News update: 18th April
Most of the people living in the area surrounding Sabi Sabi are from the Shangaan tribe, and visitors to our lodges have long been intrigued by the local culture and customs. Stories and folklore are shared by the many Shangaan employees who make up a large part of Sabi Sabi’s staff compliment, with their rich heritage, in-depth knowledge of the bushveld and local legends adding a fascinating dimension to memorable safaris. These centuries old practices and traditions still continue in the nearby villages from whence the majority of our employees hail.
Guests who want to find out more about daily life within a Shangaan community and gain first hand insight into an authentic village during their safari stay, are welcome to take part in a community tour of neighbouring villages. Schools, community centres and sports facilities, and even private homes welcome the tour; and the proceeds from the small fee levied go directly back to the community.
En-route to the first stop, the Mazinyane Pre-School, guests are given some background on the architecture of the area, rural agriculture with all its challenges, traditional art – even preparation of the ethnic food. Many of the places visited have links to Sabi Sabi either by being the home towns of our staff, or because members of staffs’ families work in the centres, or through the schools or projects having been supported or assisted by Sabi Sabi over many years.
Many community members are talented bead-workers, grass weavers and wood carvers, and are delighted at the chance of showing off their beautiful crafts. Guests can listen to the strains of the local choir practising their beautiful harmonies or the amazing drummers learning a new heart-thumping beat. Groups of entertainers – singers, drummers and dancers – from neighbouring villages are a regular fixture at the lodge – a further example of Sabi Sabi’s commitment to supporting local communities at many levels.
A favourite stop on the tour is the local sangoma (herbalist) who enjoys special stature and is much revered in the community. Sangomas are regularly called upon to give advice, healing and blessings.
At each stop on the tour, guests are welcome to take photographs to cement their memories of an enriching and enlightening visit.