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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Lobamba

Eswatini’s (Swaziland’s) spiritual, cultural and political heart lies at Lobamba, just east of the Ezulwini Valley. This area has been playing host to teh country’s royalty for over 200 years and it is on the surrounding plains that the nation still gathers for the annual Incwala and Umhlanga ceremonies, against the imposing backdrop of the sacred Mdzimba mountains. To the north of the road the visitor will find Parliament, the National Museum, National Stadium and King Sobhuza II Memorial Park. To the south, beyond the cluster of Lobamba village, lies Ludzidzini and the royal kraal. There is plenty to see at all times of year, but a visit is undoubtedly most exciting during the festivities of the Umhlanga and Incwala.

Eswatini’s national museum, known in siSwati as Umsamo Wesive was built in 1972 and sits just behind parliament. It serves as the HQ of the Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC), custodians of the nation’s heritage and cultural archives, and contains exhibits on Eswatini’s culture, history and natural history. The ENTC arranges visits for school children to ensure that each successive generation grasps the importance of its heritage. In the natural history section you will find several impressive dioramas illustrating Eswatini’s various different habitats, complete with mounted animals – including a pride of lions chasing down a zebra. The recently revamped history and culture section, meanwhile, offers an excellent introduction to the way in which people have lived in Eswatini since prehistoric times. A chronological sequence of displays guides the visitor from the earliest hunter-gatherers right through to independence, with exhibits on everything from beadwork to missionaries. Artefacts include a 75–80,000-year-old stone spear. There is also a wonderful frieze of archive photographs depicting the colonial era and an interesting exhibition of contemporary Swati painting.

This formal garden stands immediately opposite the museum, and was built in 1982 after the death of King Sobhuza II at the site where his body lay in state. Sobhuza – father of today’s King Mswati III – enjoys an almost defied status as the father of the modern-day Eswatini. His various celebrated utterances trotted out like the wisdom of Solomon. ‘Anginasitsa’ (‘I have no enemies’) is the motto emblazoned on the large brass statue of the monarch that stands at the centre. The hexagonal layout has various symbolic resonances, with Sobhuza’s statue facing east towards his father’s burial site in the Mdzimba mountains. A glass mausoleum that preserves the very spot where the body lay is guarded day and night, with photographs strictly forbidden; a flame is lit for important occasions. The small museum display documents the King’s long life with archive photographs and some fascinating nuggets of information. The spacious gardens of the Memorial Park contribute to the overall feeling of Lobamba – that of being open and relaxed. Despite there being a concentration of places of national importance, Lobamba is rarely busy, and is very easy to simply ‘wander’ around. There is a walking tour on offer that includes sampling local beer in the village.

Just east of Lobamba the countryside opens out into broad, cattle-cropped plains. At the end of a palm-lined avenue to the south is eLudzidzini, where the Queen Mother’s royal kraal sits among the clustered dwellings of the royal village, its walls symbolically reinforced with reeds during the annual Umhlanga Reed Dance. In front is a parade ground, where the concluding ceremonies of the Umhlanga take place. During the Umhlanga and Incwala, the surrounding plains swarm with people in traditional dress, either joining the festivities or commuting back and forth. With the Mdzimba mountains behind, it makes for a spectacular sight.

