Did you know?
In traditional Basotho villages, guards use music to warn inhabitants that strangers are approaching.
The Basotho Cultural Village in Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State is a unique South African cultural village where visitors are invited to experience authentic hospitality and learn about traditional arts, crafts and ways of life of the Basotho people.
The village consists of a rest camp that resembles an 18th century Basotho Village combined with replica homesteads dating from the 16th century to the present day. These showcase good examples of the mural art of the Basotho, known as litema.
The replica homesteads do more than document the evolution of Basotho culture. Visitors are also invited to taste the local beer, brewed on site, share local food, enjoy traditional dances, meet village elders and learn how local arts and crafts are produced.
Most of the objects produced in the village are for sale, along with items sourced from further afield in the Free State. Traditional villages abound with crafters who work from home. They produce pottery, fabrics, beadwork and grass hats, mats and baskets using traditional techniques and local materials. You can arrange to visit some of these crafters- or simply buy their products at the Basotho Cultural village.
Among the items on sale at the village are cushion covers, table clothes and clothing made from 'shweshwe' textiles by the women of the Ahanang Basotho Project. The Bolata Pottery Project makes and sells traditional pots and dishes from local clay and the Letweneng Grass Project makes grass bags, floor mats, baskets using traditional weaving techniques. Lesedi Arts and Crafts creates and sells beaded cutlery, bags and ties and the Thaba-Bosiu Project makes large traditional storage baskets, called 'disiu', originally used to store grain, as well as beer strainers. You will also find iconic, conical Basotho hats, called 'mokorotlo', on sale at the village. They are used to keep the sun at bay as well as for cultural festivals. Also look out for traditional Basotho blankets. Their designs and colours are significant and blankets are worn in different ways for different ritual purposes.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Basotho Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)58 721 0300
How to get here
The village is accessible by road. It is 55km from Harrismith and the N3. It is sited along the Maluti Drakensburg Route, 350km from Pietermaritzburg, 330km from Bloemfontein and 320km from Johannesburg.
Around the area
Book a walking trail with a herbalist and learn which grasses, roots, herbs, leaves or bark in the veld are used for medicinal or ritual purposes.
Tours to do
Guided tours of the museum are available daily between 9am and 3.30pm. Advance booking is advised.
What will it cost
A guided tour of the cultural village costs R70 per adult and R40 per child between 6 and 16 years. The tour lasts about 45 minutes.
Where to stay
The accommodation offered at the Basotho Cutural Village is budget friendly. Alternative and more up-market accommodation is also available in Golden Gate Highlands National Park as well as in the nearby town of Clarens.
What to eat
The restaurant at the Basotho Cultural Village serves traditional meals including motoho (porridge made of sorghum) and dipadi (toasted ground maize with a bit of salt and sugar). Booking in advance is essential.