Did you know?
The colourful interior and exterior design of Basotho and Ndebele homes is done exclusively by women.
South African cultural villages allow the visitor to step back in time to see how the people of this land once lived. Found mainly in the east of the country, most offer the additional benefit of overnight accommodation to really get the feel of the country.
Some of the cultural villages of South Africa celebrate the ethnic diversity of the country, while others focus on the traditions of 1 group. What they all do is enrich the travel experience for the visitor by broadening their knowledge and understanding.
For visitors to Johannesburg the Lesedi Cultural Village is a must. Nestling in the hills an hour out of the city, guests are welcomed at an Ndebele village from where they are taken on a tour followed by an audio-visual history of South Africa. Also included is a traditional buffet with singing, dancing and storytelling.
A multi-cultural South African cultural village is to be found near Sun City in the North West province. While not offering accommodation, highlights include guided tours of Tswana, Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa, Ndebele, Venda and Shangaan villages, as well as cultural performances.
However, many prefer villages that focus on a specific culture as these allow a greater depth of understanding. These range from small, intimate homesteads to large themed villages. In a beautiful setting is the Basotho Cultural Village near the Golden Gate National Park in the Free State.
Extremely popular for the colour of their homes and traditional dress are the Ndebele villages at Botshabelo near Middleburg in Mpumalanga and the Mapoch Cultural Village outside Pretoria.
Then there are a range of Zulu cultural villages in southern KwaZulu-Natal, especially Shakaland that offers luxury accommodation in a traditional homestead.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Lesedi Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)87 940 9933
Matsamo Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)13 781 0578
Gaabo Motho Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)12 706 0004
Sudwala Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)13 733 3073
How to get here
The cultural villages are generally located outside major centres, and are best reached by car
Best time to visit
Depending on the region you are visiting, the early summer months are the best although visits are possible all year round.
Once at the village of your choice, get around on foot.
What will it cost
Consult each village website for details as costs do vary
Length of stay
A full day up to a long weekend
What to pack
Be prepared for outdoor activities. Take a good hat, sunblock, walking shoes, sunglasses.
Where to stay
Most villages offer overnight accommodation
What to eat
You must try the cultural specialties at each village