Victoria Falls African Culture

Boma dancers at the Place of Eating restaurant.
There are two traditional villages in the Victoria Falls area that tourists may visit. Both are on the Zambian side of the border. Mukuni village is close to the border gate and is home to about 6000 people from the Leya community, who have lived in the Falls area for many generations.

Victoria Falls Guides are available to take you through the village to get an insight into the traditional lifestyle of rural Africans.

There is also a traditional village further away at Songwe, which offers the same experiences.

The Livingstone Quad Bike Company offers a two-hour bush drive combined with a visit to Songwe. An interesting place to visit is the Maramba market, the biggest market in Livingstone, which provides a livelihood for many of its residents.

It's a market typical of the kind you find throughout Africa, where almost anything can be purchased, from clothing to foodstuffs. Most operators will provide a guide to facilitate the market visit. Image: Zambezi River musician

©Marleen Post

The Royal Drums

The Royal Drums are a Victoria Falls legend. These drums, well over 500 years old, acquired legendary status when they were seized off an island in the middle of the Zambezi.

For hundreds of years they had been kept at Songwe village as symbols of power and authority. One of the drums was known as Makuwa Kuwa after it leapt from one of the raiders' canoes and sank to the bottom of the river, where legend has it that its drumbeats could be heard through the water.

On the Zimbabwean side of the border, a "traditional" village was developed by Cyril Forrest during the 1960s and 1970s. It is more of an outdoor museum than a village, as all the huts are built according to the styles of different ethnic groupings in southern Africa.

The traditional village shows the material culture of many African tribes and you can consult a sangoma (diviner). Image: Sangoma (fortune teller)

The Livingstone Museum is the best place to get an overview of the history and culture of the variety of peoples who have lived in the Victoria Falls area since the Early Stone Age.Brett Hilton-Barber and Lee R. Berger. Copyright © 2010 Prime Origins.

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