So I had a full day before Lizzy, my daughter arrives. Instead of locking myself inside my hotel room, I decided to take a tour of the Lesedi Village, which was one of the top day tours for visitors to Johannesburg. The others were the Apartheid Museum and Soweto tours.
I decided to take this first, since I was dying to get a taste of Africa. Johannesburg was a sprawling and boring city, so I wanted to see some action, even though it meant it would be staged. So, even though the tour price was quite expensive, I decided to take the 30-minute drive up north from downtown Johannesburg to Lesedi.
I expected it to be a tourist trap, since it's part of the usual tours so didn't expect that much. We were welcomed by the cast of characters of the village. They were intimidating at first, but I realized that it was all part of the "show".
The place actually looked promising. There was a cafe near the entrance. I started to wander around, while waiting for the tour guide to release our tickets.
Beside the cafe was a stocked up souvenir shop. It was full of interesting items, and all tell me that I was indeed in Africa. I gave into the temptation and bought my first very first African souvenir, a small wall mask.
The tour guide rounded us up, and led us into a theater which had the feel of a warehouse. I actually forgot what we watched, but I think it was about the history of the people of South Africa. It was then I understood that Lesedi was a place that would showcase the different tribes of South Africa.
Now, I will not write down which tribes I visited, so I will just leave you with captions on these pictures. The one above is the first tribe that we visited. Lesedi was built like a theme park of South Africa's tribes, so you actually get to see what a village of a particular tribe looks like.
Our guide explained what they do in the village, and show how the members of the tribe interact with each other.
We moved to another tribe. This one had stone houses, and the people here looked very mysterious.
The next village allowed us to enter these houses.
When we entered, they asked the men to sit on one side, apart from the women. They then explained that the women was to the right of the door for them to be protected from sudden attacks. You see, the door swings to the right, so naturally, the attacker will face the left side, where the men were.
The houses below had horse dung spread across the front of their doors. This was meant to keep insects away. I think it was also meant to drive some animals out. Needless to say, the smell was very unpleasant, so we didn't stay long here.
There were around 2 more tribes, so we visited around 7 villages. It was indeed like a theme park, or a museum even. At the end, we were brought to the main theater, where all the cast members performed various dances.
At the end of the tour, we were treated to a buffet of African cuisine. The dishes included crocodile, deer, ostrich and even snakes. I tried everything, and found the crocodile the most unsatisfying.
The Lesedi Village actually was a lodge as well where visitors can stay. They can choose which of the houses they want to sleep in, and you even get to live with the tribe itself. When we went around though, it seemed that nobody was checked-in.
The tour took around 4 hours in total, so it was relatively quick. The drive back took longer, since we had to drop off some other guests in other hotels. I was tired, and eagerly awaiting for my daughter's arrival so I decided to just grab a drink in my hotel. The trip is just beginning, so stay tuned.