Are you ready for a unique vacation? South Africa is home to some of the most ancient and beautiful art in the world — rock art of the ancestors of today’s Bushman or San people. It is also the scene of exciting contemporary art of the post apartheid era. On the trip of a lifetime, Cultural Explorer travelers will view fine and experimental art by both black and white artists from various South African communities.
Johannesburg travelers will explore the top national and commercial galleries and will meet with many of the artists in their studios while the rural areas will unfold with eccentric, known local artists such as Jackson Hlungwani and Noria Mbasa, both wood sculptors.
Travelers will begin the VENDA INDIGENOUS ART TOUR staying at an upscale Afro-chic hotel in Johannesburg, then visit Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the bustling township of Soweto, before two full days of touring Johannesburg’s world-class art galleries and museums.
Next stop is a lovely lakeside lodge in Limpopo province. The lodge was one of the first establishments to gain Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa certification. It is co-owned by a family descended from Swiss missionaries — a local entrepreneur whose goal is to promote local artists and crafters in the area.
Then it is on to a remote mountaintop lodge recreated in the old Venda style by famed Venda artist Noria Mabasa. This artistic wonderland of sculpted walls, seating areas, figures, and entrances, breathes the mystical spirit of old Venda.
.This lodge is also a unique game reserve with an abundance of wildlife, including white rhino, the rare brown hyena, and giraffe.
A highly creative people, the Venda produce many fascinating arts and crafts, with sculpture particularly well represented. Whether using wood or stone, the artist carves away the surplus material to reveal the true form or spirit of the object hidden underneath. Collectives have been established featuring pottery, sculpture and weaving, and Venda artists have been commissioned for major works of art across South Africa. Travelers will meet with Venda and Shangaan artists, including visits to Mukondeni Pottery Village and Mogalakwena Arts Centre.
The next stop is a private safari lodge between the Limpopo and the Luvuvhu rivers in the northern part of famed Kruger National Park. This area is the ancestral home of the Makuleke people, and one of the most scenic areas in the Kruger. The region is considered one of Kruger’s biodiversity hotspots, with large herds of elephants, buffalos, leopards, and lions, and extremely prolific birdlife.
The last day of the trip is spent in Johannesburg shopping, unwinding and exploring on your own. This 14-day trip is an immersion in South Africa art with safari and optional cultural excursions to local villages and philanthropic projects.
The Cultural Explorer is located at 211 27th Avenue, Suite 301, San Francisco, CA 94121. Phone: 415-387-1335