No Zoo-Like Tours

 Taste Africa’s No Zoo-Like Tours

No Zoo-Like tours,  has always been our principle, we offer Taste of Africa’s  No Zoo-Like Tours, from Soweto, Alexandra, Johannesburg, through to the Kruger National Park, and other tourist sites.

No Zoo-Like Tours, from Soweto, Johannesburg to KNP

Taste Africa’s No Zoo-Like Tours, whether we are visiting in Johannesburg, Soweto, or though to Kruger National Park, and any Indigenous Community, in parts of South Africa.

For ten years Taste of Africa has taken Responsible travel to new levels in South Africa, from Johannesburg Day Trips to Kruger Safari, through their personal interaction, and walking tours in the Townships, the main focus for Johannesburg Day Trips.

No Zoo-Like Tours from Johannesburg Day Trip to Kruger Safari
No Zoo-Like Tours from Johannesburg Day Trip to Kruger Safari

As children of the Melville area, Nettie and Cedric de la Harpe highly recommend that you base your-self in Melville for the duration of your visit to Johannesburg. Don’t believe anyone who says that Johannesburg should only be an overnight stop, we will assist with your planning and accommodation needs, Melville, Soweto and Alexandra.


(Click above to follow link to the Soweto Tour page details)

An example of how we developed to the stage, where we can proudly say, we do No Zoo-Like Tours.

Soweto tour, the magic Taste of Africa
Soweto tour, the magic Taste of Africa

Soweto tour is where it all started for Nettie and I, our first visit to Soweto in August 2004, from bicycle tours, to horse-cart tours, the traditional half-day visit, and then, eighteen months into our operation, we realised that the magic of Soweto was the energy of Africa and our people.

Today, we will not do the standard drive-by tour, we only offer a full-day visit, happier the longer that we can keep you in Soweto.


(Click above to follow link to the 24 hours in Soweto page details)

Our success in Soweto, took us into the Kruger Safari operation, and in 2005, we established home-stay accommodation links in Villages outside the Kruger Park. The magic experienced by sleeping in the homes of the local families, led us to introducing this option is Soweto. 24 Hours in Soweto is popular for visitors for the first of last nights in Johannesburg. This is no Zoo-Like Tours.

Our rate allows the visitor to experience Soweto, accommodation and transfers, at budget prices.


(Click above to follow link to the Alexandra Tour page details)

No Zoo-Like Tours from Alex dayTrip to Kruger Safari gets you close to our people.
No Zoo-Like Tours from Alex day Trip to Kruger Safari gets you close to our people.

Taste Africa’s No Zoo-Like Tours in Alex, with us, it is not impossible.

For the past five years we have extended our operations into Alexandra Township, walking the streets, and extending these walks into areas where few have ventured before

We are welcome in the mens hostel, and the hostel eating area has become our favourite eating area.


The Rea Vaya bus route links Melville to the City, Rosebank and Sandton with the assistance of the Gautrain, and then, Taste of Africa will guide and support you using the local taxi transport.

Kruger Safari from Johannesburg:



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SOWETO TOUR by Taste of Africa,
The No Zoo-Like Tour,  or rather a guided visit.

Soweto Tour by Taste of Africa, we offer a no zoo-like tour, we would rather have our guide disappoint you, through what you may believe is their lack of knowledge, regarding what you may have read on the internet, than restrict his, or her, expression, of how they see South Africa and our history, while allowing others in the community to interact with you.

This blog is aimed at giving the visitor an opportunity to understand the areas that we will cover during the visit, allowing less wasted time, by needing to listen to the information while experiencing the magic.

Soweto Tour
Soweto Tour


For transfer purposes, our prices are quoted ex Melville, our home base:

R 500 per person,  ex Melville base.   (single supplement of R250)

We encourage our visitors, who have their own transport, to use the self-drive option, here the guide, on appointment, will meet you at a BP Service Station, 500m off the N1 Highway, and take you to their home, where you will safely park your car, and proceed with the regular visit.

Self drive option, R 350 per person,  (single supplement of R 150).

BP Service Station, Taste of Africa’s meeting point, by arrangement only.

Should the visitor reside in Melville, or other areas accessible to the Rea Vaya bus route,  Taste of Africa will assist with directions.

