Discovering The Many Vibrant Cultures Of The Rainbow Nation

03 Mar 2021

South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation due to its rich vibrant cultural diversity. With 11 official languages numerous ethnic groups live together here in a multiracial and multicultural society. This includes many customs unique to the indigenous people of this country encompassing music, dance, language, food, and crafts. By exploring a variety of cultural villages across the country, you will discover a treasure trove of culturally enriching experiences - whether its brewing Zulu beer, discovering the colourful art and crafts of the Ndebele or learning the fascinating click language of the San people.

Shangana Cultural Village

Shangana Cultural Village

Built by the local Shangaan people, Shangana Cultural Village is nestled midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park. At the heart of the village lies a bustling market where the Shangaan make and trade their crafts, and where trained guides lead visitors down to the picturesque villages set in the shade of ancient trees amid forest and grassland. The residents of Shangana warmly welcome visitors to share in their way of life and invite guests to experience thrilling traditions like the Evening Festival held in the Chief’s Kraal. A source of great pride for the Shangaan people, Shangana is a way of preserving a rich cultural heritage.

Simunye Zulu Lodge

Simunye Zulu Lodge

Tucked away in the magnificent Mfule River Valley, Simunye Zulu Lodge offers a unique mix of traditional Zulu homestead with cross-cultural influences that have emerged since the early pioneer days. Guests can expect an immersive experience, making the journey to the secluded lodge by horse, ox-wagon, or donkey cart at sunset, where after sundowners and dinner, Zulu legends are told around the campfire and rhythmic drumming fills the night. Rooms at the lodge are uniquely crafted by the Zulu community using natural materials from the valley and showcase enticing natural rock baths. Guests are invited to enjoy the village, visit old ruins, dine next to the river and kick back in The Cattle Station Pub with some Zulu beer, surrounded by artifacts from the Anglo-Zulu war, Zulu kings, and early pioneers.

Basotho Cultural Village

Basotho Cultural Village

The Basotho Cultural village offers an educational tour with authentic experiences set against the backdrop of the beautiful Maluti Mountain range. Nestled at the foot of huge sandstone mountains, guests gain a deeper insight into the lifestyle of the South Sotho from the 16th century to the present. Upon arrival visitors are welcomed with an informative video which illustrates the building process of the museum and demonstrates the decorations of huts, making of basket ware, crushing of maize and traditional dances. The tour then commences at the ‘Khatloa’ where the chief bestows his permission to guests to enter his village and explore the ways of his people. He will offer guests a sip of Sotho beer as a token of his hospitality followed by a traditional game of maraba-raba. At the Ngaka (the chief's bone thrower) the throw of his bones will foretell the future and at the dwellings of the first and second wives, visitors get to enjoy some motoho and dipabi where the interesting utensils and colourful decorations are discussed and explained. The Village regularly hosts art exhibitions as well as live stage performances at the sandstone amphitheatre. The curio shop offers traditional clay pots, basket ware and other handmade curios. Guided tours of the museum are conducted seven days a week and a restaurant offers delicious traditional meals.

Matsamo Cultural Village

Matsamo Cultural Village

Matsamo Cultural Village near Swaziland offers a fascinating peep into Swazi culture where visitors can wander through the village interacting with the villagers as they go about their daily activities, cultivating their crops, preparing traditional food, and fashioning beautiful craft works. Guests can also participate in the traditional cooking of food, weaving, cow milking, maize grinding, bead work, traditional floor polishing and drum making. A traditional Swazi village is organized around family relationships and creates household activity areas and places for special occasions. In the village there is a main hut (grandmothers hut), girls hut (intsanga), boys hut (lilawu), brewing hut (lidladla letjwala), a kraal (Sibaya) and men’s kraal among many others. Guests are also treated to the vibrancy of the Swazi culture through a celebration of age-old folk songs, rhythmic dance performances, including the famous Rain Dance, music with authentic African instruments and mouth-watering traditional Swazi cuisine.

!Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre

!Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre

The San, the first people to inhabit southern Africa, represent a 100,000-year-old culture which should be considered one of the world's treasures. In Darling on the Cape West Coast, the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre offers a fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge, and modern-day life of the San of southern Africa. During a three-hour tour, the San demonstrate their skills, share their ancient knowledge about oral history, tracking animals and identifying edible and medicinal plants. Qualified San guides lead visitors through a truly exceptional experience teaching words in some of their languages and recent achievements in obtaining their rights to land and intellectual property. The tour also includes a ride on an open vehicle, walks through !Khwa ttu’s breath-taking landscape, a visit to the replica traditional San village, a session about San languages at the boma, a cultural display at the photo gallery and the screening of an ethnographic film at the audio-visual theatre. Guests can also buy rarely found, hand-crafted gifts like delicately beautiful ostrich shell jewellery and ‘love’ bows and arrows. Buying these and other gifts like them, directly benefits San makers in remote communities.

DumaZulu Cultural Village

DumaZulu Cultural Village

Situated in the heart of Zululand near Hluhluwe, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, DumaZulu Traditional Village offers visitors the opportunity to learn and interact with one of our planet’s most indigenous living cultures. This experience of a lifetime includes experiencing the Zulu way of life, watching the pulsating traditional dancing with the taste of Zulu beer on your lips as the drumbeat of the Zulus echoes in your ears. It is not only a culturally enriching experience for guests, but it also allows the local community to continue practicing their traditional ways of living and earn profits from selling their beautiful handmade curios. While cultural shows are performed daily, the 11am show is followed by a traditionally cooked Zulu lunch.

Khaya La Bantu Cultural Village

Khaya La Bantu Cultural Village

For a taste of traditional Xhosa Culture head to the Khaya La Bantu Xhosa Cultural Village set in the beautiful Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Visitors here get to experience some fantastic traditional music, sample some delectable dishes and beverages as well as purchase some interesting crafts. Upon arrival guests are introduced to the spiritual customs of the Xhosa and learn more about their rich heritage. The sound of beating drums, traditional songs and mesmerising dances create an electric atmosphere in the village which will have guests swaying to the beat. There are many exciting things to see and do while in the village, from thrilling stick fighting shows to discovering the mystery of the Sangomas (healer). Guests are also encouraged to visit the chief’s burial site and try out the powerful blend of home brewed Mqomboti in tribute to the chief. One thing is certain, visitors to Khaya La Bantu are guaranteed to leave with a new-found respect and understanding of this long-standing culture.

Botshabelo Historical Village

Botshabelo Historical Village

The Botshabelo Mission Station and Historical Village are set within a small game reserve in the Oliphant’s River Valley in Mpumalanga and incorporates an ‘open-air museum’ Ndebele Village with arts and crafts stores. The Ndebele are famous for their colourful and distinctive homesteads, ‘geometric’ art, dolls, clothing, beadwork, neck rings and jewellery – instantly recognisable among the many cultures in South Africa. Ndebele Homesteads are as lavishly decorated with geometric shapes as their clothing, and their murals are the celebrated result of a tradition that is passed through the women of the tribe, from mother to daughter. Self-catering accommodation is available in the old missionary houses and activities on the property include walking and hiking trails, game drives and horse-riding. Historical tours and guided tours through the Ndebele Village are also offered where guests can soak up the rich and colourful beauty of this vibrant culture.

Testimonials

Shamwari Eagles Crag

A huge THANK YOU

Hi Ash! I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for organising such a fantastic trip for us. We loved every minute and your recommendations really helped make it. If I hear of anyone looking to go to SA I will point them in ur direction! I hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas. Thanks again. Lottie ...

Lottie and Will

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