Village & Homestead Visits
The Homestead is the basic building block of Swazi society. Traditionally this comprises a number of huts, each built for a particular purpose – sleeping, food storage, brewing, etc. At the centre of a homestead is a circular enclosure, the sibaya, fenced with solid logs and branches, where the cattle are housed each night. This has symbolic importance as a store of wealth and prestige. Opposite it is the great hut, indlukulu, occupied by the mother of the headman and used as the family shrine. The huts in such homesteads would once have been ‘beehive’ huts. Today most rural homesteads are a mixture of traditional huts and more modern, brick-built dwellings. Either way, you can visit and enter homesteads when exploring rural Eswatini, and will receive a warm welcome, providing you show suitable respect and follow correct protocol. Most lodges and hotels can arrange a visit to a local homestead for their guests. There are a few places where communities are more accustomed to such visits, and where visitors will therefore be given a more comprehensive tour and explanation of traditions and daily life in rural Eswatini. These are still very much genuine, real homesteads, not tourist creations. Shewula Mountain Camp, Myxo’s Waza Nowe Cultural Tours, and Umphakatsi Cultural Experience are probably the best places to get a genuine and comprehensive local homestead visit. Alternatively, the Mantenga Cultural Village is a re-created homestead from around 1850 that is easy to visit to learn quickly about daily life.