For rates outside of this standard options. please enquire from Taste of Africa.

Excluded is Local Taxi fares & Meals for you and your guide, plus museum fees. Approx R 150pp.

As these are cash expenses we leave this responsibility to you, avoiding the temptation by others, to coerce the guide into a lunch venue, or for the guide to reduce the distance to save taxi fares.

My preferred lunch venue is the Nancefield Hostel, this will be the closest you will get to experiencing Africa, while in South Africa.

Taste of Africa takes you on a guided tour through Soweto, walking and  using ‘Public Transport’, to keep you in the spirit of our commitment to the community, we will not support a Soweto Tour, that is a Zoo-Like Drive-By tour, we take the road not taken.

Taste of Africa considers a drive-by visit, where you only stop at the tourist sites, an insult to the local people.

Soweto tour
Soweto tour

Cedric and Nettie de la Harpe, have committed everything that they have done through Taste of Africa, to Radical Economic Transformation, and as South Africa’s ‘New Democracy’, goes through a difficult period, for #RET becomes the buzzword in Politics,

Passport to Soweto, a guide to allow South Africans to visit Soweto, without the use of a guide, is one of our initiatives, and part of our Radical Economic Transformation in the Tourism Sector.

To promote this initiative, Taste of Africa will include the Passport to Soweto guide book, to our visitors on this Soweto Tour.

Soweto Tour includes, Soweto self-guided visit a Passport to Soweto Soweto self-guided visit a Passport to Soweto
Soweto Tour includes, Soweto self-guided visit a Passport to Soweto















If not using the self-drive option we will transfer you to your guides home, where possible, starting at 08:30, ex-Melville. If not near Melville arrangements will be made at an additional cost.

You will start at the guides home, and then walking the streets / using local taxi transport you, will move to corners of Soweto, where you will not see other tourists, until after lunch.

For the past eighteen months, the Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe has become popular, but more so, with the sites and people I visit, so this visit, is now integrated into what I would do. As ‘Cedric’ uses his vehicle, he is able to cover greater distances, and get to little corners that this visit can’t.

Soweto Tour details

Our focus is getting you close to the people before we venture to the typical tourist route.

You are welcome to end the day to suit your time requirements, it is possible to end at 14:30 giving you time to move onto the Apartheid Museum, just let your guide know. This is not recommended, as it takes away from your Soweto experience, and takes you into the emotions of the Apartheid Museum after what will be a hectic day.

We do not include the Apartheid Museum, but guide will host you to the Apartheid Museum, and you can Uber back from the museum.

If you would prefer to have a sundowner with the locals, they would love it, please advise your guide early in the day.

Make sure your guide understands how free you are, and if you wish to leave early, always ask if you are going to miss something special.


We start out tour in Orlando East, officially the oldest Township on Soweto, dating back to 1932.

Rich inHistory, thanks to the Soweto Leader / Elder James Sofasonke Mpanza, and ANC / PAC political meetings: .

Cedric’s 2005 shebeen theatre is worth a read, it will give you an insight into Sofasonke and his people:

Soweto tour, visit with the respected leader, James Sofasonke Manzi's history.
Soweto tour, visit with the respected leader, James Sofasonke Mpanza’s history.

When we start our day in Orlando East, and our target will be to visit with John Mahapa, one of our ‘living museum’ heritage sites in Passport to Soweto.

Cedric defines John Mahapa as “From Boy Scout, to Freedom Fighter”

John, self-politicised as a junior school Boy-Scout, is part of the ANC and then split as an Africanist, arrested at 20 years old as part of the anti-pass protest, and then sentenced to Robben Island for 7 years in 1963.

Meeting John, changes Cedric’s life, as he sees South Africa from a different insight.

Taste of Africa has arranged that our visitor pays R 30 per person, from the interaction with John.

Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children

Follow Soweto’s history, from the early origins through to 1976.

Covered in more detail in Passport to Soweto, is Nelson Mandela’s links to Orlando East, and the Mbube Mdingi post, is worth a read;

Follow Soweto’s history, from the early origins through to 1976.

This Orlando East Township will take a few hours, all magic.

One of the most damaging pieces of legislation passed in South Africa was the 1913 Native Land Actthe greatest separation between the South African black and whites.

