South African cultural villages to visit this Heritage Day

22 Sep 2023

Cultural Villages are living museums that allow people to learn more about the diverse traditions and cultures of South Africa’s huge range of ethnic groups.

Heritage Day South Africa - Figure 1
Photo Getaway Magazine

These villages provide immersive experiences where visitors can gain insight into the rich cultural heritage of South Africa and interact with our different local communities.

1. DumaZulu Lodge and Traditional Village, KwaZulu Natal

Zamani Nkosi’s grandmother, Josephina, makes reed mats for sale.

Learn more about Zulu customs, ancestors and sangomas, traditional outfits, and cattle’s role in families. Guests are treated to Zulu music and dancing and can sample traditional beers and foods. They are also shown how beadwork, crafts, baskets, spears, and shields are made.

Visitors can stay over at DumaZulu Lodge and Traditional Village as it provides accommodation and dining facilities.

2. Isinamva Cultural Village, Eastern Cape

Picture: Unsplash

In KwaBhaca, within the Eastern Cape province, guests are welcomed into the Isinamva Cultural Village with traditional songs. Spend time with this Xhosa community, hearing their cultural and educational stories, learning to cook as they do, and visiting healers.

Heritage Day South Africa - Figure 2
Photo Getaway Magazine

Villagers will also take you on a tour of their schools, daycare centres, and development projects.

3. Shangana Cultural Village, Mpumalanga

Community members from the Shangana Cultural Village invite visitors to learn about the Shangaan people and their way of life. Zulu and Tsonga cultures converge in this community, and you can see how the Shangaan’s traditions and culture combine both cultural groups.

Trained guides will take you through the vibrant African market, where villagers sell their crafts. You will also gain insight into Shangaan’s initiation ceremonies, cultures, foods, outfits, weapons, and home construction.

4. Basotho Cultural Village, Free State

Picture: Melanie van Zyl.

A community of South Sotho people lives at the base of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Visitors are introduced to this group through a video showcasing the decoration of huts, basket making, maize crushing, and traditional dances. A tour around this mountain-based village follows the video.

Heritage Day South Africa - Figure 3
Photo Getaway Magazine

Further, Basotho Cultural Village hosts regular art exhibitions where you can purchase traditional clay pots, baskets, and other handmade crafts.

5. Lesedi Cultural Village, North West

Picture: Unsplash

Delve into the Ndebele’s multi-cultural Lesedi Village in Hartebeespoort, North West. Visitors are treated to a first-hand understanding of the local’s rich cultural background and customs. Tour the village, learn more about the history and origin of South Africa, and enjoy the village’s daily entertainment shows.

Guests are also invited to tour the five traditional homesteads of the Xhosa, Ndebele, Basotho, Zulu, and Pedi tribes.

6. Botshabelo Historical Village, Mpumalanga

Botshabelo Historical Village in Middelburg was originally a Christian mission station. It is now a historic site that preserves the Ndebele people’s culture and heritage.

It is considered an open-air museum where visitors can experience the local’s rich traditions, gaining insight into the Ndebele’s clothing, beadwork, and homesteads.

Heritage Day South Africa - Figure 4
Photo Getaway Magazine
7. Shakaland Cultural Village, KwaZulu Natal

This truly unique cultural village began as the backdrop for the ‘Shaka Zulu’ movie. Shakaland Cultural Village offers one of the country’s best Zulu experiences, allowing visitors to sample homemade beer, consult a natural herbalist, and participate in traditional ceremonies.

Beadwork is used to symbolise status and convey messages to fellow community members. Learn more about the role that beadwork plays in the Zulu culture.

8. Cata Cultural Village, Eastern Cape

Cata Cultural Village sits in a valley between the mountains and invites visitors to learn about the Cata people. Indulge in their traditional meals, learn how they make their crafts and art, hear of their fascinating history, and play a game of soccer or two with the local people.

The Cata people warmly welcome visitors into their village and homes.

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