Past Experiences: Walking Tours

Past Experiences, the first established company to offer full-time walking tours in Johannesburg, is a small female-owned walking tour company that puts an equal emphasis on street art, history, and city regeneration.

Headed by Jo Buitendach, the company was voted one of the Guardian Newspaper’s '10 of the World’s Best Tour Guides' in 2015. Since its beginning in 2009, Past Experiences has taken more than 15 000 visitors through Johannesburg and Soweto. Tours are customized to each visitor, encouraging them to submit their interests and bucket list items beforehand, making each tour different to the one before it.

Tours include a Naming Jozi tour, where guests learn the stories and faces behind the names of many of Johannesburg’s areas and streets. The Mining District tour goes back in time to 1886, when gold was first discovered. The Newtown, I Love Braam, and Public Art tours focus on city regeneration and public art, while the Ferreirasdorp Explore tour delves into the Muslim and Hindu community, and gives visitors a chance to view the many historical 20th-century buildings surrounding it.

Guides also take this opportunity to educate patrons about the community’s significance in the Apartheid era, and how it was home to Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo’s legal office, one of the stops on the tour. Soweto's conception, its role in history, and the 1976 student uprising are covered in the Soweto walking tour.

Soweto innercity and graffiti tours can be booked on their website, as well as geography, history, and art educational tours for students.

Tours take place Monday - Friday and on Saturday and Sunday mornings