The Native Urban Areas Act, 1923 required Urban authorities to accommodate all black people that worked in their area, in Temporary accommodation. In 1928 the Johannesburg City Council established the Non European Affairs Department, (N.E.A.D.) and the Orlando East Township was their first project.

The small red brick houses that are seen in Orlando East are typical of the 3500 houses built between 1932 and 1934. It was only recently that I took notice of the different building materials used during this process. We have the red brick that is synonymous with the perception of the local whites when describing this development, yet closer scrutiny shows that they used the red brick, a slightly yellow/red brick, we also have two grades of cinder bricks and then the large cement block. The original houses consisted of two roomed houses, three roomed houses, and a number of them are semi-detached. When first built, the house only had one front door and the second doors were only added later. The enclosed porch that you see on that small ‘red brick’ house was first permitted in the 1950’s, subject to motivation and approval by the council.

As a South African, I could not believe, just how much development, had taken place in Soweto. My perception still had all houses in Soweto, as rows of these little red brick houses. I do not think that many white South Africans, would ever give credit to just how many of these houses have been developed. Not only developed, but developed on properties that they only rented, without having title deeds to these properties. They used their own money, and did not have access to loan finance, through the financial systems. I think they still find it difficult, to obtain financial assistance today. Where extensions take place, they build little by little, taking years to complete, living in the original house, and often the original house, remains fairly intact, in the inside of the completed house.

Us whites, were forever boasting, about what we achieved, during the years of ‘isolation’, the period when we had restricted sport contact, performing arts contact, and had to buy oil through the back-door, what an achievement. But look at the Sowetan community, just look at what they have achieved, while in isolation, and they are still in isolation.

Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street:

This setting is magic, the red-brick houses with shacks of various shapes and sizes, different materials, the odd bit of colour.

An Original Match-Box House with a typically neat garden.

Just walking up and down the streets of Orlando will give you an experience that you will never forget.

By now you would have discovered that the community do not mind you taking photos,often calling out ‘shoot me’ to encourage a photo, it is because you are walking the streets and become part of the community that they welcome your presence. I do not suggest that you request permission, but should you see that some-one is reluctant, wave an apology, and back-off.

Always be prepared to show the locals the photo that you have taken, if you have a digital camera. Not only do the enjoy seeing the photo, but the children love the close contact with our guests. They will touch you and feel you.

While we are on that subject, I do not encourage our guests giving to children, or for that matter, adult beggars. Rather buy some fruit; or other items from hawkers. You will get an opportunity to donate to the youth, or aids groups, that we pass through. Also, on a few sites, we have individuals, making their time and homes available to you. Here a small donation is welcome.

If you feel obliged to give to the children, or the many adult beer drinkers, who will be pressing you for a few rand, it only makes it more difficult, for the guests who follow to get close to the community. The beggars start to shield you from interaction with the magic.

Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store
Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store








I was impressed with the cleanliness, of the streets and the properties. Most of the side-walks are swept and so neat, and many of these gardens are so nice. To this cleanliness we cab add the attention that they people give to their clothes and selves.

If I was a first-time visitor to Soweto, with no guide, to pull me around Soweto, as I entered Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street, I would just cool here for some time. Walk slowly, stop at the hardware store; sit down next to a local, just talk, and become part of the magic.

As you walk past one of the properties in Orlando East, the small two roomed red brick house, is often surrounded by eight to thirteen tin shacks, with hardly a passage to move through. Do not be afraid to accept an invitation to stop and talk to one of the communities.

Orlando East 94 year-old Gogo, Matriarch to large group.
Orlando East 94 year-old Gogo, Matriarch to large group.

The home owner, the occupant of the main house, rents a piece of ground out to the sub-tenant. They are probably paying between R 200 and R 250 per month. The home owner; possibly receives R2000 to R 3000 per month, towards her living costs. The problem however; is that the sub-tenants, do not pay for the electricity that they are using. Today, the council are building two rooms, in the back-yard, and encouraging the tenants to move off the property. Apparently, the economics of saving electricity; will warrant the investment.

Thirteen, maybe fifteen families, on a piece of ground, 15m X 20m, the original two-roomed house, not changed in 70 years, accept for the porch that was enclosed in the 1950s, and accommodates a sub-tenant, and the thirteen shacks of various shapes and sizes, that are build around the perimeter fences of the property.

