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30 Ways To Have a Meaningful Cultural Interaction in Africa

30 Ways To Have a Meaningful Cultural Interaction in Africa

 Here are 30 of my favorite ways to have a meaningful cultural interaction and explore the many elements of African culture. Visiting traditional villages and tribes who still keep to traditional dress, customs and ways of life is an opportunity to reflect on what is common to people all over the world. But there are other ways to dive even deeper and experience "culture" in Africa. Some of my most profound cultural encounters have come during long conversations with my guides and camp hosts or completely by accident when wandering through a new city. Here is a collection of my favorite ways to go immerse yourself in the culture of Africa!

Indigenous populations

  1. Visit a Himba village in Namibia and learn about marriage customs
  2. Go on a hunt with the Hadzabe in Tanzania
  3. Learn about the intricate funeral practices of the Antandroy in Madagascar
  4. Inquire about the dress and customs of the tribes of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia while sharing some of your own traditions and styles
  5. Jump in celebration with the Maasai in Kenya just because you are happy


  1. Meander through the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town with a private guide from Ellerman House
  2. Wander around the Cultural Heritage Art Gallery in Arusha Tanzania
  3. Take a guided art tour in Windhoek, Namibia lead by the former director of the National Art Gallery and visit with local artists and sculptors
  4. Sign up for a guided painting class from a local while overlooking the Batoka Gorge at Victoria Falls at sunset while sipping your sundowner cocktail
  5. Visit Twyfelfontein where you'll find one of the largest collections of rock petroglyphs in Africa with some as old at 10,000 years (there's even a penguin!)
Antandruy origin story song.mp3


  1. Sing along with your camp staff as they greet you after a full day game drive in Botswana's Okavango Delta
  2. Visit a school supported by tourism dollars in Zimbabwe and be thanked in song by the school children
  3. Sit under a baobab in southern Madagascar and watch traditional dancers sing and act out their creation stories
  4. Catch a xylophone band at an evening café in Cape Town
  5. Grab a drum and thump along with the local dancers who welcome you to Gorges Lodge


  1. Walk through the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa and Robben Island in Cape Town
  2. Head to the remote Tsodilo Hills of Botswana to see one of the largest rock art panels in Southern Africa along with caves and rock shelters
  3. Talk with legendary Zimbabwean guide Mark Butcher about the history of conservation in Hwange National Park and how tourism makes a difference in the lives of elephants and locals alike
  4. Stop at Olduvai Gorge on the way to the Serengeti where you can learn about the discovery of stone tools from early hominids
  5. Visit the Genocide Museum in Kigali, Rwanda and take a sobering look at a dark chapter of this country's history and how the power of reconciliation has transformed it today

Food Artisans

  1. Tour the working dairy and cheesemaker at Kyaninga Lodge near Kibale Forest in Uganda
  2. Dine at the Test Kitchen in Cape Town – one of the top restaurants in the world (reservations need to be made at least 3 months in advance and it sells out faster than a rock concert!)
  3. Try a traditional Maasai cup of cow's blood in Merreushi village (only for the brave)
  4. Fill up at Khan's BBQ in Arusha, Tanzania – auto parts store by day, Indian street food by night!
  5. Enjoy a traditional homemade lunch at Tinka's house in Uganda made with locally sourced ingredients

Street Markets

  1. Shop at a Kigali food market with a local chef to shop for ingredients that you'll use to cook dinner together when staying at The Retreat
  2. The Maasai market in Nairobi is a great place to experience heckling at its finest: my friend, my friend!
  3. Explore the Analakely market in Antananarivo where you can buy nearly anything, including Mandazi, my favorite traditional Malagasy doughnut
  4. Wander the Maramba market in Livingstone and then relax on the banks of the Zambezi when you stay at Tongabezi in Zambia
  5. Eat your way through the Saturday Neighborgoods Market in Cape Town where gourmands and food artisans offer nibbles galore

To learn more about any of these experiences give us a call at 800-345-4453 or check out all of our trips to Africa.

Chris Moriarty

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