Along with wildlife-filled safaris, visits to Africa’s most stunning, historically important cities and the iconic Victoria Falls – one of the most enriching ways to ‘find Africa’ is through the cultures and traditions of its people.
Africa is the second-largest continent in both mass and population – spanning over 20 percent of the world’s land area and six percent of the total surface. It is the birthplace of the human species and is one of the most wildly diverse parts of the world – with thousands of different ethnic groups (most of which have distinct languages, dialects and cultures). Many countries incorporate this diversity and even have numerous official languages. Zimbabwe, for example, is home to sixteen – including its three most popular: Shona, Ndebele and English.
The thousands of tribes all have their own unique characteristics, many of which are clearly expressed in numerous ways – including various arts and crafts, religion, folklore, fashion, cuisine, music and languages. Most tribal traditions go back hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of years. Forms of dance are heavily influenced by tribal cultures and can be a spiritual and self-reflective experience. Music is often passed down orally from generation to generation and has sometimes been influenced by other cultures. Various visual cues also contribute to a wealth of different styles of creative expression. Conflicting ideas of beauty and fashion also take root in the way various tribes present themselves.
Naturally, the best way to learn about a culture is to experience it for yourself. This is why AmaWaterways takes its guests to visit an African village and see the culture first-hand. Meet the children and the highly respected elders for a slice of everyday life – and walk away forever changed.