In the far left corner of the property, no grass here, just the very red soil, is the one outside toilet, with the only source of water, the one water tap feeding off the toilet system.

The occasions, when a few quarts of beer are being consumed, by young men, and sometimes the older woman, sitting in the early morning sun, maybe playing drafts, or just chatting; is a magic experience for the visitors.

Always a friendly welcome for all, interaction between the groups, smiles, and confusion, as they all jockey for the opportunity, to have a few words with the visitors.

What is not obvious to the visitor, during this brief excitement, is just how structured life on these properties is. With thirteen families, and possibly 40 people moving in and out the commune, the toilet hygiene, and use of the washing facility, washing lines, and such, all needs to be shared and strictly controlled. Add to this the fact that there are five different language groups / indigenous groups, living in this commune; this commune; is an example to the rest of the world, on how to live in harmony. 

The little children, moving around the property, seem to belong to the community, and it is difficult to distinguish, the mother child relationships.

As we leave Orlando East, we visit the market place on Station Street, bustling with activity.

Baragwanath Taxi Rank and Market

We leave Orlando East, using a local shared taxi to Kliptown, moving through the Baragwanath Taxi Rank, where it is reputed that some 1 million commuters move through per day.

There is always action and activity, as the traders attract the buyers with music and entertainment.

Local Shared taxi
Local Shared taxi







The Local Taxi trip is an experience, opportunity to interact with the commuters, and the payment system, is amazing.

Johannesburg cheap transport, the old Bara taxi rank
Johannesburg cheap transport, the old Bara taxi rank





Cedric, exposed to the 1950s Soweto Political History, as a white South African, can no longer celebrate the Freedom Charter, this mindset is covered in his book, Divide & Rule.

Given that mindset, Cedric still loves visiting Kliptown, established in 1903, it was one of the few areas where whites, blacks, coloured Indians and Chinese lived together, owning the property.

The Jewish and Indian traders, were the main traders, including the Doctors and Chemists.

In the 1980s, most of the goods moving into Soweto passed through Kliptown.

During the 1960s, as part of the Apartheid structure, all the residential property was expropriated, and the whites needed to leave, the Indians were sent to Lenasia, the Blacks to Soweto, and the Coloureds moved to Eldo Rado Park, while Eldo Rado Park invaded Kliptown.

We take a short walk through the market place, the business district, the remnants of what is left of Kliptown, and visit Ouschun’s Place, a traditional beer-hall, where the visitor can buy a ‘carton, and taste the traditional beer.

Ouschun's Place
Ouschun’s Place







Regina Mundi Church

Should a visitor wish to visit Regina Mundi, please advise the guide in the morning.

We do not promote the visit, most visitors do not enjoy the ‘must do’ tour, not allowing the visitor to experience the Church in private.


The Nancefield Hostel, one of eleven such hostels built in the 1950s, to accommodate migrant male workers in the Johannesburg area.

There was one female hostel, situated between Orlando West and Meadowlands.

Prior to 1994, 3 000 males were accommodated in this Hostel, that stretches on both sides of the road. Today, family groups are accommodated, and we believe the occupants total 13 000.

From 1988 to 1992, the hostels were used by the system, to destabilise the local community, Zulu’s of the IFP group, attacked non-Zulus in the area. This was all part of the black-on-black violence, which some would claim was backed by the National Party, and targeted the youth of the PAC and other Black Consciousness groups.

Today, many non-Zulu’s would still keep away from the hostels.

Very few Zulus in the Hostel area, are able to speak English, part of the Colonisers suppression. I believe the English, used Welsh speaking people, to learn the Zulu language, and off that basis, the employers language skills were developed. In Kwa-Zulu Natal, all Employers, White and Indian, speak a form of Zulu, restricting the rural Zulu from needing to speak English.

If you move through the gap just past the toilets, keep right, and enter the first door on your right, into a games room and small shop area, ask the Sithole twins who own the shop if you ay have a look at their accommodation, you could buy beers and cold drinks here in compensation for their hospitality.

The hostel buildings, are divided into four sleeping rooms, of different sizes, a communal kitchen / living area, and toilets.

Do not venture deeper into the Hostel area.

