What better way to shrug off months of lockdown blues than to stretch the muscles and mind during a cultural tourism experience in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
With September being Tourism Month, Tourism KZN is promoting everything from cosy huts to rustic hotels, and farm to fork experiences, while encouraging the discovery of rural roots in keeping with the theme “Rural Tourism and Development”.
Charity begins at home – this would appear to be the current catchphrase – as visitors are urged to experience the culture and language of the Zulu people throughout several destinations by interacting with villagers and learning more about their way of life and their practices, rituals and ceremonies.
Visitors will also be treated to a sample of traditional Zulu beer, which the villagers make themselves. Cultural (traditional singing and dancing) shows are performed to give visitors a glimpse into how the Zulu people celebrate their heritage.
You can even experience the spirit of old Africa up close by arranging a traditional Zulu wedding in one of the country villages – without actually marrying into the clan or negotiating cattle lobola.
WOWZULU is a responsible tourism initiative that offers authentic community experiences in eMazizini in the northern Drakensberg. The experiences range from tractor-trailer rides up the mountain, to craft lessons with master craftswomen and guided village walks and immersions.
Be fascinated by the magnificent sunrise and sunset scenic views at the Drakensberg World Heritage site and thrilling views of the uThukela River with plunging waterfalls.
Go back home with captivating experiences of becoming part of the eMazizini village life for a day by taking part in different activities such as preparing fields; planting or harvesting; milking cows or herding cattle; or taking part in traditional ceremonies.
Tourists can explore the marketplace on the road to Royal Natal National Park which has locally-made handicraft that combines traditional techniques with modern design. While relaxing, you can relish a cup of coffee, listen to local stories and get a taste of local culture at its best.
Local women who have inherited unique skills from previous generations can teach you the wonders of weaving grass.
If you want that organic garden-picking vegetable experience travel to eMazizini to have lunch, cycle through rural Khula Village, stop at a cattle kraal, go canoeing in Midmar Dam, stop at a tavern to taste locally-brewed mfula mule and finish off with a freshly prepared meal.
Feast at local restaurants and get a taste of traditional dishes including delicious Zulu steamed bread, dumplings or amangwinya (vetkoek), imfino, spinach or amadumbe.
Workshops are currently being conducted at all WOWZULU destinations to capacitate community businesses on Covid-19 hygiene measures. Each tourist attraction site ensures that all health and safety measures are in place – masks are mandatory – and guests are screened on arrival.