There is an air of adventure that permeates KwaZulu-Natal, a kind of irresistible allure to investigate its nuances and experience its heart. A big part of this appeal comes from its rich history and heritage, which has infused every part of it with a magical quality of diversity; celebrating differences and appreciating how the complex Zulu culture has shaped the vibrant, modern KZN of today.

Although this province is bursting at the seams with glitzy malls, cutting-edge entertainment centres, and an endless variety of adventure sports; it is also home to some fantastic cultural villages. Visiting these gives guests the opportunity to meet with locals, listen to traditional songs, watch as they put on a dance performance to the beat of African drums, sample local cuisine, visit a traditional tavern (shebeen), and get a glimpse into the life and customs of the Zulu folk.

Across the province, there are several villages that invite visitors to be part of the Zulu experience. These include:

Dumazulu Traditional Village

Lot H29, Bushlands Road, Hluhluwe, Zululand

Enjoy the song and dance show, followed by a delicious traditional lunch, which wouldn’t be complete without tasting the rich beer brewed on site. Arts and crafts are also on sale and are particularly special as they are all completely ‘green’; produced from the land with no harmful or synthetic processes or products. Dumazulu is an important resource for supporting the local Zulu community in Hluhluwe.

Shakaland Zulu Cultural Village

Normanhurst Farm, R66, Eshowe, Zululand

This is a fun and authentic Zulu culture experience. In addition to performances and traditional food, visitors also get a chance to sit with the local sangoma (witch doctor) and the herbalist (inyanga), participate in a ceremony, and buy beautiful goods as reminders of their time here. For those that have a little time, a tour to King Shaka’s kraal is complemented by a movie about this powerful king.

Kwabhekithunga

Stewarts Farm, Eshowe, Zululand

The cultural show and the tour through this Zulu village are highly recommended. Visitors can expect fantastic songs and dances, and an opportunity to meet the chief of this village as he addresses his visitors with authority and grace. A six-course meal is included in this memorable experience. Products on offer include animal skins, woven baskets, beadwork and even traditional weapons.

Simunye Zulu Village

Melmoth, Zululand

Situated right in the heart of the Mfule River Valley, against spectacular backdrops, is the charming Simunye Zulu Village. Visitors are taken by donkey cart or ox wagon from the old trading store to get the opportunity to meet the Zulu folk, watch their performances, and listen to the soulful beat of the drums. Languorous traditional meals on the river banks or around the fire make this just about perfect.

Of course, KwaZulu-Natal is home to many more traditional villages. Each has its own unique drawcard. Families, honeymooning couples, corporate teams and backpackers alike will love exploring these and meeting the intriguing people that contribute to the magic of our Rainbow Nation.