For total immersion in the Mpumalanga Heartland, head for Siyabuswa – a small town where Ndebele traditions have been completely maintained. Here you can take your pick of the cultural tours on offer. By the time you’ve visited all the must-see places − Kghodwana Traditional Ndebele Village, Kgoshi Mathebe Royal Kraal, Nzundza Mabhoko Royal Kraal, Mkhambathini Royal Residence − you’ll have made a deep and lasting cultural connection. Siyabuswa also lies close to Mabusa Nature Reserve, Mdala Nature Reserve, Mkhombo Dam and Nature Reserve, and the SS Shoksana Nature Reserve.
For those wishing to experience the tribal culture of Mpumalanga, the village of Botshabelo (Place of Refuge) has an excellent open-air museum, providing an authentic look at the colourful Ndebele culture. Another cultural hotspot is the Botshabelo Mission Station in Middelburg. At the Botshabelo Historical Village, you can have a traditional meal and absorb the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned trading post complete with blacksmiths, wagon makers, horse carts, as well as an Ndebele village. The village’s Ndebele huts are decorated with beautiful traditional geometric paintings that are so well-known in this part of the world.
Visit the Shangana Cultural Village and discover the traditional world of the fascinating Shangaan people, descended from Shaka Zulu and the Tsonga tribe. This Mpumalanga cultural village is centred on a busy craft market and includes a recreation of the founding monarch’s royal residence. Situated just outside Hazyview, this village’s highlight is 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.
While the caves invite you to discover the history of the earth itself, the village invites you to discover Nguni history, art and culture. Look out for beadwork, clay pots, woven items, woodcarvings and ceremonial artefacts of the Zulu, the Swazi and the Ndebele people. At the village, you are also invited to explore the different types of housing preferred by each group, noting the different techniques, materials and decorative styles used. You can also meet a local healer, enjoy traditional dancing and singing, and share a specially prepared meal.
In this traditional Swazi village, the colourful Matsamo people tend their cattle, cultivate their crops and produce beautiful crafts. Here you’ll be treated to age-old folk songs, rhythmic dance performances including the famous Rain Dance, music with authentic African instruments, as well as traditional Swazi cuisine. You can also wander on a tour through the village, interacting with the villagers as they go about their daily activities, cultivating their crops, preparing traditional food and fashioning beautiful craft works. If you stay overnight, you’ll sleep in a traditional “hive” (beehive hut), nestled among other “hives” in the village. A well-stocked curio shop with local crafts and a spacious restaurant with a stunning panoramic view can also be enjoyed here.
WHO TO CONTACT
Tel: +27 13 759 5300
Matsamo Cultural Village
Tel: + 27 13 781 0578
Sudwala Cultural Village
Tel: +27 13 733 3073
Shangana Cultural Village
Tel: +27 13 737 5804/5