Back in the day, townships were not the best tourism destinations. This is because of the segregation caused by the apartheid government.
In the past 28 years, we have seen growth in township tourism, with local businesses striving to change the perception of townships.
Of course, there are still some negative images around townships, but there have been some improvements.
Though townships may have their struggles, they have come out of their shells in terms of their tourism offerings, in general - becoming friendlier and better serving the travel market.
Tshepo Matlou, head of marketing and communications at online booking, says: “township tourism is no longer a portrait of poverty but a celebration of transformation and development of our nation.
“South Africa offers world class destinations and incredible cultural experiences, and a platform like ours has been created to showcase these special destinations.”
“Travel is a good teacher, even for domestic travellers. People can learn a lot about their nation by visiting different parts of their country.”
This Freedom Month, get out of your comfort zone and learn more about different township cultures by visiting these top five township tourism destinations.
National Park, Magoebaskloof and Blyde River Canyon
If you’re driving to Phalaborwa from the South-Eastern direction towards Gauteng, stop by the Baroka Malana eatery in Zone F Lebowakgomo for some refreshments. You will be treated to flame-grilled chicken intestines and braai chicken.
Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto
It is the most famous street in Soweto because it was home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners - Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, whose former houses are now museums.
Vilakazi street is known for its vibrant eateries such as Sakhumzi, Makhelwane, Nexdor, SUD and many others – which offer African cuisine and other famous dishes.
Busy Corner Imbizo Shisanyama
It is no secret that South Africans love shisanyamas, that’s why the Busy Corner in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni is a landmark and an urban cultural hotspot, attracting international and domestic visitors curious to know what the buzz is about. It also offers some of the best braai and pap around.
Another popular shisanyama on the national scale is Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi, Durban. The meaty restaurant is more of a host for high-end fashion and luxury cars, along with expensive bottles of drinks.
Celebrities like Shauwn Mkhize love this spot and even host parties there. Umlazi is the only township in the country with its own registration plate, which is NUZ.
For adrenaline junkies, Graskop Gorge near Hazyview and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga is the perfect getaway for a fix. Situated on the lush Panorama Route, it offers many activities, including the lift, big swing and zipline.
Stop sleeping on South African townships, they have so much to offer.