccer games and it’s hard to say no to the experience!

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Dhruva Balram is a freelance journalist, essayist and travel photographer. His work specialises in societal critiques, cultural commentary, travel and editorial features. Dhruva has been featured...Read more

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