Most people underestimate the power of being away from the buzzing city life of Johannesburg. Sometimes all you need is a different atmosphere just to recuperate and it doesn’t always have to be the usual places. We discovered a hidden gem just after Lanseria called Aha Lesedi African Lodge & Cultural Village. Lesedi Cultural Village is a tourist village which celebrates the cultural traditions of the people of South Africa. It reproduces traditional dwellings and offers demonstrations of dances and other cultural activities. What is weird or rather fascinating about this place is that it’s a mere 25 minute drive from Randburg, but then you’re also met by a Welcome to North West board just 10 minutes before you arrive at the place. So I guess we spent the weekend in another province LOL.
To emphasise on the village part, there’s different modernised huts that fall under different tribes- there’s the AmaXhosa, BaPedi, AmaZulu, BaTswana and AmaNdebele. The rooms have beautiful designs and paintings of that specific culture and some history behind its people. Might we add that it’s quite a big tourist attraction especially for those who are interested in learning about the different cultures of South Africans.
The best part is that it really does feel like you’re in the villages, it’s so serene and puts you at ease. You’re woken by chipping birds in the morning and if you’re from South Africa and you’ve ever lived in a village then you’d want to go fetch water by the river because that’s the most sensible thing to do. A few things they could add to make the place even better would be bar fridges and complimentary water in the rooms, I struggled a lot in the evenings without water to drink and the restaurant and bar closes at 9pm. The restaurant buffets could also do with more options or maybe different options each day, we got rather bored and tired of the same old food. Food plays a big part in African cultures and I feel Lesedi misses the mark when it comes to it. The internet was rather disappointing but I guess it’s also another way to shut off everything and focus on your surroundings.
When it comes to the activities at Lesedi I feel like the pricing for the cultural shows and some of the merchandise sold are a bit steep, they may seem cheap for tourists but certainly not for locals. The website also claims you can book Game Drives and other tours in the surrounding areas but when we enquired about those we were told they don’t make such bookings which was rather disappointing. We ended up having to book our own outside activities and spent a day in Harties.
With a few changes and upgrades Lesedi is surely a world class must visit place it is really beautiful and the staff there are so welcoming and friendly. If you’re not from South Africa and you’d like to learn more about our cultures then Lesedi Cultural village is a no brainier. If you are looking at heading here anytime soon, you can look at spending R1260 per night, per person for a fully inclusive stay excluding drinks (it includes cultural shows & dinner). If you want everything from the room, the shows and dinner separately then you can look at paying, R792 for a bed & breakfast, R300 for a show and R190 for dinner buffet per person. Beautiful place well worth a visit if you are keen on a break from the city life.