Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Guidebook to 8 Recommended Cultural Experiences in Southern and Eastern Africa

Introduction

Going on a safari in Southern and Eastern Africa provides an extraordinary chance to explore diverse destinations, encounter unique wildlife, and immerse yourself in rich cultural experiences. Here are our top 8 recommended tours and activities to enhance your safari and deepen your understanding of these vibrant cultures in Africa.

Our Recommended Tours

Mondesa Township Tour of Swakopmund | Namibia

The Mondesa Township Tour in SwakopmundNamibia, offers an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the local community and its cultural experiences. This tour provides an in-depth understanding of Namibian life, where you can learn about various tribes and cultures, including the Ovambo, Damara, Herero, and Ovahimba people. 

Experience the vibrant atmosphere by smelling the aromas of sidewalk barbecues, meeting locals, tasting locally brewed beer, and even trying traditional foods like mopane worms. The tour, primarily conducted by bicycle, is often led by a local guide who offers firsthand insights into township life and culture. 

Typically lasting 3 to 4 hours, the tour is available in the morning or afternoon and operates every day of the week.

Arts in the Mother City | Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, affectionately known as the “Mother City,” boasts a rich and diverse art scene that reflects its multicultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or simply curious to explore Cape Town’s creative pulse, this tour offers a comprehensive journey through the city’s artistic landscape and cultural experiences.

The tour visits various galleries that showcase the city’s evolution over time and highlight the European influence evident in its architecture and naming conventions. Your adventure begins in the iconic suburb of Bo-Kaap, where you’ll learn about the Malay slaves and their profound impact on the city’s food, culture, and history. Next, you’ll visit the South African National Gallery, located within the serene Company’s Garden. This gallery features a variety of historical, modern, and contemporary artworks that reflect Cape Town’s vibrant and diverse culture.

Following this, you’ll head to the Cape Gallery in the heart of the old city. As you stroll through the streets, admire the Georgian and Dutch architecture and pass by some of the oldest galleries and antique shops.

The tour also includes a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, home to the William Fehr Collection of historical paintings. Your final stop will be the Goodman Gallery, where you’ll discover artworks that have significantly influenced the contemporary art scene in South Africa.

This tour includes an English-speaking guide (with foreign language options available upon request) and covers all entrance fees as per the itinerary. It is a private tour, lasting approximately 9 hours, designed to immerse you in Cape Town’s rich cultural experiences.

Colourfully painted buildings side by side in Cape Town illustrating the country's cultural experiences with Safari365.
The suburb of Bo-Kaap is an iconic area located in Cape Town and has a profound history.

The Boma Restaurant | Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

This restaurant, nestled within the enchanting Gusu Forest in Zimbabwe, offers a dining experience that goes far beyond a typical meal. This 3-hour adventure invites you to savour a wide array of authentic Zimbabwean dishes, including an assortment of game meats that are sure to tantalise your taste buds. As you enjoy your meal, you will be treated to captivating entertainment featuring traditional dances, the Sangoma (the storyteller), and a local fortune teller who can read your fortune, ensuring a culturally rich and memorable evening.

Open throughout the year, the evening begins promptly at 7 pm and continues until late, providing ample time to soak in the unique atmosphere. Your evening commences with a warm traditional greeting in Shona and Ndebele, the local languages, setting the tone for the cultural journey ahead. You will then be invited to participate in a local hand-washing ceremony, a customary practice that precedes meals, symbolising cleanliness and respect.

Before the main dinner is served, you will have the opportunity to sample local beer and snacks, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of the region. This prelude to your meal not only enhances your dining experience but also offers a deeper connection to the local culture and customs.

Women and men dancing in traditional clothing illustrating cultural experiences in their country with Safari365
A traditional Zimbabwean dance being performed for guests.

Stone Town Tour (UNESCO World Heritage Site) | Zanzibar, Tanzania

This three-hour tour of Zanzibar’s capital is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the town’s rich history and cultural experiences. As you navigate the winding, cobbled streets, your knowledgeable guide will share captivating stories about the sultans, queens, and slaves who once walked these paths, along with insights into Zanzibar’s vibrant and diverse culture.

You’ll explore the former Slave Market, where you will learn about the harrowing history of the slave trade and its impact on the island. Next, you’ll visit the Anglican Cathedral, a majestic structure that stands as a testament to the island’s complex history and cultural fusion. The tour will also take you to the Sultan’s Palace, where you can marvel at the grandeur and architectural beauty that once housed Zanzibar’s royalty.

