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4.5 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

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  • Location:Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Duration:8 hours (approx.)

Johannesburg Tour: Apartheid Museum, Carlton Centre Observation Deck and Soweto Bike Ride

Explore some of the highlights of Johannesburg in the morning, followed by a bike tour of Soweto — the famous township where Nelson Mandela once lived. Join a knowledgeable guide for a full-day tour that begins with a commanding view over the city from the 50th floor observation deck of the Carlton Centre. Next, visit the Apartheid Museum for an in-depth look at the country’s history. Head to Soweto for a lunch break, followed by a bike tour of the dynamic township that ends in a ‘shebeen’ tavern.


  • Full-day Johannesburg city tour including a Soweto bike ride
  • Walk around the 50th-floor viewing gallery of the Carlton Centre and enjoy bird’s-eye city views
  • Visit the Apartheid Museum to learn about South Africa’s complex history
  • Relax in a popular Soweto restaurant for lunch
  • Cycle through Soweto, passing through Meadowlands, and down Vilakazi Street where Nelson Mandela once lived
  • Finish your tour with a visit to a typical shebeen bar

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Johannesburg Tour: Apartheid Museum, Carlton Centre Observation Deck and Soweto Bike Ride

Johannesburg Tour: Apartheid Museum, Carlton Centre Observation Deck and Soweto Bike Ride
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Begin by getting picked up outside your central Johannesburg hotel. Travel in a comfortable air-conditioned minibus to your first stop — the Carlton Centre.

The Carlton Centre is not only Johannesburg’s tallest skyscraper, it’s the tallest in all of Africa. Head up to the observation deck on the 50th floor for excellent views over the whole of Johannesburg.

From there, it’s back into the minibus for a visit to the Apartheid Museum. It’s the ideal place to learn about South Africa’s troubled history in the not-so-distant past. The museum covers the country after apartheid, too, so you can begin to understand the journey South Africa is still on. Enjoy time to take in the museum exhibits at your leisure.

Your next stop is Soweto, where you’ll dig into a lunch of local specialties. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and delicious food, as well as an opportunity to interact with locals. After lunch, you’ll be fitted with a bike helmet and given a comprehensive safety briefing so you can begin your Soweto bike tour.

Follow your guide at a steady pedaling pace through the township, taking in the sights as you ride and stopping at certain points so your guide can tell you about what you’re seeing. Find out how Soweto got its name from the phrase ‘southwestern townships.’ Learn about local history and important moments in South Africa’s history that took place in Soweto. See a building that once served as a hostel for migrant workers to try to imagine what life was like for them.

Pedaling down Vilakazi Street brings you past the former homes of two Nobel Peace Prize winners — Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Continue riding to a local shebeen (tavern) where you can enjoy a drink (own expense), play some pool or even dance to some of Soweto’s signature ‘kwaito’ music. Shebeens were once illegal bars during apartheid, but are now thriving centers of community.

Customer Reviews

Joseph S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The bike tour is an ideal precursor to visiting the Apartheid Museum. The museum is by any measure as good as everyone says it is, but experiencing it is all the more poignant if you've just spent several hours in Soweto, where the people including the knowledgeable and friendly Viator guides are wonderfully welcoming.

Vlad Dan P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

Great Tour! We loved our guide and the fact that we were able to ride a bike through SOWETO brought us so much closer to understanding the significance of the place.

Lori S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

I loved the Apartheid was a WOW! Spacious and well thought out. Would have been able to spend more time there. Fun to look over the area from the Carlton Centre but the bike ride was really the cream on the top. The guides were very informative and very attentive to those of us with a challenge going uphill. A very worthwhile ride to understanding the history of Soweto and the Apartheid.

Jamie S

4 star rating: Recommended June 2015

Good informative tour.
Not impressed w Carlton Center Observation Deck but the Apartheid Museum and bike tour were well worth it. The small size of the tour group was appreciated and our guide for the day was knowledgeable and friendly.

Vivian N

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better March 2015

I would not recommend this tour. It did not deliver as advertised. Pick up was 30 minutes late without any notification of delay. We drove by the Carlton Centre but did not go up to the Observation deck. Upon being dropped off at the Apartheid Museum, I was told lunch was not included. When I showed my guide the voucher showing lunch was supposed to be included, he said he would check into what was arranged, but no promises and I should purchase my own lunch at the café. After 2 hours at the museum, I was picked up and taken to Lebo's backpackers for the cycle tour. The bikes were in poor condition. One lady's brakes did not work well, and I got a flat tire. They also charged an additional fee for water which could be purchased at the bar, but the bar did not have any change. This was annoying since the intention of purchasing this tour was for an all-inclusive experience and I didn't bring extra cash for the water I needed given the heat of the afternoon. Also, we did not stop a local shebeen bar. It felt the people involved in this tour were all penny-pinching and taking shortcuts which made the tour poor value for money and felt like a scam.

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Tour code: 5872ZAUA


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