It is through the eyes of Africa’s charismatic people you can see things differently from untouched wilderness, rich cultures to the beauty of the animal kingdom, humankind and history itself.
On a History and Cultural Kaleidoscope safari, you don’t just pass through. You meet local people from tribes and villages, spend time learning their cultures and explore the wilderness the way they have for generations. Allow yourself this chance to explore Africa’s cultures and get to know the people. You will truly be humbled by the experience.
Africa offers outstanding historical and culturally significant sites from north to south, east, west and of course the islands. We can tailor a safari so you get the opportunity to visit such sites, enjoy cultural festivals and of course meet the local people.
There are so many impressive historical sites in Africa they are too many to list here. Early civilisation, Oman Empires, battlefields between tribes, Portugese slave trade, India’s spice route, colonial British landmarks and more recently, Mandela’s milestones.
We can incorporate as much or as little as you like on a tailor-made history tour in Africa, a cultural holiday in Africa or combination of the two. It all comes down to you and what you wish to experience and explore.
When to Go
There are unique opportunities to experience authentic interactions with some of the most known tribes in Africa like Maasai, Himba and San Bushmen at any time of year. It’s important to know that there are literally thousands of different ethnic groups in Africa, each with their own dialect, traditions and beliefs. Many like to go to Africa and interact with cultural groups at traditional celebration times so you get a real insight into local life.
Good to Know
Historical sites, cultural traditions and tribal insight can be gained in any itinerary by factoring in different locations to suit your interest. From visiting local villages and walking through with local guides to walking through wilderness areas with Maasai over multiple days, the level of immersion is totally up to you. Ethiopia is still off the beaten track and one of our favourites for its rich history and colourful cultures particularly in the Omo Valley.
Caked in red ochre, Himba are known for their absolutely striking appearance and commitment to tradition. Himba are descendants of Herero (originating in the great lakes of East Africa before migrating south) and to this day live a traditional existence with cattle as the centre of life. It is fascinating to meet himba and hear their stories, getting a glimpse into the nomadic past that all human beings share. Hoanib Camp and Serra Cafema are the two best locations offering authentic interactive experiences and to a lesser extent, Grootberg Lodge.
Origins of Man
It is thought and well documented that modern day humans originated in Africa. A significant site is just outside Johannesburg, called The Cradle of Humankind where there are over a dozen fossil sites with remains from upright walking beings that existed before humans did, over three million years ago. In East Africa, there are sites with fossils and remains of upright bi-pedal hominids dating some 3.5 million years. Paleo-anthropologists still spend several months a year here excavating with the help of local Maasai, so findings are still occurring and history is literally being unearthed.
With a reputation for being fierce warriors, it comes as no surprise that this strong African culture has dominated history pages for years. One of the cattle keeping cultures in Africa, they have been dominant in cattle trade and land control since the 18th century. Their movements over the centuries show a slow migration to Kenya and here, a symbiotic relationship formed with agricultural people. Maasai protected them from repeat attacks by Swahili and Arab slavers and in return they were fed and kept well nourished, surviving periodic famines. Modern Maasai are part of the new information age and have adapted well to Western ways, coming up with new solutions to what may appear to be impossible conservation and life sustaining problems. As they say, listen to the ‘mouth of maa’ and you cannot die. Visit a village, walk with Maasai and look at the smiles on children’s faces.
Perhaps one of Africa’s most famous figures in history, Mandela left a legacy that guests can learn about through tours in Cape Town and visits to museums built as a gift to the nation and the world. Comprising three separate locations, the Nelson Mandela Museum has the Bhunga Building in Mthatha, the Qunu component and an open air museum at Mvezo. At Bhunga, the museum showcases his journey told in his own words and narrated in part from his biography, A Long Walk to Freedom. Mvezo is Mandela’s rural birthplace and here, you get a glimpse of his humble beginnings. Qunu is where his family too refuge and he spent much of his childhood, assuming the name Nelson in place of local Xhosa name Rolihlahla which means trouble maker. Get an insight into the man, the father, activist, freedom fighter and former president.
South Africa has some 82 battlefields, museums, places of remembrance and old fortifications and they reveal history of various eras, different wars and campaigns that form the crucial history of South Africa. From early Zulu war and conflict to the Anglo Zulu and Anglo Boer War, a history tour in South Africa is not to be missed for those fascinated by this colourful country’s past. Essentials – a great guide, good road map and open mind.
The San or Bushmen as know known are the indigenous hunter-gatherer people of Southern Africa and their ancestral lands span across six countries, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This nomadic tribe traversed ancestral lands with a very unique society and way of life that is today under threat and may die out with this generation. The Bushmen are Botswana’s poorest people and the opportunity to meet, interact and learn about their cultures and traditions is becoming a rare privilege for the lucky few.
Africa’s history is heavily influenced by different cultures who arrived on the continent’s coastline by boat thousands of years ago bringing with them traditions and flavours. Cultures include, not restricted to Portugese, Arabic and Indian. A visit to Tanzania’s coastline or islands of Zanzibar will give you great insight to this with narrow laneways in Stone Town and middle eastern inspired architecture, spicy seafoods, spice plantations, slave trade ruins and dhow boats sailing the azure waters daily. Mozambique too has a strong sense of these cultures with Portuguese ruins and dhow boats!