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TThere is nothing quite like the spending the night in a traditional African hut in the heart of an African village. You'll wake up to the sounds of a crowing cock, bleating sheep and village children. Then there will be the smell of samp cooking on an open fire.
The best way to experience South Africa’s tribal cultures is to stay in traditional African accommodation in one of the many cultural villages that can be found around the country.
At the Basotho Cultural Village in the Golden Gate National Park you can enjoy traditional dancing and see how the village women weave baskets and grind maize. A different period of the Basotho’s history is depicted by each hut. Guests can stay overnight in the Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp which is fashioned on an 18th-century Basotho village. It offers comfortable self-catering accommodation.
At aha Lesedi Lodge near Johannesburg you can explore 5 different African tribal cultures and stay overnight in traditional African accommodation in Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribal homesteads. Each of the 38 luxury huts, with modern amenities, have been decorated in the style of a tribal culture.
The aha Shakaland Hotel and Zulu Cultural Village, a cultural village in the heart of Zululand, was originally built as a film set. It harks back to the days of King Shaka, the powerful king of the Zulu nation. Enjoy tribal dancing and spear making, sample African brew and visit the local traditional healer.
Also in Zululand is Goodersons DumaZulu Lodge and Traditional Village where you can stay in themed accommodation and learn the art of spear and drum making, beadwork, basketry, pottery and weaving.
Cata Cultural Village in the Eastern Cape gives visitors the opportunity of staying with a Xhosa family in a traditional Xhosa village. You’ll be invited to share a meal with village families, visit a shebeen with your host, play football with the local team, and learn about Xhosa arts, crafts and culture.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Refer to websites below.
Best time to visit
Cultural villages in South Africa can be visited all year round.
Things to do
Experience traditional dancing and singing, spiritual rituals and the making of traditional food and beer of the culture at the village you are visiting. There is often a guided tour on offer to explain to you how people in the village conduct their day-to-day lives. At the Gooderson DumaZulu Lodge, for example, you can watch locals make spears, shields, baskets and clay pots, have a one-on-one reading with a sangoma and experience the rhythmic drumbeat and dance of the Zulus or taste Zulu beer. The Basotho cultural village has an art gallery, curio shop and restaurant and offers an herbal walking trail.
What to pack
You'll definitely want to bring a camera along.
What to eat
Many of the cultural villages have on-site restaurants where you can savour various traditional African foods.