The hostel conditions are in terrible condition, the occupants wanting the family units upgraded, and the Government, has intention to upgrade, but the end product, particularly in relation to cost, is far from reaching consensus.

Muthwa Butchery:

Muthwa runs a very successful business, feeding hundreds per day, behind the stoves you will find a selection of cooked meat, from head meat to the innards, heart, liver, kidney, and pieces that I have never been exposed to.

In the shop, they will have a beef stew, sometimes chicken, served with pap, (their traditional porridge) and you can but a tomato and onion relish on the side.

We love to buy meat to braai, they sell various cuts to beef, including heart, liver, and sausage/wors, that you can braai yourself, Cedric prefers to use the staff member tasked with assisting in the bracing, and he contributed R 20 for his service.

Buy this with a small helping of pap, R 10, and tomato relish. Your meal seldom costs more than R 35 per plate.

Beers are available to buy, both in the Muthwa shop, and also in the little store, run by the Sithole brothers.

Nancefield Hostel Cedric favourites lunch venue
Nancefield Hostel Cedric favourites lunch venue

Comfort Information:

When braai-ing, you will receive your meal in a polystyrene plate, look after it, you will need to eat out of the plate, on occasions, every time Cedric eats there, he is provided with a wooden plate, one aspect that he would object to on principle, but has yet, has not.

This is Africa, and they cater for groups of people, eating from one communal plate, using your fingers. Should you have an issue, please ask the shop for a spoon.

Between the kitchen area, and the eating area, there is a sink, where you can wash your hands.

When you have cooked your meat, there will be a knife around, attached to an anchor of sorts, where you cut the meat into chunk size portions, Cedric would ask the braai assistant to please cut his meat, his hands are too soft to do so without a fork available.

The salt will be in a plastic bottle, also anchored, so pour a little into your hand, and set on a corner of the meat plate. When washing your hands, if you require a cloth, please ask one of the ladies working there.

This is your closest that you will get to Africa, while in South Africa.


It will be some time between 13:30 and 14:30, if you intend visiting the Apartheid Museum, it is not necessary to visit Vilikazi Street, and you can head directly to the AM from this point. (Remember, Apartheid Museum is not part of the tour, and you will need to arrange your own transport home)

This following can be done for those visitors who have the afternoon available,


Cedric has a passion for this visit, mainly due to the view from the top of the Oppenheimer Tower, and his close link to Credo Mutwa.

A word of warning, our guides are unable to avoid the local site guides aggression, and tendency to keep you as long as possible; please help our guides to move on, when you feel delayed;


Soweto tour, outside Mandela museum a few years back
Soweto tour, outside Mandela museum a few years back


Soweto tour, Hector Pieterson museum
Soweto tour, Hector Pieterson museum


Feel free to take my cell number, 082 565 2520, text me if you have any issue at any stage during the day:

Soweto and the people are my passion.


Melville Accommodation, Recommended by Taste of Africa

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24 Hours in Soweto

Soweto 24 Hours in Soweto is a very big must 

24 hours in Soweto is a very big must,  it gives a  visitor to South Africa  the convenience, and magic of spending your first or last night in Soweto.

Our rate that includes Airport Transfer, Day Tour, Accommodation and meals, (T&C apply),

Our mothers celebrate the 180 beds in the month of August 2015.

 We have ten regular mothers hosting for us, on when necessary we can call on twenty families to participate.

The package we offer at R 890 per person, (R 650 if you self-drive) includes collection in Johannesburg/Airport and the return to your collection point. R 250 single supplement.   The package for Groups of 10-15 pax, is R 820 per person.  Note: exclusion of lunch, museum fees, and local transport if used, as per the Soweto Tour portion.  

24 hours in Soweto,  gives groups of 10-15 pax, self-drive into Soweto, a group rate of R580 per person, tour leader, no charge: 

Should you use the self-drive option, the following google map links will help, ensure that you have made arrangements.

BP Service Station, Taste of Africa’s meeting point, by arrangement only

For 24 hours in Soweto, starting and end  time, adjusted to a  period that suits your travel.

 24 hours in Soweto, includes the Soweto Full-day visit as described on the relevant page.

 24 hours in Soweto allows evening sundowners
24 hours in Soweto allows evening sundowners

 24 hours in Soweto,  your HOME-STAY INTRODUCTION:

Your link to the Homestay Africa page:

Your most important part of the visit is the introduction.

