Monday, May 30, 2011




I was pretty disappointed that we couldn’t  go carry buckets of water in the middle of nowhere, Swaziland this weekend.  We all have preconceptions of what something should be like and well,  Johannesburg, or at least the areas where we live behind the safety of guarded compounds with fancy malls, is just not what I had  thought Africa would be like. I realize that it is 2011 and time, no matter how slowly, is moving forward for most of the world.  It’s just that one of my biggest regrets from our time here in 2009 was that we didn’t delve too much into African culture.  We saw one dance show towards the end of our time here and it only made me more disappointed that we didn’t do more.

I really wanted to get a feel for African Africa- not just the animals, but the people.  Since Swaziland didn’t work out I began researching and found the Lesedi Cultural Center was located just a quick drive from Joburg. 

After the cheese-o-rama cultural center in New Zealand, I was a little wary. But the reviews were glowing and as a last minute decision we decided to stay the night after our cultural tour and dinner.

Lesedi highlights 5 of the many different tribal regions in South Africa.  They have a mini-village built for each of the tribes (built by artisans from those tribes and given modern conveniences like running water, electricity and a real bed) and you get guided around learning about the individual cultures.  Each of the villages also offers accommodations.  We chose to stay in the Zulu village because a. the Zulu’s were badass and b. their beehive huts looked amazing…


The inside was even better…

inside of our zulu hut

Warm and cozy, it smelled like sweet grass inside.  We loved it!

The tour of the villages was very informative and our guide, a Zulu, was beyond knowledgeable about all the tribes, their cultures and their languages.

Everyone was very serious about sharing their culture and there was no hokey-pokey Disney-esque feel about it.  Thank God.




medicine woman

This guy was by far our favorite though…



He just had such a great spirit and was always singing and dancing.  How often do you get to sit on a Zulu’s lap?

After our tour we sat around a fire warming up (it was freezing) and then headed in for the dance show.  Wow.  We were one of 2 families staying the night and there was a group of maybe 8 that had joined for a day tour.  It was such an intimate setting and an awesome feeling to have such talented, passionate people performing almost solely for you.

As I mentioned earlier, we saw a stage show in 2009.  It was great, but this was a million times better.  It was so intense and in your face.  The dancers were so prideful and serious.  At many times I literally felt uncomfortable- like I was intruding on some sort of private ceremony or something.





After the show we had dinner and then nestled down in our little Zulu hut for the night.

Sunday after breakfast we went to a nearby Lion Park to pet some lion cubs…





Um, yeah.  Are you kidding me?!? 

It was so insane to be able to do this.  Just pay for your ticket, stand in a queue and BOOM- you’re in a cage petting baby lions!  How precious are they and **hello** white lion cubs too?!?  I was so excited I thought my head might explode. 

We also got to climb up to a platform to feed giraffes which was very cool…


Jules didn’t want to do it for fear of giraffe slobber, but after I assured her their mouths felt like a soft paintbrush she got on board…


Afterwards we took a little drive around the actual lion park and got to see beautiful lions gnawing down on some grub…



Definitely more of a “zoo” type experience (just substitute tiny cages for big fenced areas) than our game drives, but since wild lions have such a difficult life it was nice to see some fat and healthy ones. 

Lesedi was such a wonderful experience and I mean, come on, we got to pet this guy…


I could not have loved South Africa more this weekend.

Tons of pics from the weekend…


ablackwelder said...

OMG! I love the look on your face with the 2 little cuties! Can you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE send one to me? I think Doo would totally love it!
Miss and love ya'll, just like always!

MAV said...

Hmm, I don't know that Doo would like sharing you with a lion cub. Miss and love you!!!