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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Unveiling Eswatini: Tour Operators Embark on Educational Tour

Following Eswatini’s successful showing at Africa’s Travel Indaba, a group of international and regional tour operators embarked on a five-day educational tour, delving deeper into the wonders this captivating Kingdom has to offer.

Africa’s Travel Indaba is a premier tourism trade show held annually at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), widely considered one of the top three “must-visit” events of its kind globally. It serves as a crucial platform for exhibitors from across Africa, including national tourism boards, regional authorities, accommodation providers, tour operators and travel companies, come together to showcase the vast array of tourism experiences Africa offers.

This post-Indaba educational tour initiative, put together by the Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) with noteworthy sponsorship from the Eswatini Tourism industry, aimed to equip these tourism professionals with the firsthand knowledge and tools to create unforgettable Eswatini experiences for their clients. Led by Lucky Mavuso, a local experienced tour guide from Lucky Tours, the educational tour was a combination of accommodation, dining experiences, history, culture as well as thrilling outdoor activities. The Tour Operator companies are Shadows Africa, Zilko Tours & Travel, African Ample Assistance, ATC African Travel Concept, Private Safaris, Worldia, Abacus Touristik and Thula Seats Tours & Transfers. The hosted tour operators were from South Africa, Tanzania, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the USA respectively. The post Indaba Educational Tour was scheduled from 17th to 22nd May.

Hosted Tour Operators

  1. Andreas Combrink – Abacus Touristik
  2. Léa Pettaros – Worldia
  3. Greta Downie – Private Safaris
  4. Anna Ruczan – ATC African Travel Concept
  5. Johan Heymans – Thula Seats Tours & Transfers
  6. Tracy Jansen – African Ample Assistance
  7. Motshidisi Pitso – Zilko Tours & Travel
  8. Inge Olde Rikkert – Shadows of Africa

A Journey of Discovery

The tour itinerary offered a taste of Eswatini’s diverse offerings. For two days, the operators explored the kingdom’s natural splendour. They navigated the majestic Phophonyane Falls and Eco Lodge, encountering cascading waterfalls and diverse wildlife. The scenic Mdzimba Mountains provided the backdrop for hikes and nature walks, as the hosted operators opted for the Lobamba and Ezulwini guided walks sponsored by All Out Africa and Time Travel.

Cultural Immersion

Eswatini’s rich cultural heritage was not left behind. Witnessing a vibrant Buganu, Umhlanga and Incwala ceremonies from the Eswatini traditional attires, dance and educational history was showcased to the tour operators through images at the Eswatini National Museum in Lobamba. The Team also visited Old Stone Church Museum in Manzini and Manzini Market, a hive of activity overflowing with colourful textiles, intricate beadwork and handcrafted pottery, which provided a treasure trove for the operators to explore and understand Swazi craftsmanship. Here, just like their visit to Malandela’s Lifestyle in Mahlanya and Swazi Candles Centre in Malkerns, the team of nine had an opportunity to purchase souvenirs that would be a colourful reminder of the Kingdom’s craft offerings. Interactions with welcoming locals offered invaluable insights into the Swazi way of life.

Luxury Meets Sustainability

The tour did not just focus on adventure and culture. The hosted tour operators also experienced Eswatini’s luxurious side. Eco-friendly lodges such as Mantenga, Forester’s Arms and The George Hotel are nestled amidst stunning scenery and provided a glimpse into the personalised service and unparalleled pampering available. Sustainable practices woven into the luxury experience resonated with operators seeking eco-conscious travel options for their clients. The emphasis on sustainable practices as shown at Ngwenya Glass Factory, Hlane Royal National Park, KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris and Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat resonated with operators seeking eco-conscious travel options for their clients.

Beyond the Highlights

This five-day exploration served as a springboard for the operators to curate diverse itineraries catering to various interests. They learned about historical sites like the Eswatini National Museum and the Old Stone Church Museum and the fascinating history of the Swazi monarchy. The vibrant Swazi art scene, with its intricate beadwork and expressive sculptures, sparked further ideas for incorporating cultural experiences into future tours.

Eswatini, A Destination on the Rise

This post-Indaba educational tour served multiple purposes. It allowed the participating tour operators to experience Eswatini firsthand, understand its unique offerings and discover its potential as a must-visit destination. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and commitment to sustainable tourism, Eswatini is poised to become a top choice for international and regional travellers. The collaboration between the Eswatini Tourism Authority and these tour operators paves the way for increased tourism traffic and a thriving tourism industry in the Kingdom.

A special note of thanks goes out to all Eswatini Tourism Industry players who made it possible to host these tour operators. To the tour operators, we are looking forward to the Eswatini tour customised packages for potential visitors as a fruitful result of this purposeful educational tour.

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