Last year, the Homestay project started off with ‘invited’ guests, who stayed for free in order for us to test the product. This worked well and we received lots of useful feedback. Once the website (www.bulungulahomestay.com) was completed and the Bulungula Lodge started referring its overflow to us, we had our very first ‘real’ visitors, Jerome and Laura from Cape Town. Jerome and Laura stayed for three nights, participated in the daily household activities, went on the Village Hike and experienced true Xhosa hospitality.
One of the features of the Homestay product is that guests are involved in the household activities. During their stay they are shown different aspects of daily traditional Xhosa life. This includes learning to cook traditional meals, grinding maize, farming, spreading cow dung on the floor of the mud huts etc. What they do will depend on the activities that the household is engaged in at the time of the visit. Jerome and Laura learned how to grind maize (ukuguba) and to cook pap with imifino (a delicious and very nutritious meal cooked with the freshly ground maize meal and green leaves picked from the vegetable garden at the homestead, usually pumpkin leaves and any seasonal herbs available).
The Village Hike is another activity offered with the Homestay product. Guests are guided from Nqileni village to the neighbouring village of Folokwe. The 3 hour walk takes them through a lush indigenous forest down to the Xhora river and, after a little bit of of a climb, to a traditional lunch served with views of rolling the Transkei hills all around.
Jerome and Laura had a lovely stay. They left 3 pages of commentary in the guest book! “We loved our stay, it was kind, caring and generous. 5 star service.”