Unmissable cultural experiences in the wilderness


Cultures & Communities

Our Collective

Melissa Siebert


Wilderness Experiences Culture Rwanda Dancing

Unforgettable African cultures

Listen. Observe. Taste. Learn. Discover. Immerse. Integrate. Local culture comes alive at our Wilderness destinations. Step into the worlds of our Wilderness family who will share their traditions, stories, crafts, music, dance, cuisines, and so much more with you. All of which is also honoured in our camps through décor, dining, activities, and experience.

Rwanda: Traditional Rwandan snacks, homemade beer, and cattle tales


At Wilderness Bisate, overlooking the misty Virunga volcanoes, the Dusabane Dinner tantalises the tastebuds through a fascinating cultural encounter. Dusabane means ‘coming and sharing together’, and the evening is just that: a feast of traditional Rwandan dishes set to the rhythm of local song and dance from our energetic and delightful Bisate team. Learn how traditional baskets and pots are used in cooking and sample typical dishes such as nyama choma (beef skewers), matoke (banana stew with peanut sauce), and kachumbari (an East African salad), all served tapas-style. And, of course, no celebration is complete without urwagwa, banana beer served in an ikibindi, a clay pot wrapped in banana leaves to keep the beer fresh, happily passed around the communal circle.



Leave the gorillas at Bisate and travel to the savannahs of Akagera National Park where Wilderness Magashi welcomes you. Here, the Kugisha Dinner showcases local cattle and their cultural significance. Our Magashi staff, many who come from cattle-herding families, are keen to share their knowledge and experience. Dine on local dishes such as succulent stews, chicken and pumpkin skewers, and homemade ice cream with banana flambéed in Rwandan rum.


Listen to their stories of the Ankole, renowned for their massive horns, viewed as royalty in their own right. If a cow died naturally, its hide is used to make mats, drum-coverings, and clothing, and its horns used for musical instruments and jewellery. Even cow dung was, and still is, revered, used in the art form imigongo to create stunning geometric designs on buildings and walls. The bar surround here is an homage to this art form.

Botswana: Beautiful boma dinner nights


Traditionally used to enclose livestock, bomas at our Botswana camps welcome you in with weekly evenings of local song, dance, and dining. Inside the sheltered circle of upright tree branches, settle near the camp fire, and be serenaded by the wild sounds of the night.


Then the magic begins, as dozens of camp staff enter, many in traditional costume – rattles on ankles and wrists, drums and dancing sticks in hand. The drums start a beat, the women ululate, the men strut, and voices merge into a passionate a cappella choir. Singing celebratory Setswana songs, watch as the performers transform into predators on the hunt or an ostrich shaking its tail feathers. The joy is infectious; and sure to have you dancing around the fire, and singing along to ‘Beautiful Botswana’.



Performance over, gather at a long table flickering with candlelight. Small iron pots arrive one after the other, filled with delectable dishes like seswaa (pounded beef), oxtail, fresh-caught bream, or vegetable tagine. Wildlife takes over the concert, with the grunt of hippos in the river nearby, the nightjar’s haunting cry, perhaps a grumble from a distant lion. Echoing a song just sung, Dipoo: ‘If you are proud of yourself, make your own sound. A bull makes its own sound. A lion makes its own sound. If you are proud, make your own sound’.


Local Tonga music and ancient game On the banks of the majestic Zambezi River, Wilderness Toka Leya offers a beautiful base to explore wildlife at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, nearby Victoria Falls, and the river itself. It’s an elegant sanctuary, where evening concerts by a local band and learning to play one of the world’s oldest games, are the order of the day.

Enjoy the beautiful sounds of the Munjile, a band hailing from nearby Livingstone that plays in camp some evenings before supper. From the Tonga tribe in southern Zambia, Munjile (meaning ‘get into’) plays traditional Tonga music on handmade instruments. Metal cans are recycled and old tree trunks appropriated for the drums, and guitars are shaped from soft wood, including the large, three-string babatoni bass guitar. Munjile has an irresistible beat, but often also a strong social message. Informing. Counselling. Celebrating.


In the heart of Kafue National Park’s Busanga Plains, set on a tree island in a vast floodplain, lies intimate four-tent Wilderness Busanga Bush Camp. Here, during downtime, in between game drives and other activities, try your luck at nsolo, the Zambian version of the ancient game mancala, played all over the world for centuries. Nsolo is a two-person, strategy game played with small stones, beans, shells, or seeds on a board or in small holes dug in the earth. The objective is to capture your opponent’s pieces and with camp staff instruction, you’ll gamely rise to the challenge. As millions have done since the days of Ancient Egypt.




Zimbabwean Arts & Crafts: Jewellery, Basketry and Conservationists


From our camps in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, visit a local village and school. Here children are on track to become the conservation leaders of tomorrow, while their mothers support them through innovative crafts. Through Children in the Wilderness we support them with local youth leadership programmes and environmental education, primary school Eco-Clubs and the YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship) Programme at secondary school level, where more than 400 scholarships have been awarded. Schooling enabled through the hard work and artistry of local women.


Take the time out to visit the Snare Wire Jewellery Project near Victoria Falls, where something cruel is turned into something beautiful: snare wire used by poachers to illegally trap wildlife crafted into one-of-a-kind pieces. Trained by Ndau, a local jewellery company, the women on the project dedicate their income to paying their children’s school fees.

Women’s Basketware Project

See how plastic is stripped and wound around thatch grass and then sewn together with thread made from old rice bags, creating unique household items that reduce litter and other negative environmental impacts in rural areas. Along with basket bowls, the women make placemats, coasters, trays, lampshades, laundry baskets, and tissue boxes. All sold worldwide and in our Wilderness camps.
01 / 04

Namibia: The Himba tribe culture and ancient rock art


A definite highlight at Wilderness Serra Cafema, our exceptional camp on the Kunene River in Namibia’s far north, is a chance for an authentic, respectful meeting with the local Himba people. Semi-nomads, the Himba live much as they have for centuries, grazing their cattle and goats in a 300-sq km valley, sparsely populated and supremely isolated. Meeting them, hearing their stories, will imprint on you forever.


Another people, though perhaps lesser known, have an equally rich culture to share. The Damara people have lived in Namibia for eons, mainly in the north-west, though splintered into different clans. The Damara Living Museum, a small traditional village not far from World Heritage Site Twyfelfontein (‘uncertain spring’) and Wilderness Damaraland Camp, helps preserve the Damara way of life. With a Damara guide, witness the holy fire, crafters making ornaments and jewellery, the local blacksmith, the natural pharmacy, and more. Twyfelfontein – a spring flanked by sandstone slopes covered in ancient rock paintings and engravings – astounds. One of the largest collections of petroglyphs in Africa, it’s a precious record of shamanistic ritual and worship.

Wilderness Experiences Impact Basket Weaving

It’s all about the way you choose to make an impact.

Embarking on life-changing journeys with purpose. Experience life changing conservation and cultural moments in Africa with Wilderness.

Learn more here

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.