Encounter South Africa's diverse cultures and traditions
Cultural villages offer visitors a unique insight into ancient African ways of life.
Encounter and gain insight into South Africa's diverse cultures in a traditional setting, some preserving the rural way of life and some authentic, living villages
Visit one of South Africa’s cultural villages and enjoy a unique, interactive insight into tribal ways of life. Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Tswana, Shangaan and Ndebele cultural villages enable the visitor to engage in everything from crushing maize to enjoying traditional dance and song.
A big part of what makes South Africa special is its diverse, unique cultures and traditions. To best give you an insight into this rich heritage, cultural villages in South Africa have been opened to visitors, where you can see people from various tribes living the way their ancestors lived.
Cultural villages in South Africa are home to the Pedi, Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Twana, Shangaan and Ndebele, who spend their days tending cattle, building and decorating their distinctive huts, moulding clay pots, weaving baskets, crushing maize, brewing beer, taking part in ritual dancing and occasionally consulting the local traditional healer. The beauty of South African rural villages is that travellers are invited to participate, giving you an authentic feel of what life was like in the past and, in some cases, what it is like in the present for those people who remain living in rural conditions.
Among the best known of these is the Basotho cultural village at the foot of the sandstone mountains in the Free State province, Shakaland and Simunye Zulu village in KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesedi cultural village in the Gauteng province. While traditional practices might be similar, each tribe enjoys its own customs in hut-making, hut decorating, dance, language and dress.
You will be told of the people's history and culture, while being offered traditional food and brew. You can also have your fortune told by a witchdoctor throwing bones. Entertainment comes in the form of rousing tribal dance performances. At some of the villages, you can stay overnight, completing an authentic African experience worthy of many a dinner party tale back home.
Some of these South African villages are also excellent responsible tourism projects, as the money generated from tourism is ploughed back into the communities, enabling them to be self-sufficient and preserving their age-old traditions.
South Africa's cultural villages are easily accessible by road.
Tour guides will take care of you once you arrive at a cultural village.
Cultural villages can normally be experienced with half-day tours, some provide accommodation, in which case you can stay over before heading off to your next destination.
A number of cultural villages can accommodate visitors overnight, in traditional-style huts, many with all the mod cons.
Traditional ethnic fare at restaurants or bomas on site. Western food is usually also available for the less adventurous palate.
Sudwala Caves Cultural Vilage
Tel: +27 (0)13 733-3073
Fax: +27 (0)13 733-3077
Lesedi Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)12 205-1394 or +27 (0)87 940-9933
Cell: +27 (0)71 507-1447
Fax: +27 (0)86 515-0084
Gaabo Motho Cultural Village
Tel: +27 (0)12 706-0165 or +27 (0)72 122-6820
Postal Address: PO Box 911-1367, Rosslyn, 0200
Tel: + 27 (0)35 450-0101 or +27 (0)35 450-0103
Fax: +27 (0)35 450-0102
Tel: +27 (0)35 460-0912
Fax: +27 (0)35 460-0824
Shakaland is a popular Zululand attraction.
The discovery of Mapungubwe was kept quiet for 50 years. Evidence of a sophisticated African society went against apartheid ideology.
South African cultural villages
Cultural villages in South Africa offer a unique insight into tribal tradition and customs of many diverse South African tribes and a chance to engage with the people.