Pretoria Township Tours
Township tourism is becoming increasingly more popular among local and international tourists. Many tour guides offer day tours of townships, giving visitors a close look at the unique atmosphere and lifestyle.
The term township refers to urban living areas that were reserved for non-whites from the late 19th century until the end of Apartheid.
During Apartheid non-whites were evicted from suburbs and areas that were designated as “white only” and forced to move into separate settlements – for each of the three designated non-white race groups (blacks, coloureds and Indians).
With a population of over 311 000 people, Pretoria’s largest township is Soshanguve. Situated about 25 km north of Pretoria and established in 1974, it later became part of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.
Soshanguve houses the Tshwane University of Technology and the popular Tswaing Crater site that boasts one of only four meteorite crater museums in the world.
Although perhaps not as safe for tourists as hiring a car and driving themselves, one can take a taxi from anywhere in Pretoria to Soshanguve. (Hint: When trying to catch a taxi from Pretoria CBD you need to turn your right hand in circles to indicate that you’re heading to Soshanguve.)
Popular attractions in Soshanguve includes the Eric Lubisi Art Gallery, Bible College and Matlutla’s Albert Museum.
Situated in the northeast of Pretoria set against the Magaliesberg Mountain, Mamelodi was established in June 1953 and is currently the second biggest township in Pretoria, with over 256 000 inhabitants.
The University of Pretoria operates a campus in Mamelodi.
The HM Pitje Stadium (used mostly for football matches) is located in Mamelodi. Other popular tourist attractions include the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square, The Stanza Bopape Memorial and Dr Rebeiro’s House.
Mabopane is another township situated close to Pretoria with a number of points of interest for visitors, including the Nooitgedacht Dam and Morula Casino and Hotel.
Originally part of Bophuthatswana, Mabopane is a residential area for thousands of employees working in nearby factories.
Other townships around Pretoria includes Saulsville (about 30min drive from the National Botanical Gardens) and Ga-Rankuwa, about 37 km north of Pretoria (accessible via Transnet commuter and main line trains, through the Metrorail commuter service).
Atteridgeville, established in 1939, is a diverse township located on the west of Pretoria. Places of interest includes Atteridgiville Park, Saulsville Arena and the multi-purpose Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium.
When travelling to and visiting a township, ShowMe recommends tourists to be alert and vigilant around tourism safety, and not to enter unfamiliar areas – especially at night.
ShowMe also recommends visitors to townships to always travel with tour guides.