TRADITIONS AND RITUALS
THE CHOOSING OF THE KING
The Royal Council plays an important part in choosing the successor to the throne who must be single and a Dlamini. If he is still a minor then the Queen Mother to the late King automatically becomes Queen Regent until the prince is crowned.
THE NCWALA CEREMONY
The King plays an important part in this "First Fruit" or Ncwala ceremony and it is held in December or January - the date being chosen carefully by astrologers. Traditionally it is forbidden to eat the fruits and vegetables of the season until they have been tasted by His Majesty the King.
THE UMHLANGA OR REED DANCE
The Umhlanga takes place in late August or early September each year and maidens from all over the Kingdom pay homage to the Queen Mother.
This a vigorous dance performed by teams of men throughout the Kingdom.
GEOGRAPHY OF SWAZILAND
From North to South, Swaziland is divided into four geographical regions:
Hlghveld, Mlddleveld, Lowveld and Lubombo.
The Lubombo, which is a montainous range, divides Swaziland from Mozambique in the east, with the north, south and west being bounded by South Africa. Climatically, rainfall and temperatures vary between the different regions with the lowveld experiencing generally much higher summer temperatures of +400c. Rainfall with thunderstorms is during the summer months between November - April. Seasons and average temperatures for Mbabane (Highveld).
Autumn Apr - May +17c
Winter Jun - Aug +13c
Spring Sep - Oct +18c
Summer Nov - Mar +20c
MBABANE (The Capital)
Mbabane, meaning "something sharp and bitter" is the government centre of Swaziland and was founded as administrative capital in 1902.
Mbabane boasts many attractions for the tourist, including hotels and restaurants, art galleries, a theatre club, golf course and club, a library, cinema, Embassies, banking facilities Mbabane Market hosting an assortment of arts, crafts, fruit and vegetables.
The Swazi Plaza, The Mall and The New Mall offer a wide variety of shops, coffee houses, restaurants, banks, supermarkets boutiques, bookshops, handcraft and curios, shoes, chemists, gift shops, jewellers, travel agents, photography and hair salonsto name but a few.
Fed by the little Usutu River, this dam is very popular for windsurfing and sailing and is only 5km from Mbabane.
It is part of the Komati River, situated at 12 km south of Piggs Peak. Maguga Dam is the 4th highest dam in Southern Africa at 115 metres high.
MHLAMBANYATSI AND THE USUTU FORESTS Mhlambanyatsi or 'Watering Place of the Buffaloes" is home to the many employees of the nearby Pulp company with the Village offering many essential facilities.
Outside the village very popular country hotels and hideaway cot-tages where trout fishing, nature trails and horse riding are a must.
Known for the rearing of Angora goats and Merino sheep which support a local industry of mohair products. This area boasts wonderful scenic views as you drop steeply into Mankayane from the Highveld.
Today a timber producing area covered in forests, Piggs Peak was once a gold mining town. Set in spectacular mountain ranges, you will find bushmen paintings, waterfalls, Hotels and casino, horse ridding, out-rides, handcrafts, mohair spinning and weaving, basketware and beadwork. Near Piggs Peak is a nature reserve with luxury accommodation in the form of lodges set in and around mountains, waterfalls and forests.
The Ngwenya and Silotwane mountains form part of anature reserve encompassing Highveld and Middleveld landscape and exceptional high water¬falls. This nature reserve has 180km of hiking trails varying in strenuous standards and rich in plant life and game viewing with excellent accommodation. Beneath Ngwenya mountain peak is the Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine which is no longer in operation but is said to be the oldest of its kind in the world. Nearby is the only glass making factory of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere where recycled glass is hand-blown into various pieces. Also situated in the area is a studio specialising in unique tapestries of limited editions.
The Hawane Dam north of Mbabane is very popular with birdwatches and visitors to the nearby park.
MANZINI: Situated in the centre of the kingdom is the "Hub" of the nation - Manzini, the original capital of the nation until! the capital was moved to Mbabane during the Boer War. All arterial roads and railways branch out from Manzini in all directions.
Manzini has two large shopping centres (The Bhunu Mall and The Hub) which offers a wide selection of shops, restaurants, boutiques, jewellers,supermarkets, booksellers and many more. Manzini is the official host to The Swaziland International Trade Fair which is an annual event around the month of August promoting commerce and industry of the Kingdom.
This area is mainly made up of industrial sites and is home to the majority of Swaziland's industry and is such a major centre for employment of Swazi people. Found at Matsapha is a rehabilitation centre for the handicapped and Hospice which tenders to the needs of the terminally ill and their families.
Swaziland's International Airport is situated at Matsapha, en route to Manzini.
On the way to Malkerns, which is a major farming area, one will find road-side stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, craft shops, restaurants, a candle factory, a cannery, a batik shop, stables, nurseries and the Factory of Agriculture of University of Swaziland.
The Houses of Parliament consisting of two chambers (Senate and House of Assembly) can be found at Lobamba which is open to official guided tours for visitors.
The National Museum which is rich in Swazi history and tradition is situated next to Parliament. Newly built is King Sobhuza II Memorial Park which is also a centre of attraction to our visitors and the public, also next to Parliament Offices.
The Somhlolo National Stadium is used for major celebrations and events within the kingdom and is frequently used for international soccer events, Royal celebrations, Annual Rock Concerts and for addresses by visiting dignitaries.
Past Parliament, one may-view the Royal Lozitha Palace which is not open to viewing by visitors.
THE EZULWINI VALLEY
The Valley of Heaven" is home to the major tourist attractions with exceptional scenic routes as you descend the Malagwane Hill and enter the Middleveld. Along the sides of the main roads one will find handicraft and curio stalls, hotels, a casino, restaurants, night clubs, stables, a golf course, health and beauty studios, resorts and caravan parks.
Also found in the valley is a wildlife sanctuary covering 4,500 hectares containing a wide variety of mammals, birds, trees and plants. The sanctuary also has a restcamp situated around a hippo pool. Horse rides and mountain trails are just a few of exciting ways to experience African nature.
Nhlangano meaning "Meeting Place" is situated in the south near the Mahamba border gate and is the main agricultural centre of the Shiselweni district. A hotel and casino offering golf, tennis, swimming, horse riding a cinema, disco and restaurants will keep visitors well occupied.
En route to Hlatikulu and Manzini is the Grand Valley with very picturesque scenery.
Situated in the Lowveld this is a major gateway to Swaziland through cotton and farming country.
BIG BEND & LUBOMBO
This area is well known for its production, milling and refining of sugar, raising of beef cattle and citrus.
PHUZUMOYA & SIPHOFANENI
Between Big Bend and Manzini is a private game reserve for endangered species offering accommo¬dation, game drives and walks and white water rafting on the Great Usutu river.
TSHANENI, MHLUME, TAMBANKULU & SIMUNYE Home to vast hectares of sugar cane, these towns are made up of residents who are employees of the various estates. Each town is well facilitated with all essential services catered for.
Two mills are situated at Mhlume and Simunye with the processed sugar being marketed worldwide. Operating at Tshaneni is a large irrigation scheme feeding water from the Komati river to a farming estate. On the estate is the Sand River Dam used by locals for yachting.
Near Simunye are nature reserves and a National park rich in wildlife with excellent camping grounds for overnight visitors.
This is a small town well known for its hotel and new conservation nature reserve.