For an authentic, traditional African experience, visit Lesedi Cultural Village near Broederstroom, north of Johannesburg. A melting pot of different cultures, Lesedi offers insights into the traditions and habits of the different people who live there – Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho, Nguni and Ndebele.
“Lesedi siyanamukela” or, “Lesedi welcomes you”, reads the sign as you enter Lesedi Cultural Village and it really is a place that invites guests to become a part of the village and experience its way of life.
Established in 1993 and situated in the Cradle of Humankind, near Hartbeespoort Dam, Lesedi is a place that immerses you in South African culture and tradition, offering a rich education in the village's people, their background and culture.
Lesedi, meaning “light” in Sotho, features the homesteads of different South African people – Xhosa, Zulu, Nguni, Ndebele, Pedi and Basotho – and offers guests the chance to observe and participate in cultural activities.
The village even offers accommodation in each homestead – overnight guests get to stay in a cosy hut and are appointed a host family. Guests who stay overnight will wake to African melodies and music from the maskanda guitar (a Zulu guitar) – the perfect prelude to a full English breakfast.
Lesedi was co-founded by National Geographic explorer Kingsley Holgate, a South African who is passionate about maintaining the authenticity of traditional African cultures. He’s kept Lesedi’s cultural appeal alive by ensuring that every interaction visitors have and every attraction at the village are enriching and enticing, and stay true to the history and tradition of the villagers.
Lesedi is a vision of vibrant colours and interesting designs. Members of the village collaborated on the design, ensuring accurate portrayals of their traditional way of life. These historic communities have been preserved by the people of Lesedi, who continue to live largely as their forefathers did.
When visitors arrive at Lesedi they’re first welcomed to the Ndebele village and then view a multimedia presentation of South Africa’s colourful history. This is followed by a guided tour of the various cultural villages, where guests are treated to an education in folklore, rituals and local phrases in different languages.
Guests are treated to daily cultural shows, and the Monati (lunch) and Boma (dinner) cultural experiences, which are 2.5-hour programmes starting at 11.30am and 4.30pm respectively. There’s also the Ingoma – an amazing multicultural dance show featuring mesmerising drum beats and energetic dance moves.
There’s plenty of traditional singing and dancing, and visitors get to sample traditional dishes in a lavish buffet that’s hosted in the 200-seater Nyama Choma restaurant. Those with adventurous palates can taste ostrich, impala or crocodile meat, and even sample mopani worms traditional beer.
The Nile Room, a newer eatery at Lesedi, serves North African cuisine.
At the close of the evening guests are invited to gather around the campfire for fireside storytelling based on African mythology.
Lesedi African Lodge has 38 beautifully themed guest rooms on offer to accommodate guests in first-class comfort.
For bookings and reservations, visit www.lesedi.com or call central reservations on +27 (0)87 740 9292.