The focus of Vuyani Kaya is to increase the benefits from tourism to local communities near the Kruger National Park. Within the Kruger to Canyons Route, the Vuyani Kaya sub-route offers a range of alternative tourism experiences, especially for visitors who are interested in exploring the cultural diversity the Limpopo Province has to offer. Thus this sub-route forges links between the established tourism trade and these communities. Once established, these links will give the communities the opportunity to sell their products and services. The Vuyani Kaya sub-route seeks to maximise the tourism potential of the region to the benefit of all its inhabitants, by adding diversity to the product base of the Kruger to Canyons Route.
The route combines already well-developed and sophisticated establishments with previously untapped attractions to provide tourists with the option of learning about the local people, their history, culture and customs.
Vuyani Kaya is a Shangaan/Tsonga word meaning 'come home'. The concept here is to give tourists an open invitation to visit rural communities in their villages. The name was chosen by the community, envisaging that it will make visitors feel at home among hosts who are warm, friendly and welcoming.
What to see and do and where to stay within the route:
This region is host to many private game farms and lodges. These establishments owe their existence and success to the fact that they are situated on the border of the Kruger Park, one of Africa’s best wildlife game reserves. Hoedspruit serves as the centre for the bushveld region, famed for its classic safari reserves. The area boasts some of the finest and most prestigious of these, such as Kapama,Thornybush and Tangala, to mention a few. There are unusual places in the area too, like Pezulu Tree House Game Lodge, where you can stay in a treetop lodge 8m up, looking out across stretches of African bush.
There are crafters, traditional dancers, storytellers, gardeners, singers and interesting water collection points throughout the villages, with many things to intrigue visitors. There are also traditional Shangaan and Nyani villages, where visitors can stay overnight at the rondavels that are similar to those used by the locals. Here one can experience the culture and traditional way of life of the people of this region. African beer, Umqombothi, is also served, along with African cuisine such as mopani worms (mainly in season) and other dish varieties.
Vuyani Kaya Open Africa Route is situated along the R40 from Hoedspruit. The R40 links up with the road that leads to the Orpen Gate of the Kruger Park (R531 road) (to the east). It continues to the south, stretching through Bushbuckridge and joins with the R535 and R533 roads, both leading to Graskop, the Panorama section of the Kruger to Canyons Route. Vuyani Kaya offers something different and is an ideal additional theme to exploring in the Kruger to Canyons Route.
Shangaan traditional dance, “Muchongolo”:
Muchongolo is a regular occurrence in the local villages and is thoroughly enjoyed by visitors who get to experience it. This is the time when the villages get together to dance and be happy and every Sunday there is Muchongolo in one of the villages.