Meet Zama Khumalo a young social entrepreneur living on the outskirts of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Zama is the founder and owner of Awesome Zulu Village, a cultural homestay experience with a purpose!
Zama is 26. She lives with her mother Nokuthula, stepfather Bheki, sister Talent, grandmother Josephina and children Siyanbonga, Silindokuhle, Luyanda and Luthando in a small homestead on a hill overlooking Hluhluwe. Her idea behind the Awesome Zulu Village was born out of an opportunity she got from local lodges needing somewhere for guests to have an authentic, rich, cultural experience. Zama, who had some background in tourism jumped at the opportunity to start a small business that could assist her family and community.
All the activities Zama lines up for her guests involve members of her community, from visiting some of the village elderly to learn the art of basket weaving to collecting eggs for breakfast, tourists visiting the Awesome Zulu Village get to take part in the day to day activities and be part of the community rather than observers.
Zama is also passionate about getting people to connect with each other; sharing our culture and our beliefs is the best way we can learn to understand each other better, so many of the world's problems come from people not speaking and understanding.
Covid lockdowns have however seriously impacted Zama's small business but being a natural entrepreneur, Zama has found new and exciting ways to overcome. Part of her plans includes hosting bonfire evenings for her local community to just get together, share stories and have fun. Zama has also been seeing a lot more local South African families using her village as a base for exploring the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and nearby iSimangaliso World Heritage Site.
We had a great stay at Zamani's place. We stayed there for one night after visit the Imfolozi park. Her indications to find her place were very accurate and she was very responsive on the app and through the phone. The room is simple, same as on the picture, but the experience is great. We got to meet the whole family and to discover more about the Zulu culture. Zamani cooked a meal for us in the evening, heated some water for the shower (done in a bucket) and brought us tea and breakfast in the morning. She, and her whole family, were very helpful. She even brought us to a garage the next morning as we had a flat tyre. We felt safe the whole time. We would go back there anytime with no hesitation! Lucie, Lausanne, Switzerland
Nestled in the heart of Zululand we found a magical experience that far exceeded our expectations. On the border of the Hluhluwe reserve we were hosted by Zamani in a quaint Zulu village. Evenings were spent being served delicious traditional meals while sitting high up in the mountains overlooking the reserve with the sounds of the cattle in the kraal and the happy chit chat of the family village members in the background. We were able to have a unique traditional experience while being well looked after and being very comfortable. The attention to detail was heart-warming and our hostess ensured that we wanted for nothing. A mere 30min from Umfolozi Hluhluwe Nyalazi gate. We will definitely be back :) Yolande, Gillitts, South Africa
For more information on Zama and the AwesomeZulu Village, click here