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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Events Calendar

Eswatini has a annual calendar full of traditional & modern events

Below is a Calendar of Events in Eswatini, ranging from the major annual cultural festivals, to organised hikes or small one-off event evenings at a particular hotel or restaurant. They are listed in date order but can also be filtered by Type and Date and Location (though Eswatini is so compact, any event can be attended wherever you are in the country!)

Eswatini is known around the world for the magnificent traditional festivals that the country hosts. Chief amongst these are the Umhlanga (Reed Dance) held in August / September, the Incwala  held in December / January and the Marula Festival in February-March. These 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 the ceremonies make no concession to tourism; even the precise dates are not published in advance, being dependent on the vagaries of ancestral astrology. The main events happen at the royal parade grounds at Ludzidzini or other royal residencies, but the mood of celebration sweeps the nation, and visitors to the country around the time of the events will doubtless see wandering bands of warriors or maidens decked out in full regalia as they head to or from the festivities.

Alongside the traditional, there is now a growing number of modern events gaining international recognition. One that leads the way and has gained an excellent international reputation is the MTN BUSHFIRE Festival – a performing arts festival held every May, though running as a Digital Series throughout 2021.

The country also plays host to a number of sporting events around the year, particularly a series of challenging mountain bike races.

For a calendar of Public Holidays, check the Travel Advice page, and for further advice about the best times of year to visit Eswatini, check the When to Go page.

A new PDF Events Calendar has also been produced for 2022. You can download it here.

July 2022

Eswatini's Biggest Braai

Date: 22 July 2022

Mavuso Trade Centre

Thousands of people come together to braai at the same time in a modest attempt to raise funds for the elderly. All proceeds are donated to Philani Maswati Charity Organization whose patron is Her Majesty the Queen Mother.


Mbuluzi Trail Run

Date: 30 July 2022

Mbuluzi Game Reserve

An annual fund raising trail run aimed at sharing the beautiful Mbuluzi Game Reserve with the adventurous and energetic in a well organised event to benefit the communities around the Reserve. Route included, jeep track, single track & rough terrain. 3 Events: 18km: E275; 10km: E175; 5 km: E100. For more information - Tel/What's App: +268 7625 9380 email run@mbuluzi.com or click the 'Find Out More' button below.


Mlawula Magazavane Challenge

Date: July/August 2022

Mlawula Nature Reserve

The Mlawula Magadzavane Challenge is an eco-challenge walk up the Lubombo Mountains on the Maputaland Biodiversity Hotspot to help bring back nature walks and appreciation of the biodiversity hotspot.

August 2022

MAJOR EVENT

Luju Food & Lifestyle Festival

Date: August 2022 - TBC

House on Fire, Malandelas

Luju Food & Lifestyle festival is a celebration of the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of Eswatini and surrounds, sponsored by Standard Bank. It features an eclectic mix of food along with classes, demonstrations, fashion shows, music and comedy performances. Luju, which usually takes place in August, successfully returned in 2021 at the later date in November, due to COVID. More information on the 2022 festival will be revealed soon.


galp Classic Car Rally

Date: 5 - 9 August 2022

Across Eswatini

This is the biggest Classic Car Rally in Africa and take places across South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique every June. 2019 saw the celebration of 10 years in Eswatini, with the event due to return again in August 2022.

Sibebe Survivor Challenge

Date: 7 August 2022

Sibebe Rock

The annual Sibebe Survivor challenge, one of Eswatini’s most popular events on the annual calandar has been shown to promote domestic tourism in the country, as well as bringing international attention to the country’s famous Sibebe Rock, the second largest rock in the world! Another 5000 people – mainly locals, will take on this year’s challenge, following a course from Mbuluzi High School to the top of Sibebe Rock and back again. It is aimed at raising funds for the Rotary Club projects such as support for government hospitals.

MAJOR EVENT

Umhlanga Reed Dance

Date: Late August - Early September. 2022 - TBC

Somhlolo National Stadium

This is Eswatini’s best known annual cultural event. In this eight-day ceremony, young girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi) – ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence – and then dance in celebration. Up to 40,000 girls take part, dressed up in brightly coloured attired – making it one of the biggest and most spectacular cultural events in Africa.


September 2022

Swazi Rally

Date: 2 - 4 September 2022

Riders Ranch, Sidvokodvo

Swazi Rally is an annual biker’s event held at Riders Ranch in Sidvokodvo, Eswatini. The rally is held over the last weekend in August. Thousands of motor cycle enthusiasts congregate and have a fun-filled weekend with biker friends, and make new long lasting biking relationships. The organiser, Carlos Paiva, with the help of his wife Sonia and a dedicated team began the Swazi Rally back in 1993.


Eswatini International Trade Fair

Date: Early September 2022 - TBC

Mavuso Trade Centre

This annual exhibition event is held over ten days at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre in Manzini and receives support from the king and government. It attracts over 35,000 exhibitors from different private and public sector institutions, as well as foreign companies and governments.


Imvelo MTB Classic

Date: 3 September 2022

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Imvelo is an annual mountain biking competition held year at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary sponsored by Nedbank Eswatini and Big Game Parks. It comprises a series of races over different distances and is followed by a party for all cyclists. There are four routes allowing cyclists of all abilities to enjoy Mlilwane: The International Tool Hire 64km Classic, The 35km Challenge, The Spur 22km Family Fun Race and The 12.5km Hoglets. This years race will take place on Saturday 3 September 2022, with online entry available from 1 June 2022.


