I was invited to spend a night at aha Lesedi last week along with joining in at the launch of their new dancing boma. Their previous dancing boma unfortunately burnt down last year, so they’ve now built a new state-of-the-art boma to take its place.
aha Lesedi is a cultural village located just outside of Johannesburg, about a 15-minute drive from Lanseria Airport. It’s a great place to experience and learn about all of the different traditional cultures in South Africa. They have five different traditional homesteads inhabited by the Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes. They do tribal dance performances, guided tours, have an on-site restaurant and also offer various accommodation.
aha Lesedi Boma
So the main reason that I was invited to aha Lesedi was to see the launch of their new dancing boma. This is where they do the traditional dance shows for guests. They usually have two dances a day, at around 1pm and then again at about 6pm (after the guided tours around the village).
It cost a total of R3.2 million to build the 20.4-metre amphitheatre that can seat up to 300 guests across its five seating tiers. The new amphitheatre is designed and decorated with African art murals, with a massive ‘buffalo’ front entrance walkway. There’s a small stage where the drummers are usually located, otherwise most of the dancing takes place in the central area.
Food at aha Lesedi
The on-site restaurant and bar, Nyama Choma Restaurant, serves traditional buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet is extensive with the lunches and dinners including a wide range of meats, including chicken, beef, tripe, oxtail, kudu and crocodile, along with loads of salads, bread and potatoes. The dessert table had some of my favourites, including cheesecake, brownies, peppermint crips pudding, and koeksisters. You won’t go hungry that’s for sure!
We had the buffet for lunch, along with the rest of guests there for the boma launch. For dinner, they made us a special meal of the most delicious lamb chops, the biggest potato wedges that I’ve ever seen, and a fresh salad. Followed by milk tart for dessert. It was nice to have a lighter dinner after the massive lunch!
aha Lesedi cultural village tour
We also joined in on the guided tour, which happens twice daily. The tour goes to the five traditional homesteads inhabited by Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele tribes who live according to tribal folklore and traditions of their ancestors. The guide is really good, he’s full of energy and shares the stories in such an animated way.
Before entering into each village we were told how to ask for permission to enter and how to great the people living in the village. We’d then learn about each culture and how they go about their daily life and how each culture differs from the others. As a South Africa it was really interesting to learn about the different cultural customs — something that I really should know more about already.
If you’re going to visit aha Lesedi then I’d definitely recommend joining one of these tours. Below are a few pictures from the tour.
Accommodation at aha Lesedi
There are 38 rooms available at aha Lesedi in each of the different homesteads. You can stay in the Basotho Rooms, Luxury Nguni Rooms, Ndebele Rooms, Pedi Rooms, Xhosa Rooms and the Zulu Rooms. Prices range from about R900 to R1100 per room and include breakfast.
I stayed in one of the Zulu Rooms which is a small thatch-roofed hut. It was cute and cosy with a double bed, TV, small dressing area, and an ensuite bathroom with shower. Some of the other guys in our group were staying in the Nguni rooms which I must say were much better. They were huge and much more luxurious.
Disclaimer: I was invited by aha Hotels and given a complimentary night stay at aha Lesedi. Though, as always all comments and views are my own.