Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.

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I will quote some background on the property and what it offers, taken from their website... "Integrated with the community around us, we invite day as well as overnight guests to be part of our vibrant township. As a day guest you can book one of our interactive tours as well as enjoying a traditional African meal in our outdoor restaurant soaking up the tropical vibes and the atmosphere in our community park Overnight experiences offer a variety of accommodation options- Backpackers lodge, Self-catering Guest House and a Campsite with access to our communal areas and self-catering kitchens. Discounts on experiences and packages to explore Soweto and its surrounds. Home-cooked meals are served around the fire and the opportunity to explore Soweto on your own, mingling with the locals in our friendly community."
When chatting to the staff at Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, I was astounded to learn that aside from overnight and short-stay guests, they have had guests who have stayed anywhere from 18 days to 2 months.
Given the quality of the accommodation, the friendliness of the staff I interacted with and the excellence of the food we were served, I am not surprised.
Saddle up…but not on THIS saddle. This antique rickshaw is parked at the entrance to the dining area, but luckily it is there for display purposes only…
Looking more like an island bicycle rental shop than an inland one in Soweto. Several tourists were heading out on cycle tours, which I am certain allows them to interact with the locals and discover new experiences.
A fleet of Tuk Tuks? Is that the correct collective noun for this form of transport?
The interiors were spotless and the colourful upholstery was covered in thick plastic to allow for easy cleaning.
If you are tall, you have to fold yourself in half to get in and out, but they were a fun way to be driven around in
Several years ago a friend and I were considering doing the West Coast of South Africa in a couple of these…until we discovered that their top speed was 65kmph…downhill.
We then decided that trying to drive from the Namibian border to Cape Town would take FAR too long and possibly be a traffic hazard, so the plans were abandoned.
Maria is Lebo’s widow and she has continued to grow his legacy since his passing.
Modern commuter trains slipped past quietly while we were listening to the founder of Intrepid tell us of their 2030 plans. Looking clean and shiny, I wondered where they were headed. To my untrained eye, and at a distance, they looked clean and well-maintained. I hope that I am not wrong.
We stopped off at the Chill Spot to enjoy a taste of what the residents eat… One of the cooks who prepared a meat dish and local beer for us to try.
Beef cheeks are a great lightweight alternative to traditional cuts. Beef cheeks are lower in calories and fat and higher in protein than most popular steaks. Plus, they have more immune-supporting vitamins (vitamins C and B) and 200% more iron than traditional cuts.
FYI: Beef cheeks frequently feature on restaurant menus and are prized for their rich and full flavour and meltingly tender texture but they’re not a cut usually cooked at home, however, if you would like to add something different to your cooking repertoire, give them a try.
Haircut anyone? Looks like this beauty salon can handle any style.
Fresh fruit and vegetables. And not much plastic wrapping to be seen.
And look at the size of the cabbages.
A corner shop through the open side of our transport.
We were in Soweto the day after the South African elections. This was probably the most emotional part of the tour for many of us. This is Zone 11 and it was originally a predominantly male mining hostel area. When the powers-that-be finally came to understand that single-sex accommodation was a breeding ground for crime, they allowed families to reunite and move in…or that was the plan.
In 2010 they finished building 800 apartments, some of which can be seen behind these railings, and were going to rent them for R1000.00, which the locals were unable (not unwilling) to pay.
Negotiations were commenced but soon stalled.
As a result, the apartments have been empty for the past 14 years.
You would think that the City could have used the rental rather than letting the apartments deteriorate, but that does not seem to be the case.
Amazingly, except for a few broken windows that were visible, they have not been vandalized as the locals hope that eventually agreement will be achieved regarding the rental and they will be able to take occupancy of their own property.
Darrell Wade, co-founder of Intrepid, trying to unwind his lanky frame from a Tuk Tuk that is designed for much smaller people.
In 1989,¬†Darrell Wade¬†co-founded Intrepid Travel, which today is the world’s largest adventure travel company and a certified B Corp.
Darrell Wade is a globally recognised entrepreneur and responsible tourism pioneer. He is the co-founder and chairman of Intrepid Travel. The company was founded as a new way to explore the world in a sustainable, and authentic way that gave back to the communities being visited.
Darrell is known as “the tall man with the big laugh”, and from what I experienced during our time together, I would consider that to be an accurate description.
This is Philyp, Lebo’s brother who has picked up the reigns of the legacy that his brother left behind and has continued to grow the business.
Looks like I am opening a business in Soweto!
This was one of the dishes that awaited us when we returned from our tour.
To learn more about what they offer, click on the logo above…

Our day at Lebo’s was organized by Intrepid.
If you look up the dictionary definition of this word, you will find that it means very brave, not afraid of danger or difficulties and as a synonym, fearless as in an intrepid explorer.
I, together with several media representatives were asked to join INTREPID on a voyage of discovery as we crossed from the CBD of Rosebank, past downtown Johannesburg and into the heart of Soweto for what would turn out to be a most interesting experience
One I would highly recommend to those who have never visited this area before.
Put aside all your worries and your reticence and become a tourist in your city for a day (like we did) or a weekend (like I hope to enjoy with my wife soon)

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