King's Cup Golf Tournament

Date: Early September 2022 - TBC

Royal Swazi Spa

This annual golf tournament is held at the Royal Swazi Golf Club, one of only two 18-hole courses in the country. A product of King Mswati’s 2004 Job Creation Summit, it attracts business people from South Africa and around the region, and tends to pack out the hotels in Ezulwini.

Swazi 3 Reserves MTB Race

Date: 24 September 2022

Hlane, Mlawula & Mbuluzi

A day of energetic fun with friends and family in the African bush, riding through 3 of Eswatini’s pristine game reserves along jeep tracks and animal trails. Registrations usually open in June, with the race taking place on 24 September. In previous years, the race starts at 07h15 with multiple distance races available to register for – 73km (E320) 43km (E250) 23km (E160) and 10km (E120).


October 2022

Mlawula Campfire Festival

Date: 28 - 30 October 2022

Mlawula Nature Reserve

Mlawula Nature Reserve presents Camp Fire Festival 2022, an outdoor two night camping festival with a mixture of entertainment including an outdoor cinema and comedy show. Guests will be able to head out on hiking and game viewing activities during the daytime, along with viewing an arts & culture exhibition. For bookings, email mlawula@sntc.org.sz or call +268 2383 8885.

December 2022

MAJOR EVENT

Incwala Festival

Date: December/January - tbc

Nationwide

This is Eswatini’s most important annual cultural event. A ceremony that has lasted for hundreds of years, it is one of the last remaining examples of what was previously common practice in many African countries. It has a spiritual power that is largely lost on outsiders, and indeed many of its inner workings remain shrouded in secrecy.


February 2023

MAJOR EVENT

Marula Festival - Buhleni

Date: February/ March 2023 - TBC

Buhleni Royal Residence

The Marula season begins each year in February/March, bringing with it a celebration of the harvest of the marula fruit. The first event of the festivities in 2022 took place 18 - 20 March, held at the Royal Residence at Buhleni.


March 2023

MAJOR EVENT

Marula Festival - Hlane

Date: March/April 2023 - TBC

Hlane Royal Residence

Eswatini holds an annual Marula Festival celebrated at the Royal Residence of the King at Hlane in the Lubombo Region. Both the King and the Queen Mother are presented with Marula beer from each household, in keeping with it being a ‘fruit fit for kings.’ Only afterwards can Swazis drink their home brew.


April 2023

Mahamba Gorge Hike

Date: April 2023 - TBC

Mahamba Gorge

The Mahamba Gorge Hiking event is not for profit, with its primary aim being the promotion of the socio-economic development of the people of the Shiselweni region, and Eswatini at large. Each year, hikers enjoy exhilarating four kilometre hiking on the undulating and rough Mahamba Gorge terrain, taking in the breathtaking scenery.

May 2023

Ngwenya Glass MTB and Trails Run

Date: May 2023 - Date TBC

Ngwenya Glass

Race held annually at the Ngwenya Glass Factory. The challenge has three different routes to take part in – the 70km Marathon, 40km Classic and 27km Family Ride. Profits from the Ngwenya Glass Mountain Bike Challenge will be used to develop community projects in the Motshane Valley.


MAJOR EVENT

MTN Bushfire Festival

Date: 26 - 28 May 2023

House on Fire, Malandelas

MTN BUSHFIRE is an annual performing arts festival held over a long May weekend at House on Fire, Malandela’s. It is one of the biggest and best of its kind in southern Africa, with everything from live music and theatre to film, workshops and a global food fair – in short, everything you’d expect from Eswatini’s answer to Glastonbury.


June 2023

Border 2 Border Cycling Race

Date: June 2023 - TBC

Ngwenya to Lavumisa Border Posts

Cyclists from Eswatini and South Africa will take on the Border 2 Border race as they begin from Ngwenya Border Post to the Lavumisa Border Post. The 200km, which is arranged by local cycling collective Eswatini Cycling, in partnership with Eswatini Tourism Authority, will see riders pass through many towns, connect with Eswatini’s surroundings and be active tourists in their own country.

Events in Eswatini
Luju Food and Lifestyle Festival is a celebration of taste, sounds, sights and aromas of Eswatini.
An internationally recognised MTB stage race held annually in North West Eswatini.
A world famous cultural event that takes place annually bursting with colourful costumes.
Eswatini's biggest music and arts festival, and Africa's answer to the Glastonbury Festival.
Eswatini's most ritual and important festival, a tradition that is hundreds of years old.
A very popular biking and car stunt show which draws participants and spectators worldwide.
Marking the harvest of the Marula fruit, this lengthy festival is full of cheer and celebration.
Other Eswatini Experiences
Eswatini has some of the best Cultural Experiences in Africa.
You can still experience the 'Big 5' in the little country of Eswatini.
Eswatini has a incredibly diverse terrain with breathtaking views.
The perfect destination for the thrill seeker and adventurous traveller.
Leave your mark on Eswatini by Volunteering.
From championship golf courses, to fishing in the country's many dams.