Just 5km from the small town of Hazyview,(on the R535 Graskop Road) midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, you will find Shangana. Shangana is a group of traditional Shangaan villages, beautifully set in the shade of African chestnut trees in a reserve of forest and grassland.
This tribe has direct family links to Shaka, king of the Zulus, but has been living in this area since the first half of the eighteenth century. In what is essentially an ancestral home to families of this tribe, the inhabitants have created a place that is a source of great pride to their people, and provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about their culture.
About the village
Trained guides lead daily tours from the village market, through the fields to a working village. The families of each village open their homes to guests, allowing them to experience their culture and take part in their traditional way of life. They delight in sharing their history and customs, showing their traditional outfits and weapons of the masocho (warriors) and explaining the construction of their homes, their farming and traditional healing methods.
One of these villages is Nyani, where a delightfully authentic cultural experience awaits you. This traditional Shangaan village lies near the town of Hoedspruit in the Northern Province and resembles a Shangaan village of some 50 years before. This village has not been developed for commercial purposes, but is the actual home of the inhabitants.
The grandson of the last traditional chief of the area, Axon Khosa, is the host and guide who welcomes and takes visitors around the village. His family inhabits the village, and visitors have the opportunity to see these people going about their daily chores in much the same way as their ancestors had. All the huts in the village have been constructed and decorated using traditional methods and materials.
About Nyani village
Part of the experience is a traditional meal with a family. The menu includes honeyglazed sweet potatoes, freshly baked maizebread, beef potroast, wild spinach with ground peanuts and other traditional dishes. The village market is a vibrant place, alive with the sounds of argaining and people plying their trade. The market concentrates on local craft and guests may browse past and talk to the artists themselves.
The shopping experience takes on extra value when the artist explains the symbolism attached to each article, and you carry a piece of Africa home with you, lovingly crafted with skilled hands. After the visit to the village, the tour passes through the mystical kraal of the sangoma and visitors learn about traditional medicines and healing practices.
As the sun sets over the mountains, guests are led through the bush towards the great Kraal of Chief Soshangana. As they approach, the beating of drums grows louder and warriors usher them into a dramatic flame-lit village. Here, choirs and dancers tell the story of the Shangaan people through music and dance. The chief's wives serve a traditional feast, including crocodile strips in a spicy peanut sauce, mopane worms, baked butternut, fire-grilled corn wheels and an array of other Shangaan dishes.