Open Africa
Open Africa

Swaziland Route


Features

   Accommodation

Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Foresters Arms Hotel and Restaurant
The Foresters Arms dates from colonial times and is a place of great character and charm. It is gloriously situated on i...

Phophonyane Lodge and Nature Reserve
Ekuthuleni, 'the Place of Peace', was the name of the 500ha farm before the De Vletter family developed the unique lodge...

Rose Cottage and Weaver's Nest
At Rosecraft there are two accommodation units available: Rose Cottage; and Weaver's Nest. Rose Cottage is a that...

Shewula Mountain Camp
Set high up on the Lubombo Mountains, in northeast Swaziland, is Shewula Mountain Camp. Cooled by sea breezes from the d...

Simunye Country Club and Lodge
Simunye Country Club offers classy, old-world charm and superb service to both members and visitors. Simunye Country Cl...

Sobantu Guest Farm & Backpackers
Sobantu Guest Farm & Backpackers is an eco-friendly setup located in the rolling hills of HhoHho with great views at...

Wyldsdale - Lufafa Nature Reserve
Wyldsdale is a newly developed, privately owned tourism destination located on land that was previously under the owners...

Mhlume Country Club and Lodge
Mhlume Country Club and Lodge is the ideal  overnight venue for visitors travelling from KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalang...

The Mountain Inn
The Mountain Inn is the executive and diplomat’s choice for comfort, convenience and information networking. Swazi...

Woza Nawe Tours and Myxo's Place
Myxo’s Place is a backpackers hostel situated on the eastern outskirts of Manzini. Housed in an old colonial-era h...

   Activities

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Liphupho Lamu Camp
Liphupho Lamu Camp is situated in the mountains of Kaphunga (Kaphunga legazi) which means "in the smell of blood". ...

Sculpture Trail
Set on the slopes of Makungutsha Mountain, in the heart of Swaziland and amongst indigenous forest, is a hidden sculptur...

Shear Rock Adventures
This adventure-based tourism operation offers visitors the chance to abseil down Mbavane Waterfall which has a sandy are...

Swazi Trails
Swazi Trails is a locally based tour and adventure operator who offer a variety of services including booking and p...

Usutu Forest Golf Club
The Usutu Forest Golf Course adjoins Foresters Arms Hotel. This is attractive and popular Highland Golf Course, with the...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Rosecraft
Rosecraft is a handweaving cottage industry which produces a variety of products from mohair, wool, cotton and silk, inc...

Aims 2000
Aims 2000 is a handcraft market that sources products for local and export buyers. We specialise in marketing handmade i...

Coral Stephens Handweaving
Coral Stephens Handweaving began in 1949 in Piggs Peak. Specialising in hand-woven mohair, wool and silk home déc...

Endlotane Studios
Endlotane Studios represents a number of creative activities, namely 'Phumalanga Swazihand' which is internationally ren...

Ethnic Bound
Ethnic Bound is an African craft shop business which specialises in African artefacts, crafts and fabrics. Out of the fa...

Mantenga Craft Centre
Mantenga Craft Centre was founded in 1975 as a donor project to develop handicraft in Swaziland. Today the centre is the...

Manuel's Wooden Sculptures and Handcraft Outlet
Manuel Mondlane produces original wood and stone sculptures in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes, and sells these o...

Tintsaba Crafts
Tintsaba Crafts incorporates three craft outlets in an around Piggs Peak, a small town situated in the lush green mounta...

Toktoki Clothing
Toktoki Clothing is a small-scale manufacturer of children's clothing. All their clothing is designed and sewn...

Ngwenya Glass
There is a mountain in Swaziland that looks like a basking crocodile. Called Ngwenya (the Swazi name for crocodile) it h...

Baobab Batik (Pty) Ltd
Baobab Batik are producers of genuine batik-work. The workshop on-site, next to the shop, gives the tourist a chanc...

   Environment

Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Hlane Royal National Park
Hlane Royal National Park, home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom, encompasses 22,000 hectares of Swazi bushve...

Swaziland National Trust Commission
The Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) is the custodian of Swaziland’s cultural and natural heritage. Ope...

Mantenga Nature Reserve and Cultural Village
Mantenga Cultural Village is situated in the Mantenga Nature Reserve and provides visitors with an opportunity to experi...

Mbuluzi Game Reserve
Mbuluzi Game Reserve is a private game reserve lying in the foothills of the Lubombo Mountain range. A shareblock develo...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Indingilizi Art Gallery and Restaurant
Indingilizi Art Gallery and Restaurant is a friendly Africa art gallery and restaurant, exhibiting the best of Afri...

Phumelani Restaurant
Phumelani Restaurant is a coffee shop and restaurant able to cater for individuals, small groups, functions and outside...

Pinnacle Restaurant and Art Gallery
The Pinnacle Restaurant and Gallery provides simply country-style cuisine and game dishes in a pleasant, peaceful enviro...

