Interested in cultural heritage and traditional healing? One of South Africa’s most scenic parks, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, will play host to an enriching and spiritual weekend from 16 to 18 September.

September is Heritage Month, so it is fitting that National Parks Week 2016 will culminate in a special event focusing on cultural heritage. Over the weekend of 16 to 18 September, nature lovers will have a chance to explore spiritual traditions at Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

Aside from venturing into the world of African mythology around a fire at the Basotho Cultural Village, the event offers such unique experiences as drumming under the full moon at Cathedral Cave, and a guided day visit to Motouleng Caves. This Heritage Site holds an ancient burial area for the San people and today traditional healers and herbalists come to learn from the ancestors. The weekend’s activities also include a guided herbal trail and cultural tour, as well as the chance to learn more about the cultivation of traditional medicinal plants, their usage and identification.

The Wild event is hosted in collaboration with Sesiyakhula Njalo, an organisation that protects and promotes traditional healing practices. A large focus of their efforts is how to make the most of Mother Nature’s gifts while preserving the environment for future generations. For the traditional healers, as for SANParks, sustainability is key.

One has a deep sense of how things were millions of years ago. Cathedral Cave is a sacred, sacred place.

– Hein Grobler, Wild Card Programme Manager

According to Sesiyakhula Njalo’s Theo Mogoboya, traditional healing is all about what Mother Nature gives us. “We do not use any refined or modified methods of healing like Western doctors. Aloe, for example, is a great sunblock and can also be used to cleanse the system.”

Aloe

Discover age-old medicinal properties of indigenous plants.

Theo says traditional healing is often seen and perceived as voodoo, magic or witchcraft. “At the workshop we want to emphasise: ‘Listen, this is what we are doing. We are also human beings. Our spiritual side does not change who we are.’ In a nutshell, we want to share the experience we go through as traditional healers. We want to change the public’s negative view. We want to share the positive side of traditional healing.”

For anyone with an interest in traditional customs such as herbal medicines, drumming and storytelling, this weekend is sure to prove unforgettable.

Programme

Friday 16 September 2016

14:00-15:00: Arrival of guests and check in
15:00-15:45: Welcome and registration (Golden Gate Hotel’s conference room)
16:00-18:00: Umphahlo (spiritual convocation); Introduction programme; Talk: African spirituality and culture – Role of traditional healing in communities
19:30: Storytelling (African mythology) around the fire, along with a traditional Basotho meal (Basotho Cultural Village)

Saturday 17 September 2016

09:00-11:00: Herbal trail and identification of medicinal plants (Basotho Cultural Village)
11:30-12:30: One-on-one consultation time
14:00-17:30: Full moon ceremony – Umphahlo and drumming (Cathedral Cave)
19:30: One-on-one consultation time (Golden Gate Hotel)

Sunday 18 September 2016

09:00-13:00: Visit – Motouleng Heritage Site
14:00: Depart from Motouleng

Weekend packages

Self-catering

Includes accommodation, workshop, campfire storytelling with wonderful traditional Basotho meal, interpretative herbal trail, full moon drumming experience at Cathedral Cave, and a day visit to the sacred Motouleng Caves.

Package 1: Basotho Cultural Village rondawels R4,400 for 2 people for 2 nights (R2,200 per person sharing) or R2,700 single supplement

Package 2: Golden Gate Chalets R5,300 for 2 people for 2 nights (R2,650 per person sharing) or R3,000 single supplement

Bed & breakfast

Includes accommodation and breakfast, workshop, campfire storytelling with wonderful traditional Basotho meal, interpretative herbal trail, full moon drumming experience at Cathedral Cave, and a day visit to the sacred Motouleng Caves.

Package 3: Golden Gate Hotel (room with a view) R5,400 for 2 people for 2 nights (R2,700 per person sharing) or R3,900 single supplement

Package 4: Golden Gate Hotel R5,100 for 2 people for 2 nights (R2,550 per person sharing) or R3,500 single supplement

Contact Theo Mogoboya on 082 576 6483 for more information or to make a booking. Alternatively, send him an email.

For more information send an email to Ruth Thabane.