In addition to these historical landmarks, the tour includes a visit to the iconic spice markets and bustling bazaars. Here, you will experience the lively atmosphere and vibrant colours that define Zanzibar. The spice markets, in particular, offer a sensory delight with the rich aromas of cloves, cinnamon, and other exotic spices that have made the island famous. The bazaars are a hub of activity, where you can observe local artisans at work and perhaps find unique souvenirs to take home.

The bustling bazaars that showcase a variety of local artists, trinkets and souvenirs to buy.

Our Recommended Tours at Lodges

Sabi Sabi Community Tour | Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

If you’re looking for an experience that goes beyond the thrilling jeep rides and breathtaking wildlife encounters on your South African safari, the Sabi Sabi Community Tour is a perfect choice. Offered by the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, which borders Kruger National Park, this tour provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Shangaan culture and support local communities, creating memorable cultural experiences.

During the tour, you’ll visit nearby communities and gain valuable insights into the Shangaan way of life. Highlights include a visit to a local pre-school, where you can learn about the education system and hear captivating stories about traditional customs, and bush lore that have been passed down through generations.

This tour not only offers a deeper understanding of the local culture but also directly benefits the communities through the Sabi Sabi Foundation. The two-hour tour takes place in the morning, with a knowledgeable local guide leading you through the community and sharing their expertise.

Lion Sands Tinga Lodge | Sabie River, South Africa

This lodge is deeply committed to uplifting its neighbouring villages, Huntington and Justicia B. As a guest, you have the unique opportunity to contribute to these efforts and make a meaningful impact. One way to get involved is by taking a guided tour of the local community. The proceeds from this tour go directly towards developing local projects while also providing enriching cultural experiences that offer deep insights into the lives of the villagers.

Alternatively, you can participate in the “Get Your Hands Dirty” initiative. This hands-on initiatives focuses on four main pillars: education, infrastructure, health, and the environment. You can choose the area where you feel you can make the most significant impact and get directly involved in the efforts to improve the community. Whether you are helping to build infrastructure, supporting educational programs, contributing to healthcare initiatives, or working on environmental projects, your involvement will make a tangible difference in the lives of the local people.

A group of young pre-school learners singing with their teacher on the playground.

School Trip to a Local Village at Verney’s Camp | Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Machaba’s Safaris Verney’s Camp, nestled within the vast Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, offers more than just exhilarating wildlife encounters. They provide a unique and heartwarming experience: a School Trip to a Local Village. This activity allows you to peek into the lives of the people who call this region home and fosters a deeper appreciation for Zimbabwean culture.

The tour starts at the National Parks Primary School, supported by the camp and other safari operators. Here, you will be able to interact with students and catch a glimpse into the learning environment and schooling.

The next stop on this tour is Mabale Village, a traditional rural settlement bordering Hwange National Park. Here, you will meet local villagers and learn about their way of life firsthand. Local guides will explain village customs and traditions, showcasing aspects such as homestead life, the making of local crafts, and an appreciation for the skill and artistry of the villagers.

Woodlands Village Tour at Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel | Zimbabwe

If you find yourself staying at the Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel, a MORE Family Collection property, you’ll appreciate the group’s dual focus on environmental and community initiatives in the countries where they operate. This commitment is reflected in the unique cultural experiences and tours they offer, designed to immerse guests in the local culture and support sustainable development.

One of the standout experiences provided by the property is the Woodlands Village Tour. This enriching tour offers you the chance to visit a local village, where you can gain deep insights into the villagers’ way of life, customs, and traditions. As you walk through the village, you will be warmly welcomed by the community, allowing you to experience the renowned Zimbabwean hospitality firsthand. The villagers are eager to share their stories and cultural heritage, providing a truly authentic and memorable encounter.

In addition to exploring the village, the tour includes a visit to Masuwe Primary School, an institution supported by the hotel. At the school, you will have the opportunity to meet the dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students, learning about the challenges and successes of the local education system. This visit not only highlights the hotel’s commitment to education but also allows guests to see the direct impact of their support on the community.

Incorporating cultural experiences into your safari is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the country you are visiting. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to meet the incredible local people who inhabit these beautiful places. 

Contact us to book your African safari tour with trusted local experts.