At Sabi Sabi Game Reserve, you'll hear traditional Shangaan stories and see this living culture in action but you can also enjoy a tour into the local villages where various community projects can be visited. Sabi Sabi has a long history of community interaction and support.
For today's savvy traveller it is simply not enough to take a holiday somewhere and be oblivious to the local culture. At Sabi Sabi many visitors have integrated an authentic cultural tour into their safari itineraries, which in turn directly benefits the community taking part.
Sabi Sabi Community Projects
Sabi Sabi upholds community involvement as part of its ongoing eco-tourism policy. The majority of staff members reside in the Shangaan villages of Lilydale, Huntingdon and Justica which are located in the area surrounding the reserve.
For 3 decades, Sabi Sabi has worked together with members from these local communities in the support of a number of facilities such as sports and cultural activities, healthcare, schools as well as educational and conservation programmes.
A development trust has been established with one of the communities to facilitate the improvement of water management, job creation and educational facilities, including assistance with transport for teachers and bicycles for the children who would otherwise have to walk a considerable distance to get to school.
Sabi Sabi Community Tour
The Shangaan culture adds an intriguing dimension to a Sabi Sabi safari. Bush lore, legends and interesting traditional customs are an integral part of the Shangaan heritage. On a community tour you will gain insight into a way of life that is very different from your own. All proceeds go directly to the community and you are welcome to take photographs.
The tour is about 2 hours long and takes place in the morning before lunch. You will be collected from your lodge and driven to a pre-school in Lilydale. During the journey you will be given more information on the Shangaan way of life such as what they cultivate and how they build their homes, what their beliefs are and the types of foods that are eaten.
The Shangaan people are naturally creative and musical, on the tour there will be background information given on the traditional arts and crafts that are made and you will probably hear the local choir practising in the village. Talented traditional dancers, singers and drummers from the local communities are often showcased at Sabi Sabi.
A highlight of the tour is a visit to the village healer or herbalist known as a "sangoma". The sangoma is a prominent member of the community who is consulted for blessings and advice. On the tour you will also visit a local home and the community centre. The morning is rounded off with a performance from the choir outside the home of the village Chief.