In African Culture introductions include where you are from, who your parents are, your children and all other relevant aspects.

Often the lengthy introduction builds the relationship through common interests or family structures.

 24 hours in Soweto, mainly double beds
24 hours in Soweto, mainly double beds
24 hours in Soweto, a typical kitchen
24 hours in Soweto, a typical kitchen

Most important NOTICE:

Soweto generally has pretty good facilities, however, they will be shared by you and the family.

In the Villages the accommodation is more traditional.

You room may be in the house, or one of the outside rooms. The toilet / bathroom facility may be inside or outside.

Talk to the hosts about how you access them.

The rooms all have double beds, and the hostess is paid R 200 for the room for the night. If you do not wish to share the double bed, we will provide the room as a single, at an additional R 100. 

Washing / bathing in Soweto takes place may in the traditional bath, or, in other areas by using the plastic bath / dish.

See where the water comes from and whether you can assist in collecting the water.

We make every effort to accommodate you on a rotational basis, however, if you wish to ensure that you do get one of the more comfortable homes, please let us know, at and additional R 100 per person, which will go into a community kitty for all the mothers, we will allow you the choice for a ‘better’ room.

Where we are hosting groups, the group leader must distribute the group according to their understanding of the group, any special requirements, let us know in advance. Should you be in the position to provide us with the names of those who wish to share, 2 pax and 4 pax, we will allocate hostess in advance, reducing your settling time drastically.

Nettie and I have great fun when bathing in the Village
Nettie and I have great fun when bathing in the Village


24 hours in Soweto, MEALS:

Our arrangement is that the host cooks their normal planned meal and just adds to the pot to cater for you.

If you have any diet restrictions please tell the hostess.

The family often does not have the same daily clock that you have, so if hungry at night, do not be afraid to talk, and please make sure they know what time you want your breakfast, coffee or bath.

For groups we will arrange a meal at a local shebeen, or one of the mothers who can cater, with music and magic.

In order to give the visitor the magic vibe, the night includes the provision for the hostesses to join you for the meal.

Any refreshments that the hostesses may have access to, is not included.

Beer is freely available at community ‘shebeens’, and should the group wish Taste of Africa to source wine for the group, please order in advance.

Soweto 24 hours possible breakfast
Soweto 24 hours possible breakfast

 24 hours in Soweto includes – FULL-DAY GUIDING:

We will have a guide available on both days to ensure that you cover all the bases that we would like you to see and experience.

You may set the times that you wish to be out on the road or relaxing at home. The guide will keep you going non-stop if you allow.

When using the self-drive option, if you have a time restriction, an exception will be made, allowing you to use your vehicle to cover greater distance.

ENJOY YOUR 24 hours in Soweto STAY.

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Alexandra Township Tour


Alexandra  Tour, the  microcosm of South Africa, a must visit.

A look at Alexandra Township Tour

Alexandra Township informal shack development
Alexandra Township informal shack development

Alexandra  Tour Rates:

Departing Melville with Taste of Africa,  half-day visit, R 500 per person sharing.

Departing Sandton Central Business District using local shared taxi from Sandton, hosted by our guide:

4 hour visit, R 350 per person sharing, excluding the local transport, payable by the visitor.

 SUNRISE WALK & other tours:

Alexandra Township Tour
Alexandra Township Tour

Alexandra Township Tour – ‘SUNRISE WALK’  R 500 pp (min 2pax)

When we experienced the walk through Alexandra from 05:30 to 08:30, (winter 06:30 to 09:30), we experienced the Alex that we found the most attractive. Could it just be that it is cool, even the winter months can be hot during the day, or just that the magic of Alex waking up and rising around you is magic, you decide.

In the interests of Radical Economic Transformation in the tourism industry, these tours are intended to cater for the Sandton visitor, where our guides can host your access, through the local taxi transport in and out of Alexandra Township.

Any Half-Day Trip ex-Melville will only take place for the 05:30, 08:30 and 13:30 time slot.

Alexandra Township Tour

If departing Sandton, our guide will meet you at your hotel, if central in Sandton, or, at the Gautrain Station at 05:30, hosting you while using the local taxi from Sandton, our preferred option.

