Eswatini has some of the best Cultural Experiences in Africa
A tiny country with a big heart and warm, friendly people aptly describes Eswatini (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 Eswatini actively maintain and preserve a remarkable cultural heritage that is probably unmatched anywhere in Africa. Visitors can get a better idea of traditional African culture here than pretty much anywhere else in the region, and what is seen, including spectacular festivals, has not simply been resuscitated for the tourist dollar but is the real deal. The famous Umhlanga (Reed Dance) and Incwala are traditional ceremonies that involve tens of thousands of Swazi people, and attract visitors from all over the world. But traditional attire, ceremonies and dancing are to be found throughout the country at all times of the year.
The Swazi people are proud and extremely friendly people. They welcome visitors with a beaming smile and take pleasure in showing off their beautiful country. As well as a number of community-run tourism initiatives, visitors are able to experience daily life in Eswatini by calling in at a local homestead or village, where they will be made very welcome. Alternatively, 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 Swati life; as well as a quite tremendous dancing display by a group that tours the world.
Around the country, a series of well presented and fascinating museums and historical sites help tell the story of the country past and present and are well worth a visit.
The skills and creativity of Eswatini’s artisans is widely recognised and a wide range of arts and crafts are produced around the country. Most are socially-responsible ventures, providing employment to local communities, and also creating top level products exported around the world. Visitors can view the artisans in action and, increasingly, there are opportunities to even have a go themselves. Alternatively, there is plenty to choose from for those who prefer simply to go shopping!
Cultural experiences in Eswatini don’t have to end when the sun sets and there is plenty of nightlife to be found. As well as the casinos for which the country built a reputation when gambling was banned in South Africa, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the country’s thriving local music scene, not least at the unique House on Fire venue.