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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Eswatini Tourism Authority hosts international media for Umhlanga Reed Dance 2023

The Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) has a mandate of promoting Destination Eswatini locally, regionally and internationally. As part of the marketing activities outlined in ETA’s Marketing Strategy, ETA hosts members of the international media with the aim of educating, informing and also showcasing what Destination Eswatini has to offer to the world.

The aim of the international media familiarisation trip is to ensure that they experience the country firsthand and write about their own experiences. This was a perfect time to host the media since it’s already peak season and there were many activities and events that took place the past weekend such as the Umhlanga Reed Dance, International Trade Fair, the Swazi Rally to name a few.

Here are some of the specific benefits of Eswatini Tourism Familiarisation Tours for international media:

  • They provide media personnel with an informative opportunity to experience Eswatini firsthand.
  • This allows the international media to write more accurate and informative stories about the Kingdom. These tours help to build relationships between journalists and Eswatini tourism officials. This can lead to more positive coverage of Eswatini in the media.
  • They help to promote Eswatini as a tourist destination. When members of the media write positive stories about Eswatini, it can encourage more people to visit the country.
  • They help to boost the Eswatini economy. When more tourists visit Eswatini, it creates jobs and generates income for the country.

Led by Thulani Yende, a tour guide from Total Experience Tours, the five-day media tour, was an opportunity for the experienced media personnel from around the globe to learn about the Umhlanga Reed Dance, tourist attractions and experience the rich culture and scenic views Eswatini had to offer. The tour included visits to the National Museum, the King Sobhuza Memorial Park, Ngwenya Glass, Swazi Candle, accommodation facilities as well as witness Umhlanga Reed Dance.

The International Media Team

Olga Rastegaeva- Publisher / Editor-in-Chief (Orange Traveller)- Russia

Nontando Mposo- Editor-In-Chief at (Glamour)- South Africa

Lisa-Gaye Shakespear- Travel & Lifestyle Influencer (Shakespeare Agency)- United States

Sarah Kingdom- Travel Writer- Zambia

Kevin Wierzbicki- Freelance Journalist- United States

Yvonne Mtengwa – Editor-in-Chief (Travel Essence)- UAE

Babette Masselink- Oog voor Afrika- The Netherlands

Sverre Bjørstad Graff’- ABC Nyheter (Online newspaper); Vi Menn (Lifestyle Magazine)- Norway

Kim Paffen- Photography & Blogger, Digital Creator – Netherlands

Day 1 Friday 31st August 2023

Members of the media arrived through entry at the Oshoek Border post. Their first stop after a long drive from OR Tambo International Airport was at Mantenga Lodge located in the beautiful Ezulwini Valley situated among natural surroundings at the foot of Sheba’s Breast Mountains overlooking the legendary Execution Rock. Here they spent their first night and experienced total tranquillity and had a brush with nature’s offerings.

Day 2 Friday 01st September 2023

On the second day, members of media set off to Mantenga Craft Market, still in Ezulwini, to have an opportunity to view arts and crafts displays by the locals. Here our guest had an opportunity to purchase a memento or two. The next stop was The National Museum and King Sobhuza Memorial Park in Lobamba. Here, our guests were educated on the Kingdom’s, monumental artefacts, yester years, history and cultural aspects.

From the educational history lesson, our media guests headed to Ngwenya Glass and witness first-hand, the magical and ancient art of glass blowing from an overhead balcony-each piece handmade from 100% recycled glass. From admiring the glassworks, the members of the media went to Malolotja Nature Reserve for a tour guided two-hour walk. After the energised walk, our media guests headed to Maguga Lodge for lunch and much deserved boat trip with scenic view at Maguga Dam. Hereafter the team went straight to The George Hotel in Manzini for a check in and relaxed dinner as Day 3 activities awaited.

Day 3 Saturday 2nd September 2023

The third day started off with a tour of the city of Manzini, the Kingdom’s hub! Next stop was a visit to Eswatini’s premier tourist attraction; Swazi candles. Here, the team got an opportunity to partake in the creative experience of candle-making and its artistic components. Then the team drove to Swazi Candles immediately thereafter, Eswatini’s’ premier tourist attraction. Get a chance to partake in the creative experience of making the candles from scratch. The team then visited Summerfield Luxury Resort & Botanical Garden nestled within an idyllic Botanical Garden and had delightful lunch at the Palm Cascade Restaurant. The next stop was at the Swazi Rally Bikers Event in Sidvokodvo. The Bikers Event, celebrating its 30th Anniversary, saw thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts congregate and have a fun-filled weekend with biker friends, and make new long-lasting biking relationships. Our guest called it a night and returned to The George Hotel for a much-needed rest.”

Day 4 Sunday 03rd September 2023

From The George Hotel, international media team headed to Velvet Monkey in Ezulwini a rustic yet authentic boutique dining experience. From here, they visited the Ludzidzini Royal Residence to witness the maiden deliver the reed before Their Majesties. Their media team’s last stop for the fourth day is at Foresters Arms Hotel situated in Mhlambanyatsi, proudly boasts stunning mountain countryside, this charming property is located in the west of Eswatini, in the middle of one of the largest man-made forests in the world.

Day 5 Monday 04th September 2023

On the fifth day, the last day of the tour, our media guests were enthusiastic to witness the Umhlanga Reed Dance Main Day as they had been present before the maidens presented the reeds before Their Majesties. Our media team checked out of Foresters Arms hotel and headed to Ludzidzini Royal Residence for the official Umhlanga Reed Dance Day. The dance is a celebration of Swazi culture, heritage and womanhood. This event has over the years drawn a number of visitors who flock to Ludzidzini Royal Residence to witness this iconic event. Here, our guests met ETA’s CEO, Linda Nxumalo who thanked the team for their active collaboration in ensuring Eswatini is promoted as a destination of choice locally, regionally and internationally. After the cultural explosion of activities experienced here, our international media team went to the Kingdom’s outdoor lovers’ paradise, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, where they rested for the night.

Eswatini Tourism Authority continues to drive its mandate to encourage responsible travel in the Kingdom of Eswatini and will market eSwatini as a preferred destination.