Midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, the residents of the traditional villages of Shangana invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangaan people. The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland, and are open every day.
A bustling African market village forms the centre of Shangana, where local craftspeople make and trade their craft. From here, trained guides lead guests down to villages on daytime tours, midday tours with lunch, and the famed Festival in the Chief's Kraal.
Shangana has been created and built by local Shangaan people, and forms a place of great pride and a way of preserving a rich heritage for us, and an example of South Africa's great cultural diversity.
King Shaka of the Zulus, sent Soshangana (Manukosi) to conquer the Tsonga people in the area of present-day Mozambique. Soshangana found a fertile place inhabited by scattered communities of peace-loving people, and he decided to make it his home rather than return to Shaka.
He imposed Shaka's military system of dominion and taught the people the Zulu ways of fighting, and made them wear skins and ostrich feathers on their heads. He did not change the style of architecture, the round huts with their patterned thatch roofs, because they were beautiful.
Soshangana gave his name to the Shangaan people. During the Evening Festival, the song "Ndwandwe" refers to his colloquial name and pays homage to him.
Life however was not all peaceful for the new nation. Shaka was angry and sent troops to attack Soshangana, but they too did not return. Internal quarrels led to Shangaan people dispersing far north as Congo. Soshangana fought the Portuguese in 1833 and 1834. When he died in 1858 no-one was told about his death for a year, and when word got out there was a great struggle for power between his two sons. This became a six year war, a