Should you wish to self-drive into Alex, we will provide directions to our guide controller on 2nd Avenue Alexandra, where you can safely park your vehicle.

Your guide will walk the area indicated in the map below compliments of Google.

Alexandra Township the area we cover.
Alexandra Township the area we cover.

From 1st Avenue, the taxi link and business area, we move through the small market places, moving through the Zulu enclave, and high density shack accommodation, where one of our guides lived, chased out by his neighbours in March 1991.

Taste of Africa visits the Madala Men’s Hostel, the heart of the 1991 conflict in Alexandra, considered a no-go area by most people.

From the male hostel and Zulu enclave, we walk via the upmarket Phase 2 with manicured gardens, an Island in the middle of the Chaos, pass the Female Hostel, walk through the high-density squatter community, the ‘Favela’ on 6th,

Alexandra Township Tour the vibe on the street
Alexandra Township Tour the vibe on the street

We pass the Room where Nelson Mandela stayed in the 1940s on 7th Avenue, then depending on time, a look at a few of the lower Avenues, before we head back to the business district and board that taxi back to Sandton:

Should the visitor wish to get deeper down into Alexandra, a trip in one of the small ‘cockroach’ taxi, will allow us to move deeper into Alexandra, and experience the cockroach.

No where in South Africa will you experience the diversity that you will experience in the 1 square kilometre of the old DARK CITY, that is Alexandra Township:

Join us for an experience you will never forget.


If we wish to extend the morning visit, and stay for lunch, once again, Cedric’s favourite lunch venue is the Alexandra Men’s Hostel, please discuss this option with Cedric.

Alexandra lunch another one of Cedric's favourite venues.
Alexandra lunch another one of Cedric’s favourite venues.


Alexandra, originally established as a white Township in the 1890’s then, when unable to sell land, the developer converted the Township to a black Township in 1912, sold all the land as the 1913 Land Act approached.

During the 1950s Alexandra was famous for the 2 American type gangs that controlled the area.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Alexandra, like Sophiatown, Kliptown and other areas in South Africa, was ripped apart by the expropriation of all residential land, and the forceful removal of residents to Diepkloof in Soweto, and other areas.

It was the Apartheid Government’s intention to use the land for Hostel Type dwellings, to provide accommodation for the labour force, and by 1963 the male and female hostels were built.

In contrast to the forced removals in Sophiatown, because Alex was due to remain a black area, the Council started to collect rentals on all accommodation that was not vacated.

This resulted in difficulty to remove the land-owners who preferred to stay, and great conflict existed through till the 1970s when Rev Buti was able to change the Council’s minds and the development of Alex was again started.

During the early 1980s, through some link by a financial institutions, contractors, and Councillors, property was re-sold to those who could afford bond homes. You paid a deposit, and an appointed contractor built the homes through a link to the building society.

Then, in 1984 conflict in the Townships, the 1986 the rent and services boycott, aimed at all the accommodation owned by the Council impacted on those Land-owners who maintained the control over their properties. To-date, no rent is being paid, and conflict exists in many ‘land-owner groups’ who claim ownership, in the face of Government Ownership.

This was followed by the removal of the restrictions on ‘influx-control’ and Alex was one of the first areas where informal shack accommodation swelled, resulting in the over-populated conditions we find today, high-density accommodation that the sewerage system can’t handle.

During 1990, when black on black violence, allegedly driven by outside forces, spread throughout the country, Alex, the ‘Dark City’ maintained relative peace. Then in March 1991 the IFP / ANC violence erupted in the area around the Mens Hostel.

Many died, and all non-Zulus were chased out of the area, many of them leaving all their belongings and fleeing.

This section today is still occupied by the Zulu contingent that occupied this enclave.

This is a brief introduction to the dynamics that we need to be aware of, and dynamics that should attract South African’s to visit the microcosm of South Africa’s scattered problems.

Cedric de la Harpe;

The You Tube in this post gives you a look at Nettie and Cedric de la Harpe’s background to Responsible Travel, and how it has impacted on our Alexandra Township initiative:

While you are looking at Alexandra, maybe Soweto is your other option?

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Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

Hi, I am Cedric de la Harpe. and I invite you to visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, where, our history and heritage is important, the people are important, but not the museums.

