As 2018 is such a significant year for this charming Kingdom, over the coming months we’re going to deliver 50 reasons why Swaziland should be at the very top of your travel bucket list. We kicked things off with 5 reasons to go right now, the next 5 reasons takes a focus on cultural highlights.
A tiny country with a big heart and warm, friendly people aptly describes Swaziland – a country that is one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa and embraces and upholds its own unique and ancient traditions. Both the monarchy and the people of Swaziland actively maintain and preserve a remarkable cultural heritage that is probably unmatched anywhere in Africa. The Swazis are a proud and extremely friendly people. They welcome visitors with a beaming smile and take pleasure in showing off their beautiful country. 6. Mantenga Cultural Village Mantenga Cultural Village is an excellent working reconstruction of a traditional homestead from around the 1850s, which gives an experience of all the complexities and nuances of traditional Swazi life; as well as a quite tremendous dancing display by a group that tours the world.
7. Shewula Mountain Camp The Shewula Mountain Camp is a successful community venture, offering visitors a chance to stay among Swazi people in hutted accommodation and experience the local life and culture. Guests are encouraged to explore the community neighbourhood with local guides. It’s also in a stunning location high in the Lubombo Mountains.
8. Festivals If there is one thing that Swaziland is known for around the world it is the magnificent traditional festivals that the country hosts - particularly the Umhlanga (Reed Dance) and Incwala ceremonies. Both are living cultural events that, bar the odd wristwatch and mobile phone, have hardly changed in two hundred years. Visitors are allowed to watch, but neither ceremony makes any concession to tourism; even the precise dates are not published in advance, being dependent on the vagaries of ancestral astrology. The modern event that has gained an international reputation in far fewer years is the MTN BUSHFIRE Festival – a performing arts festival held every May. 9. Nsangwini Rock Art Centre Nsangwini is a unique and historic site high above the Komati River, and the best preserved site of rock art by the ancient San people. The site is over 4,000 years old and is run and maintained by the local Nsangwini community, with all profits from the site being reinvested in community projects. 10. Lobamba Walking Tour This half-day walking tour, organised by All Out Africa, takes you through one of the oldest and most famous villages in Swaziland. Starting off with an introduction to Swazi history at the National Museum then on to the King’s royal residence, before exploring homes, small-scale unique businesses and a local art gallery before finishing the tour with a traditional Swazi braai. The tour is fronted by an experienced local guide meaning you’re guaranteed to learn something new about this beautiful country and its culture.