   Services

Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Hotels and Tourism Association of Swaziland (HOTAS)
HOTAS is an association of businesses involved in the hotel, tourism and craft industries. It provides training in touri...

 

Overview
History
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This route introduces visitors to a kingdom rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, where visitors are invited to explore and experience the many facets of a country filled with diverse environments and cultural unity.

Swaziland provides a unique opportunity to experience a living culture, one where tradition is still very much alive and not a re-creation merely for tourists. Here, many local people dress in traditional attire as a matter of course. The Swazis have a distinctive, colourful national dress known as emahiya that is regularly worn by men, women and children. Different accessories and head-dresses are used, depending on the status and age of the individual, as well as the occasion.

Though there has been an influx of Western ideas and goods in modern times, the old seems to sit easily alongside the new. Cultural heritage is still deeply rooted, with traditions carefully protected and sustained. Two major events in the traditional Swazi calendar are the incwala or kingship ceremony, and the umhlanga or reed dance.

There is a good network of tarred roads across Swaziland, and most places frequented by tourists are easily accessible with family cars. However, places off the beaten track may require vehicles with higher clearance and, especially after heavy rains, a 4x4 may be preferable. Expect to find grazing cattle wherever you go and beware of cattle crossing the roads, particularly at night.

Reasons to visit:

The Swaziland Route offers a variety of activities from hiking, horse riding, bird-watching and game-viewing to the more daring white-water rafting, caving and abseiling. For the less adventurous, there are plenty of alternatives, whether it's a quiet game of golf or a trip to a health spa. On the cultural front, Swaziland provides a unique opportunity to experience living African culture on a day-to-day basis. Special cultural highlights are the annual incwala (kingship) and umhlanga (reed dance) ceremonies.

There are plenty of enterprising artists in Swaziland and many of the outlets on this route stock the creations of local crafters. Whether it''s weaving, pottery, wood carving, candle making or painting, here you''ll not only have the chance to make a purchase but you can also usually see the crafters at work too.

It is also a place of wildness and natural beauty. There are numerous private and public nature reserves and game reserves in Swaziland, and several conservation initiatives have been set in motion to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage for future generations.

Sibebe Rock in Pine Valley just north of Mbabane, the capital city, is the largest single intrusion of pluton in the world. The earliest signs of life on Earth, fossilised blue-green algae which dates to around 3-4 billion years, can be seen in the Malolotja Nature Reserve. The unique Mbuluzi Cycad (Encephalartos umbeluziensis) and ironwood forests that occur in the Lubombo Conservancy, in the northeast of Swaziland are worth a visit for nature lovers. 

Although there is evidence of Bushmen and other Stone Age people having lived within Swaziland’s current borders, the permanent settlement of the country by people of Nguni descent has its origins in the southward migration of people from Central Africa who settled here during the mid-18th century.

These people, the Nkhosi Dlamini, became known as the Swazis, and today both names live on in the local population. Nkhosi means king and Dlamini is the surname of the royal family. The country derives its name from King Mswati I.

Monarchy and the Royal family:

The current monarch is King Mswati III, who came to the throne in 1986 following a 60 year reign by his father, King Sobhuza II.

The story of the kings of Swaziland stretches far into the past; the chain of events surrounding their reign is often mystical and lost in time. Choosing a successor to the throne is not a simple affair, nor is the entire process of such selection made public knowledge. What is known, however, is that the successor to the throne is the son of the previous king and he is chosen in relation to the status of his mother.

The balance of power in the kingdom lies between the king, who is known as the Ngwenyama, (the Lion) and the queen's mother or Ndlovukazi (the She-Elephant). They assist and advise each other in many activities, each complementing the other. This relationship is represented in the royal coat of arms, in which a lion (representing the king) and an elephant (representing the queen mother) support a shield, a symbol that the king and queen mother rule together. On top of the shield is the king's 'crown', made of feathers worn during the incwala ceremony (see more on this below). Below the shield is the national motto Siyincaba (“We are the fortress”).

The queen mother thus plays an important role in the royal household and ruling of the land. A queen mother is appointed by the royal council after the death of the ruling king and her son named successor. She is selected because of her high rank and may only have one son, as a king is not to be followed by his blood brothers. The queen mother will also be from a family unrelated to the royal family, since the Dlaminis never intermarry. It is the queen mother who automatically assumes responsibility of regent until the crown prince is crowned as the ngwenyama. The present queen mother, Queen Ntombi, ruled as queen regent until King Mswati III was crowned in April 1986.

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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

Swaziland

Swaziland

This route introduces visitors to a kingdom rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, where visitors are invited to explore and experience the many facets of a country filled with diverse environments and cultural unity.

Enquire Now

Key Contacts

Name:
Darron Raw

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Tags

mountains culture arts-and-craft adventure swaziland

 

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