Swaziland now eSwatini Holiday Magic

posted 4th April 2019 by Danica Wilson in Travel guides

The Kingdom of Swaziland was popular with the Royal family, with Prince Harry visiting back in the late 1990s. Since then, it has really come of age as a hidden African holiday gem with a shine that attracts maverick holiday makers.

It is now a stand alone country with a name change in 2018 from Swaziland to eSwatini.  It’s time we shine the spotlight on this hidden gem to reveal the beauty of an eSwatini holiday.

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Swaziland holiday: need to know

ESwatini customs and traditions

With traditional customs still practised to this day, Swaziland, now eSwatini, offers an unparalleled insight into Africa’s tribal societies in a beautiful setting that is welcoming to visitors. This is the only absolute monarchy in Africa and one of a handful in the world today.

The king, Mswati III, plays the lead role in political and cultural life, and the national events are closely linked with his household.

 

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Swaziland holiday: need to know

Landscapes and African safaris

Swaziland has a varied landscape from river valleys, cool mountains, Lowveld in the east and highveld in the west. Enjoy a safari component to your eSwaziland Holiday at Mikhaya Game Reserve, one of the 17 protected areas and considered one of the very best places to witness rhino in their natural habitat.

The Ezulwini Valley is a great place to explore and here you can try some local cuisine that is heavily influenced by the Portuguese thanks to nearby Mozambique. Expect seafood and prawns that we found in areas like the Big Bend. African staples like pap and stew can be expected in more remote areas and of course you can try traditional Swazi beer if you’re brave – it packs quite a punch.

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Swaziland holiday: need to know

Festivals and events in Swaziland

Swaziland has an impressive collection of festivals from performing arts and music to cultural annual events.

The most sacred ceremony for the Swazi people is known as Incwala. This is the first fruits ceremony where the king gives permission for his people to eat the first crops grown in the new year. It takes place late December / early January and runs for a week. It is fiercely traditional so tourists need to take heed of strict rules and restrictions.

Unhlanga Reed Dance festival is the best known cultural celebration. It brings the nation together and reminds the people of their relationship to the king. This week long festival is like a debutante ball for young swazi women not yet married who come from all over the country to help prepare the queen mother’s home at Lobamba.    It is very strict and visitors are only allowed to take photographs with prior permission from the Ministry of Information.

The best festival for tourists is the Bushfire Festival in May featuring music, poetry and theatre. It takes place at the House of Fire in Malkerns. Check it out, it’s rather impressive for a small country still finding its feet on a global stage.    2019 is sold out already, so why not plan for 2020? We can get you there.

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