Meet the Makers: Itinerary

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Meet the Makers Tour: Itinerary

DAY 1 – JOHANNESBURG

On arriving at Johannesburg‘s OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) you’ll enjoy ’meet and greet’ airport assistance before being transferred to your hotel where you can relax and unwind, for the first of five nights.
In the early evening over welcome drinks, get together for an icebreaker before dinner in-house.

DAY 2 – JOHANNESBURG

Explore Constitution Hill, a historic landmark in the inner city, located on what was South Africa’s most notorious prison complex that contextualises the country’s turbulent past and transition to democracy.
The Constitutional Court houses a collection of artworks by eminent South Africans with a human rights theme that tells the story with a different lens.
Victoria Yards is part of an exciting, inner-city regeneration project, creating an urban village-environment.
Visit the studio of Blessing Ngobeni, winner of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 2020, and galleries like Madi A Thava and Spier Art Trust.
End the day at The Marabi Club in Hallmark House repurposed by architect David Adjaye, known for its combination of good food, interiors that conjure the city in an earlier age, and a moodily-lit stage on which a jazz band plays.

 DAY 3 – JOHANNESBURG

The Standard Bank African Art Collection curator Same Mdluli will show you over one of the largest collections in the southern hemisphere, seminal to the multiplicity of cultures on the continent.
Go on a behind-the-scenes walkabout of Maboneng, an urban regeneration precinct that fuses contemporary architecture with historic city buildings.
Lunch in the tree-filled courtyard of Arts on Main, the hub of this complex of early 1900 warehouses that includes a studio of William Kentridge.
In the afternoon hit the ”Art Strip/Keyes Art Mile”, looking over leading galleries such as Everard Read and iconic Circa. Linger and liaise with Kim Sacks in her treasure-trove gallery filled with hand-crafted object from all over Africa, enjoying a private dinner here.  

DAY 4 – JOHANNESBURG

Visit The Apartheid Museum, a captivating space that powerfully contextualises the recent past.
Join Ndabuko Ntuli on a guided walkabout of The Mandela Interpretation Centre in Alexandra.
He’s a talented visual artist, traditional healer and musician and the Centre is a Peter Rich Architects’ project and part of a wider scheme to rehabilitate the township and harness its historical associations.
Follow with a visit to the Melrose Gallery, representing established and emerging artists from Africa.
Remain in Sandton for dinner at a popular local spot.

DAY 5 – JOHANNESBURG

FNB Art Joburg is Africa’s oldest fair. Last year it re-booted itself, adopting an invitation-only model, with a selection committee comprising local heavyweights: Blank Projects; Everard Read; Gallery MOMO; Goodman Gallery; SMAC Gallery; and Stevenson.
It resumes its laser-focus as an invigorating antidote to the cluttered cultural calendar. 
In the morning you’ll go a guided walkabout of this showcase of the continent’s best artists served by these strong galleries.
After lunch, you’ll be shown over a new(ish) platform for African artists happening at same time.
LATITUDES Art Fair is the first of its kind to take a lateral and flexible approach to mediating art.
It labels itself ‘’a fair for African art in international times’’ and is helmed by a female collective.
End the day with an early dinner at a multiple award-winning venue in the heart of the city.

DAY 6 – THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

The morning at Origins Centre tells the story of man’s journey out of Africa, our evolution spanning some 3.5 million years, as well as the rock art traditions of the San/Bushmen – the First Nation. 
Meet acclaimed woodcarvers, father and son Johannes & Collen Maswanganyi at their studio in Midrand, as well as artist Abe Mathabe.
Check into the Cradle Boutique Hotel and refresh yourself over afternoon tea.
Head down the road to NIROX for a guided walkabout of this beguiling sculpture park / artist residency & foundation that is a high-end culture hub where art meets anthropology, and relax over dinner here.
It’s a private sculpture park and artist residency set within a 15-hectare parkland in a nature conservancy filled with world-class sculpture in a sea of greenery, lush walkways and soothing water features. 

DAY 7 –THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

The morning is open to relax in this UNESCO World Heritage Site where forty per cent of the world’s human ancestors have been found.
In the afternoon, go on a ‘fossil safari’ in an open game drive vehicle led by a specialist-guide, to view unique fossil exploration sites, Highveld vegetation , flora, fauna and abundant birdlife.
Experience firsthand, two active fossil digs — Gladysvale and Malapa, where Australopithecus sediba, a previously unknown species of hominin (pre-human), was discovered by world-renowned paleo-anthropologist, Prof Lee Berger.
In this symbolic landscape where 3.5 million years of human activity have taken place, enjoy sunset and watch the Southern Cross emerge over dinner on the deck with a 180-degree view over the valley. 

