On these Venda Cultural Tours,you will get to experience a really beautiful part of South Africa.
When you get into Venda,you feel like you are in Africa.Its very scenic,rich in agriculture,has some old ancient forests,its people are known for their contribution to music/art/crafts,and the red sand/soil adds a magical feel to the area.
When you stand at Mapungubwe,a United Nations World Heritage Site,where the local Africans traded with the Chinese between 900 and 1300AD,you know you are in a ancient land.This is what we want to introduce you to,on these Venda Cultural Tours
Our Venda Cultural Tours offer easy Proximity for a Kruger National Park Safari.and onwards to Swaziland/Kwa Zulu etc.
As well they offer easy proximity to the Tuli Block of Botswana for a Botswana Safari.
Our Venda Tours offer:
- Historical, cultural, art ( pottery, drum making) rural village walks,village home visits,and possibly a visit to a local African church service,with drumming and singing( special permission is to be obtained for this
- Lodging in homestays(western style) rural Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses,small hotels, with charm, local ambiance, and atmosphere.Upgraded lodging available in certain locations.
- Your guide for Venda was born in the area, speaks the local language fluently,and has certain privileges regards guiding and visiting areas that other guides do not have due to his relationship with the local people and the King of Venda.
- Traditional church service with drumming,dancing,singing,eating a traditional meal,and talking through a translator to the head lady who is a real humble soul.
- Visit an authentic traditional feast,eg inauguration of a local chief,only available on Saturday.
- Visit a “cultural village”,a unique tourism project run by a traditional community,cultural activities incl. traditional dances, songs and drumming. Bookings incl. dinner.
- Visit the royal court of Mukumbani, residence of King M.P.K. Tshivhase.The link between the “Great ruins of Zimbabwe” and other archeological sites will be visible in the massive stonewalls. Interpretation and walk through this living heritage site; interviews with members of the royal family and the King himself can be arranged on special request.
- Visit a remote school and/ or lunch at the house of one of the teacher’s families.Tasting of traditional food and beer. Discussions on the challenges rural schools are facing in the new South Africa.
- Visit the” Holy Forest” and “Sacred Lake Fundudzi”, the only natural inland lake in the whole of South Africa.
- Visit renown artists in their homesteads and workshops (incl. woodcarvers, potters and drum makers)
- Visit legendary Tshatshingo Potholes were in olden times witches used to be drowned
- Take hikes through the indigenous forests and pass traditional villages or water falls (half or full day excursions)
- Visit one of our African independent churches, a unique African experience.
- Venda has outstanding birding,and your guide for Venda is nationally recognized birding guide.
About the Venda
The Venda (also VaVenda) population of about 600,000 people coalesced into an identifiable social unit in the area of the northern Transvaal and in Zimbabwe over several centuries. The Venda language, tshiVenda or luVenda, emerged as a distinct tongue in the sixteenth century, according to scholars. In the twentieth century, the tshiVenda vocabulary is similar to seSotho, but the grammar shares similarities with Shona dialects, which are spoken in Zimbabwe.
Venda culture is similarly eclectic; it appears to have incorporated a variety of East African, Central African, Nguni, and Sotho characteristics. For example, the Venda forbid the consumption of pork, a prohibition that is common along the East African coast. They practice male circumcision, which is common among many Sotho, but not among most Nguni peoples.
Early Venda social organization consisted of small kinship groups, often dispersed among several households. These were organized into chiefdoms, and some were ruled by chiefly dynasties in the eighteenth century. Smaller chiefdoms often served as vassal states to larger and stronger chiefdoms, but they were neither entirely incorporated into them nor administered directly by a paramount chief. Venda traditional religious beliefs, like other aspects of culture, appear to have combined elements from several neighboring religious systems and Christianity.
From 800AD, the Mapungubwe Kingdom emerged, stretching from the Soutpansberg in the south, across the Limpopo River to the Matopos in the north. The Mapungubwe Kingdom declined from 1240, and the centre of power and trade moved north to the Great Zimbabwe Kingdom.
A shifting of focus to Zimbabwe’s Khami and Rozwi empires followed, but the culture did not come to a standstill. South of the Limpopo Shona-Venda and Venda pottery styles developed in the 14th and 15th Centuries. There are no stonewalled ruins comparable in size to Great Zimbabwe in the northeastern part of Northern Province, but those in the mountains show a link.
Accompanying the development of these centres, from about 1400, waves of Shona-speaking migrants from modern Zimbabwe (known by the Venda as Thavatsindi) settled across the Lowveld.
The Venda are generally regarded as one of the last black groups to have entered the area south of the Limpopo River. Their history is closely related to the history of their successive captains’ houses, especially those who were descended from their legendary ancestor, Thoho-ya-Ndou (Head of the Elephant).
Thoho-ya-Ndou’s kraal (home) was called D’zata and the remains of this have been declared a National Monument. D’zata had great significance for the Venda because they buried their chiefs facing it. When Thoho-ya-Ndou died, divisions arose between the different captains’ houses as a result of disputes regarding the question of who was to succeed him.
In Venda tradition, succession to the throne is a complex matter and their history has been characterised by many disputes over occupancy of the throne. Today there are 26 captains’ houses that trace their origins to the great man while a few others trace their ancestry to tribes that were later incorporated with the Venda.
One of the most sacred sites of the Venda is Lake Fundudzi. ( which we visit) Suspicion surrounds the lake, which is fed by the Mutale River yet does not appear to have an outlet. It is also said that you can sometimes hear the Tshikona song although no one appears to be there.
The Venda people have a very special relationship with Crocodiles. The area where they live is filled with these dangerous reptiles. The Venda believe that the brain of the Crocodile is very poisonous, therefore they are given right of way by the Venda who do not even hunt them for food.
The homeland of Venda became nominally independent in 1979 but was not recognized by any country except South Africa. Unlike other homelands, Venda actually drew most of the 700,000 people assigned to live there. Its economy depended on agriculture and small industry, and coal mining began in the late 1980s.
Nearly 70 percent of the men worked elsewhere in South Africa, however, and at least 40 percent of the homeland’s income was migrant labor wages. Facing economic collapse, Venda authorities applied for readmission into South Africa in 1991. Their petition was essentially overtaken by the political negotiations and constitutional reforms of the early 1990s, which led to the dissolution of the homelands in 1994. it is know part of South Africa, in the Limpopo Province.