South Africa



Lebo's Soweto Backpackers

A vibrant haven where cultural immersion meets comfort, in the heart of Soweto's dynamic community

Inspiring People

Involving members of the local community has always been our key focus

We are one of the pioneering tourism businesses in Soweto that aimed to revolutionise what 'township tourism' could mean in South Africa.

  • Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers was founded by Lebo Malepa, a trailblazer and a social entrepreneur.
  • Lebo was a visionary who began his entrepreneurial journey by selling local crafts to passing tourists in 1998. Through his interactions and care for local empowerment, Lebo transformed his childhood home into a guesthouse and Lebos Backpackers came to life in 2003. Lebo married Maria, and they grew Lebo’s Soweto into its community-powered status it is today.
  • Lebo innovatively started various initiatives, such as their renowned bicycling tours and traditional outdoor meals that encourage local upliftment, education and community empowerment.
  • Tragically, Lebo passed away in 2021, and his legacy lives on through his family and community. Lebo and his backpackers won many esteemed awards and had a profound impact in shaping South Africa’s tourism industry. The world has lost a true visionary, and we endeavour to honour and continue his inspirational legacy of community service and connection.
  • Community upliftment is at the core of everything we do at Lebo’s. 
  • We aim to show people a Soweto that’s different from the one that is often portrayed. We believe that our stories are important and need to be told
  • Soweto is full of fascinating history and we aim to deliver it with purpose and authenticity
  • Our founder, Lebo, was against the fact that the tourists were shown our community through a window. Lebo felt that people must interact: that people must smell the smell of the township; they must hear the sound of the township. They must learn the [hand] greetings of how we greet here. And they must have a better story to tell.

Incredible Place

Discover our award-winning three-story boombox.

We offer:

  • 4 and 6-bedroom dormitory
  • 6 private rooms, one with an en-suite bathroom

The Lebo’s team and the local community have rehabilitated an old dumping site into a well-cared-for green space that is a popular spot for children to play and is home to the Lebo’s Outdoor restaurant.

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in our Outdoor Restaurant in our community park.
  • On our menu you find Potjiekos (stew cooked in cast iron pots over fire), curries, salad buffets and the South African favourite – Braai (barbeque).
  • We cook in the outdoors over the fire to create an authentic and delicious meal.
  • For drinks, the fresh coconuts from the Coco bar are irresistible on a hot day, or grab a cold beer.
  • Guests can also enjoy other home cooked meals served by the fire
  • The communal space is loved by all our guests.
  • There are hammocks for kicking back and relaxing on a lazy afternoon, and on weekends there are events held here such as music festivals, markets and concerts. 
  • Some of our guests check-in for a night and then stay with us for weeks, even months, because of the various immersive experiences we offer, including:
  • Weekly Burmese language lessons.
  • Sunrise yoga.
  • Sunrise/Sunset boat trip
  • One day trekking
  • Every day Saturday Family dinner
  • Play local games.
  • And more!

Impactful Planet

We have a community-powered mission to empower Soweto and its people

We aim to honour Soweto’s historical significance, people, and local area. As our founder, Lebo said, “It’s everyone’s business”

  • Members of the community contribute to backpackers through cooking at their communal outdoor restaurant, a permaculture garden, storytelling of locals, tailor-making, and laundry services.
  • These, in turn, contribute to the economic, social, cultural and environmental growth and development for generations to come.

Our Location

A dynamic tapestry of culture, resilience, and community spirit.


Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, 10823A Pooe Street Orlando West Soweto South Africa

South Africa



Lebo's Soweto Backpackers