Did you know?
A feature of Shangaan culture is face scarring, which was first used to deter slavers.
The Shangana Cultural Village outside Hazyview in Mpumalanga celebrates Shangaan culture, which is made up of Zulu, Tsonga and other smaller ethnic groups.
The history of the Shangaan culture started in the 18th century when the first Tsonga traders came to southern Africa to barter cloth and beads for ivory, copper and salt.
But their peaceful life came to an end during the Mfecane upheaval of the early 19th century. The great Zulu warrior king, Shaka Zulu, sent Soshangana, one of his commanders, to conquer the Tsonga in Mozambique. Soshangana did conquer them, but instead of returning home he stayed in the region and incorporated the Tsonga into his culture, forming the Shangaan tribe.
Soshangana imposed the Zulu military system and tribal wear on the Shangaan, but retained the beautiful Tsonga round huts with patterned thatch roofs. He also kept their musical tradition that features stringed, wind and percussion instruments.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Shangaan were forcibly removed from much of their ancestral land in the Lowveld to make way for the formation of the southern section of the Kruger National Park. Today they are found mainly between the park and the Eastern escarpment, where the Shangana Cultural Village is located.
This Mpumalanga cultural village, set amongst ancient trees, preserves the rich way of life of these fascinating people. Created by the local Shangaan people, it is centred around the Marula Market where exquisite arts and crafts are on sale. From here, you''ll be taken on a guided tour of the village.
Try to stay for the highlight of a visit to this village – the Evening Festival in the royal kraal of Chief Soshangana. Enjoy a traditional feast accompanied by music, dancing and performances that recount the story of the Shangaan people.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Shangana Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)13 737 5804/5
How to get here
The Shangana Cultural Village is 5km from the town of Hazyview in the Mpumalanga province, on the R535 en route to Graskop.
Best time to visit
Any time of year is good, but there’s something special about sitting round a blazing fire in winter during the Evening Festival.
Around the area
You’re in the heart of big game country here with the Kruger National Park as well as many private game reserves and lodges close by.
The best way to reach the village is by car. Once there, you will tour on foot.
Where to stay
Hazyview has a number of quality establishments, from budget B&Bs to luxury guesthouses. There are also numerous game lodges in the area.
What to eat
Don’t miss the Evening Festival, which includes dinner, at the Shangana Cultural Village. Be adventurous and sample the Mopani worms (in season) and crocodile strip starters. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of 'regular' food too.
Local arts and crafts at the village's Marula Market ,such as exquisite beadwork, clay and stone sculptures, statues and pots.