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IIf you’re looking for that raw mix of South African culture and breathtaking scenery, then you have to visit the Basotho Cultural Village in the Free State province.
The Basotho Cultural Village in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State is a unique South African cultural village where visitors are invited to experience authentic hospitality and learn about traditional arts, crafts and ways of life of the Basotho people.
IIt is completely immersive and an experience you’re likely to remember forever. The village is exactly that. It’s a rest camp that resembles an 18th-century Basotho Village combined with replica homesteads dating from the 16th century to the modern day. In it you’ll find beautiful displays of the mural art of the Basotho, known as litema.
TThese replica homesteads do more than document the evolution of Basotho culture. Visitors are also invited to taste the local beer, brewed on site, share local food, enjoy traditional dances, meet village elders and learn how local arts and crafts are produced. A true cultural delight for the whole family!
To remember your time there, most of the objects produced in the village are actually for sale, along with items sourced from further afield in the Free State. Traditional villages are always teeming with brilliant crafters who work from home producing pottery, fabrics, beadwork and grass hats, mats and baskets using traditional techniques and local materials. If you want to meet the people behind the magic, you can even arrange to visit some of these crafters or simply buy their products at the Basotho Cultural Village, it’s up to you.
IIt’s always good to grab a memento when you’re touring an amazing country. Among the items on sale at the village are cushion covers, table clothes and clothing made from “shweshwe” textiles by the women of the Ahanang Basotho Project. The Bolata Pottery Project makes and sells traditional pots and dishes from local clay and the Letweneng Grass Project makes grass bags, floor mats and baskets using traditional weaving techniques. Lesedi Arts and Crafts creates and sells beaded cutlery, bags and ties and the Thaba-Bosiu Project makes large traditional storage baskets, called “disiu”, originally used to store grain, as well as beer strainers.
You will also find iconic, conical Basotho hats, called “mokorotlo”, on sale at the village. They are used to keep the sun at bay as well as for cultural festivals. Also look out for traditional Basotho blankets. Their designs and colours are significant, and the blankets are worn in different ways for different ritual purposes.
If you’re on a cultural adventure through South Africa, or even just in the area, get inspired by the traditional by filling your life with culture at Basotho Cultural Village.