I was recently asked by a journalist, when responding to the advice that I would no longer take my International visitors to the museums;

“But what will the visitors see if you don’t take them to the museums?”

Having enjoyed the magic of our people for years, I did not answer his question, my answer would have disturbed him, join me in Soweto, is you wish my answer that I did not provide.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

“I was born in South Africa, 1947, I never know whether to describe myself as the product of Apartheid, or, whether Apartheid is the product of me.”

“I can never remember being anti-apartheid, I just accepted that one day it would end.”

“My wife Nettie and I, first visited Soweto in July 2004, we loved the magic on the streets, we were surprised by the love and respect given to us.” 

“By 2008, I believed we were no longer racist, then, in 2013, I discovered that I still was racist.”

“in my opinion, ‘once a racist, always a racist’, like an alcoholic, you can only get into a state of recovery, your mind never heals.”

“I have escaped the need to worship Nelson Mandela as the icon that saved us, that brought freedom to the black people.”

“I  do accept that he contributed to the freedom to us whites”.

“Our white freedom, thanks to the Congress of the People, was symbolically cast into stone in Kliptown, June 1955.”   

“Should you wish to visit the Nelson Mandela and Hector Petersen Museum, please specify and book through the Soweto Tour.


Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, who remembers the Mandela museum ten years back, and a glimpse of the old Vilakazi Street.
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe, who remembers the Mandela museum ten years back, and a glimpse of the old Vilakazi Street.

Following this introduction, the visitors will ask challenging questions;

'How did you discover that you are racist, yet, you appear not to be racist?'

'Why were you never anti-apartheid?'

My answers will vary, depending on the general conversation that is taking place around the introduction.

Your are invited to join the discussion.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe
Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

For years I have wasted the visitors available time, making sure that I covered ‘heritage sites’, and the history that the site heritage is based on.

The Visitors all have one great desire, to listen to a 
local Sowetan, on how the transition into their 'freedom' 
has changed their lives.

“Most people have read the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, as I weigh up community memories that conflict with the Nelson Mandela’s version of their heritage, it has become like a treasure hunt, many people will contest my findings, and this makes our interaction even more interesting.”

Today, our very confused heritage information, can be read free on the pdf, linked in the Passport to Soweto.

Having booked a ‘Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe’, you will receive a ‘stamped’ free copy of the book, and be in the position to ask the questions, and give direction with regard to what you wish to visit.

Visit Soweto with Cedric de la Harpe

Option 1:  

Cedric will host / guide you on the Soweto Walking Tour:

Should you wish to use the Rea Vaya bus system,  as described in the Passport to Soweto,  or self-transfer to the meeting point, Cedric will meet you at the bus station, at the cost of R 400 pp sharing, excluding internal transfers.

Option 1:  

In the company of Cedric, using his vehicle in lieu of local taxi fee, the cost (departing Melville)  per person sharing is R 750, this includes lunch at the Nancefield Hostel, but excludes any Museum visit:

Cedric will cover the following visit structure;

1:     Orlando East; the oldest official Township in Soweto; 1932 to 1935;

Should the visitor wish to interact with any of the Heritage Value sites, participating in the Passport to Soweto economic development initiative, please advise Cedric in advance, and the cost per site, per person is R 30.

The visitor will receive a more meaningful interaction with the Heritage Value participant family, if you are aware of their background, and have questions that you wish answered.

James Mpanza's History
James Mpanza’s History
Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store

2:    Kliptown, our focus is the Mandela Square informal sector, the Mandela Hideout in the Lollan Home, and TamatieVlei, a community on the river,  we will briefly look at the Freedom Charter Memorial, only to challenge the ‘conspiracy theory’ regarding the ‘other’ version.

Mandela thanking Mrs Lollan for what she did for the struggle.
Mandela thanking Mrs Lollan for what she did for the struggle.
Soweto Tour the people
Soweto Tour

And then lunch and an early sundowner at the Nancefield Hostel, the closest that you would get to Africa, while in South Africa;

Nancefield Hostel, magic lunch venue
Nancefield Hostel, magic lunch venue


The Apartheid Museum is not provided for in this visit to Soweto with Cedric, who does not support the concept that the Apartheid Museum symbolises the death of Apartheid, as Apartheid is still live and well.


Cedric and Nettie de la Harpe


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