DAY 8 – PRETORIA & MOGALAKWENA

Head out after breakfast, stopping first in Pretoria, at Javett Art Centre for core collections that speak to the legacy of art and creativity in South Africa: The Javett family’s private collection of some of the best of 20th_century South African art, and The Mapungubwe Collection of gold artefacts representing a much older era of visual creativity. You’ll also see the Ashanti Gold Barbier-Mueller Collection of astounding West African gold objects.
After lunch in Pretoria, journey far north, to the first of your Limpopo locations – Mogalakwena, where you’ll be welcomed by owner and authoritative author on craft art, Elbé Coetsee.
After settling into the lodge set on the banks of the Mogalakwena River, you’ll enjoy your first of two nights’ dinner in her company, hearing about creative initiatives she has pioneered.  
Stay at Mogalakwena River Lodge & Artists Retreat for two nights.

DAY 9 – MOGALAKWENA & MAPUNGUBWE

The morning is open, with a variety of optional activities: guided visits to the Research Centre, the Craft Art Village, the Artist’s Retreat.
The afternoon options are either participating in a creative activity at the Mogalakwena Art Centre with Elbé, or visiting Mapungubwe, located at the confluence of the Limpopo & Sashe river.
This kingdom known for its splendour and wealth flourished between 900 to 1300 AD, yet was then forgotten for more than seven centuries. It is now a World Heritage site where many generations left their footprints; from Iron age peoples to San hunters, early Venda tribes, ivory hunters and settlers.
Be taken on a guided walk, then linger in The Interpretation Centre that has won prestigious architectural awards, also designed by Peter Rich.

DAY 10 – AROUND ELIM / MAKHADO

A two-hour road-trip takes you into Limpopo’s next creative hub.
Spend time with Thomas Kubayi in his rustic gallery in Tshivhuyuni village near Elim, for an introduction to South Africa’s rich diversity and enticing blend of cultures, heritage, and history.
Thomas is an internationally-recognised master woodcarver, accomplished musician, drum builder and crafter of instruments. He’ll share what inspires his resourceful work, religious iconography and Venda mythology that feature so prominently in his sculpture.
You’ll also meet a number of protégés from his art initiative where, as a respected community leader, he shapes many emerging young artists and musicians – and share a communal lunch together.
Then, in a close-by village of Mashamba, stop at the home-gallery of Lucky Makamu, woodcarver and traditional healer, who finds inspiration in biblical figures, combining wood and tin to make unique sculptures.      
End the afternoon at Madi a Thavha, located on the southern slopes of the Soutpansberg mountain.
It’s a luxury lodge that is Fair Trade certified, with an informative art and cultural heritage centre/gallery called Dancing Fish, where you can discover the heritage of the Venda, Tsonga & Shangaan cultures, and trace how figurative sculpture is almost always linked to rituals as well as spiritual and cosmological systems in the melting pot of cultures within this region.
Find out more over dinner conversations with some of the artists promoted by this innovative initiative.
Stay over at a welcoming spot in the foothills of the Soutpansberg mountains that’s equidistant between Elim and Thohoyandou, for two-nights.

DAY 11 – AROUND THOHOYANDOU

Spend the day with Avhashoni Mainganye whose friends calls him Shoni for short. He’s a prolific and versatile artist who sees potential for expression in many forms and mediums – as well as in others.
And he’s an accredited guide, who’ll introduce you to Noria Mabasa, and as you wander around her Vhutsila Art & Craft Centre in Tshino, you’ll see how she’s carved her name in history – and why she was awarded the Order of the Baobab by the presidency in recognition of distinguished service. 
Shoni will introduce you to a host of artists and sculptors at the Thohoyandou Art & Culture Centre, where he’s organising an exhibition of his protégés (some of whom are now well known) and others –  all artists creatively influenced by their home soil, which makes this area so rich in talent.
It will be a deeply engaging day, that will end with dinner together in the town.

DAY 12 – LESHIBA

Relax in a hidden valley for your last three days. On top of the Soutpansberg mountains lies a mountain retreat with unrivalled scenery, unspoilt nature, and a variety of wildlife encounters.
This private game reserve is a family-run mountain retreat offering you a uniquely African experience – a stay in a Venda village with dome shaped-rondavels, and one-of-a-kind art sculptures built into the structure of the buildings. It’s a tribute to Venda art, with all its myths, magic and legends.
The Venda village was a restoration project conceived by the owner and designed and sculpted by renowned local Venda artist Noria Mabasa, Thomas Kubayi and others.
The colours and textures of the architecture, gardens and landscaping were designed to blend in with the surrounding Bushveld habitat. Sculptural forms carved into the walls greet the visitor. Pebble stone walks, flanked by a stately grouping of aloes, grasses and other indigenous plants, lead into the garden. A central courtyard is the focus of gathering and socialising (as in a typical African village) and a dipping pool area offers a cool, relaxing space in this unique retreat.

DAY 13 – LESHIBA

There is something for everyone: daily game drives, or a visit to ancient rock art sites, a guided walk along marked trails over open plains or under dense canopies of indigenous forest – or else you can simply relax and unwind in this African Eden, looking out over the abundance of wildlife.

DAY 14 – ONWARD JOURNEY

After your last morning activity-of-choice and hearty breakfast, you’ll head back down the hill for the return journey to Johannesburg – with a snack lunch stop en route, in order to reach the airport by mid-afternoon.

Bon Voyage!

Though carefully compiled, this itinerary may vary slightly due to unpredictable weather, or in response to spontaneous opportunities that might arise.