Activities in Lobamba
Accommodation in or near Lobamba
Modern boutique hotel in the culture town of Lobamba
Modernised Guesthouse in Manzini with 34 rooms
Mbabane Lodge with delightful view of Nkoyoyo Mountains
Delightful guesthouse conveniently close to the capital city of Mbabane
Mogi Boutique Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Elegant guest house in a stunning setting.
Self catering apartments conveniently located in Mbabane.
Brand new state of the art hotel in the heart of Mbabane perfect for leisure and business travellers.
Legends Backpacker Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Comfortable backpacker accommodation conveniently located in the Ezulwini Valley.
B&B lodge in a picturesque natural setting with delightful gardens.
Damicha Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
A luxury guesthouse with self catering facilities located in the Ezulwini Valley.
Small and intimate lodge set on Malagwane Hill with stunning surrounding views.
Sibebe Resort
Mbabane
Traditional African chalets set high upon the hills of Mbabane close to Sibebe Rock.
Home comforts in a rustic cottage environment
Willows Lodge
Malkerns
Comfortable chalet accommodation in the rural malkerns farming area.
Luxurious and unique accommodation set amongst indigenous forests and gardens.
Luxurious cottages with self catering facilities surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Comforting accommodation with self catering facilities or onsite restaurant.
Timbali Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Beautifully presented lodge located in the heart of Ezulwini Valley, with onsite restaurant.
The Place
Mbabane
Small guesthouse with all the amenities and facilities of home right by the capital.
Large hotel in the busy town of Manzini with conference facilities available.
Summerfield Resort
Summerfield Botanical Garden
Luxury 5 star hotel and resort in the pure bliss and elegant Summerfield Botanical Gardens.
Sondzela Backpackers
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Well presented and scenic backpacker accommodation with camping ground.
Modern and peaceful lodge with stunning views across the Pine Valley.
SibaneSami Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Luxurious and rustic hotel set in the heart of Eswatini, the Ezulwini Valley.
Royal Villas
Ezulwini Valley
Spacious and elegant villas with private lounges, dining rooms and beautiful gardens.
Royal Swazi Spa
Ezulwini Valley
A four star hotel set in the natural tranquillity of the Ezulwini Valley.
Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Luxurious and reclusive lodge set on the hills of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Beautifully presented chalets set in lush gardens of the Malkerns Valley.
Peaceful cottage accommodation with it's own farmyard and riding school.
Experience traditional Swazi accommodation in a local homestead.
Mvubu Falls Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Secluded peaceful lodge, yet only minutes from tourism hub Ezulwini Valley.
Mountain Inn
Mbabane
Beautifully presented hotel with unbeatable views of Ezulwini Valley.
Mlilwane Rest Camp
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Traditional beehive huts, cottages & rondavels with rustic features set in the charming Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mlilwane Campsite
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Campsite overlooking Mhlambanyatsi River under a mature Eucalyptus forest canopy.
Manzini Lodge
Manzini
Accommodation conveniently located in the busy town of Manzini
Mantenga Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Relaxing accommodation at the foot of Sheba's Breasts with beautiful views.
Stunning converted farmhouse in the thriving Malandela's Complex.
Lugogo Sun Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Luxury 3 star hotel with conference facilities within Ezulwini Valley.
Lidwala Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Safari tents & camping spots in rustic and wild surroundings.
Conveniently located guesthouse perfect for tourists and business travellers
Happy Valley Hotel & Casino
Ezulwini Valley
Luxury hotel in the centre of Ezwulini Valley
Foresters Arms Hotel
Mhlambanyatsi
Country rustic hotel set high in the mountains with beautiful food
Esibayeni Lodge
Matsapha
Various accommodation types set amongst lush gardens.
Luxury Guest House with breathtaking views
Pleasent guest house close to the capital city
Esquisite guest house set in a beautiful garden.
Guest House with a fantastic view of Mbabane
Luxury Bed & Breakfast with supurb views
Brookside Lodge
Malkerns
Tranquil lodge set amongst extensive and beautiful gardens in Malkerns.
Gibela Getaway
Manzini
Tranquil & Scenic setting only 10km from the busy town of Manzini.
Popular & Comfortable Guest House
Buhleni Farm Chalets
Ezulwini Valley
Rustic wooden chalets right by the Ezulwini Valley.
Places nearby
Eswatini's tourism hub with an abundance of hotels, lodges and activities
Unspoilt woodlands with a traditional cultural village experience
Best known nature reserve and Eswatini's birthplace of conservation.
One of Eswatini's highest peaks with a notorious history.
The attractive capital of Eswatini with hotels, shopping centres and traditional markets.
One of southern Africa's most impressive geological features.
A fertile valley with a number of craft outlets and tourist hotspots
A tourist hotspot comprising of live music, arts & crafts and home to the Bushfire Festival.
Popular tourist spot and home to a cluster of handicraft outlets.
A western suburb of Manzini and the country's primary industrial area.
Eswatini's second biggest city with a busy market and amenities.
A town set among the Usuthu forestry plantations with beautiful scenery.
A National Conservancy holding swaziland's largest collection of plants.
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Eswatini's main river and it's local industry town, named after the rivers curve.
Stunning scenery surrounds this settlement with a royal past, holding a special meet between King Sobhuza II and King George VI.
A lush green landscape with combining industry, colonial history and two 9-hole golf courses.
One of Swaziland’s earliest colonial settlements, and today offers a handful of accommodation options for travellers.
Set at the top of the Lubambos, this reserve is home to the Shewula Mountain Camp.
A wild and beautiful landscape, with rare flora and fauna found nowhere else in Eswatini.
This project is made up of 4 of Eswatini's nature reserves teeming with flora and fauna.
Popular tourist spot and home to a cluster of handicraft outlets.
A western suburb of Manzini and the country's primary industrial area.
Eswatini's second biggest city with a busy market and amenities.
A fertile valley with a number of craft outlets and tourist hotspots
A tourist hotspot comprising of live music, arts & crafts and home to the Bushfire Festival.
A town set among the Usuthu forestry plantations with beautiful scenery.
The attractive capital of Eswatini with hotels, shopping centres and traditional markets.
Unspoilt woodlands with a traditional cultural village experience
Large settlement in the North West with Swaziland's most scenic handicraft outlet.
Incredible art by the Sam people up to 4,000 years ago.
The oldest mine in the world.
Experience glass-blowers as they create beautiful sculptures with recycled materials.
Eswatini's tourism hub with an abundance of hotels, lodges and activities
Nestled at the foot of a mountain. A rejuvenated mining town.
Lobamba