Exploring Inanda’s Hidden Gems With WOWZULU

‘Mr President, I have come to report to you that South Africa is now free.’ Nelson Mandela at the grave of John Langalibalele Dube, First President of the ANC, after voting at Ohlange in South Africa’s first Democratic Elections on  27 April 1994.  

Tasting MaMtshali’s UMQOMBOTHI

On Mandela Day, 18 July 2017, about 50 tourism stakeholders and bloggers headed into the Inanda Valley,  to get a sense of how community-based tourism development can ignite a local economy and create income for rural entrepreneurs here, in the cradle of South Africa’s democracy.  

WOWZULU Responsible Tourism, an initiative of rural development agency Africa!Ignite and partners, has discovered a wealth of ‘hidden gems’ in this vibrant semi-urban community: places to eat, drink, hear music, view art, engage with friendly locals to share stories, experience local culture, learn new skills or get active on the valley’s trails and waters.  

All this adds vibrancy and local colour to the Inanda Heritage Route with its proud historical sites, where the seeds of South Africa’s democracy were sown.

The WOWZULU Marketplace at the historic Ohlange Institute is the perfect starting point for any exploration of Inanda, as tourists’ gateway and warm welcome in the valley. This is where the Mandela Day ‘educational’ experience started, with story-telling and an opportunity to view local art and craft.

From there, we got a taste of the wealth of vibrant community life, history and natural attractions of the Inanda Valley: A tour of the JL Dube Heritage site under the guidance of the highly knowledgeable Mandla Nxumalo; a neighbourhood walk through a village along winding roads and hillsides;

Then a visit to a picturesque rural homestead of Ma Mtshali in the hills of Umzinyathi above the valley, to try their hand at beadwork and for an introduction to Zulu culture.

For our 67 minutes of community service on this Mandela Day, we handed over 67 vegetable seedlings to Ma Mtshali as the start of a sustainable food garden

Ended the day off for lunch at Ohlange Rocks Junction with its vast views across the coastline below.

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