Shakaland, billed as 'the greatest Zulu experience in Africa', is a replication of a Zulu 'Umuzi' or homestead, complete with 55 very comfortable beehive huts that overlook the Phobane Lake. Participate in a traditional ceremony, learn Zulu customs, try traditional beer and thrill to energetic Zulu dancing.

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Traditionally many African tribes use beadwork to convey messages.

Shakaland Zulu cultural village is a unique resort built amid thorn trees and aloes that was originally the set of the movie Shaka Zulu, which documented the life of the most influential leader of the Zulu empire. Shaka Zulu was credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people through military genius. Several authentic Zulu kraals were constructed for the film, but were all set alight after the shoot bar one, that of Shaka's father and today, Shakaland.

This South African Zulu village offers a comprehensive Zulu experience, from foot-stomping tribal dancing by assegai-wielding warriors in traditional animal skins to consultations with a sangoma (spiritual leader believed to have the ability to communicate with the ancestors) and an inyanga (traditional herbalist).

Shakaland is divided into the 'home of the Zulus' and 55 hotel rooms in the form of beehive huts, but equipped with modern creature comforts including DStv.

Visitors can choose between a three-hour midday tour programme, or, for a truly enriching experience affording a better understanding of the Zulu nation, its people and their intriguingly customs, there's the two-day 'culture tour'. This includes a video explaining the origin and history of the Zulu people, followed by an introduction to traditional Zulu social systems, fighting formations, the keeping of the home, the sangoma, the inyanga, beadwork, pottery, beer brewing and spear throwing.

The surroundings of Shakaland Zulu village are idyllic. The hills to its east offer a splendid view over the Mhlatuze Valley, where Shaka's military stronghold, KwaBulawayo, once stood. Today there is virtually nothing left of the 19th-century citadel that commanded so much of the Southern African region.

Below Shakaland is Goedertrou Dam, on which you can take a spectacular sunset boat cruise.

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