Midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, the residents of the traditional villages of Shangana invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangaan people.
The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland, and are open every day.
A bustling African market village forms the centre of Shangana, where local craftspeople make and trade their craft. From here, trained guides lead guests down to villages on daytime tours, midday tours with lunch, and the famed Evening Festival in the Chief's Kraal.
Shangana has been created and built by local Shangaan people, and forms a place of great pride and a way of preserving a rich heritage for us, and an example of South Africa's great cultural diversity.
This picturesque market has been described by many visitors as the most beautiful in Africa. The wide circle of huts looks down towards the Kruger Park, with trees all around.
It is the central village at Shangana, and is open all day to visitors.
The market is a gathering place for craftspeople from all over the region, and has a variety of traditional handcrafted art unmatched in the area. Many of the artists work at their homes in nearby villages, and they leave their work at the market to be sold.
The Marula Market has been an important catalyst for enabling local crafters to make a living and create small businesses for themselves.
Daytime Tours ( 1 hour)
The guide explains different facets of the Shangaan way of life, including their history and customs, initiation ceremonies, the practice of polygamy, the outfits and weapons of masocho (warriors), the construction of homes, ornate beadwork clothing, and the preparation of food.
Guests are encouraged to touch, feel and participate in what is happening in the village, and the guide will explain the necessary etiquette to ensure the privacy of the family is not disturbed.
Lunch Time Tours (1 1/2 hours):
Over lunchtime, tours can be arranged which follow the same format as the daytime tours, but a full traditional meal is served in the village with the family
Evening Festival (3 hours):
In the great Kraal of Chief Soshangana, a dramatic fire-lit circle of royal huts under the boughs of ancient trees. This is where the Chief and his family host the Evening Festival - where choirs, actors and dancers gather to tell the story of the Shangaan people.
It is a spectacular and moving experience, which shows the enormous talent of the people from this region. During the show, traditional beer is passed around and great wooden trays with local delicacies are passed around.