At first it was surreal. It felt like a dream. How the streets were empty and the stores were closed. At first, we struggled to wrap our heads around this new reality, fighting to understand how we had woken up one day to a world like this. A world of masks and social distancing. ‘Stand here’ in grocery aisles and paying fines for not wearing a mask. A world where the simple things you took for granted like a cup of coffee at that downtown café or aimless wandering in the city could suddenly be risky. Over a month ago, we shut our boarders and settled into our new lives. We said goodbye to our favorite tourists and said hello to weeks on end of not being able to fully enjoy the outside. We even had to make peace with passing up a live Bushfire fest experience for a virtual one, amongst many other things that have since become digital thanks to the RONA, as the millennials and Gen Z’s like to call it. Luckily however, some of our favorite Eswatini hotspots have reopened and it’s got us excite. We might have to adjust with enjoying these experiences with fewer people, lots of social distancing and heavy breathing through masks but, we’re looking at the glass half full. Here’s a look at 4 of our favorite things us locals can get up to. From sipping hemp smoothies to tracking Rhino on foot.
This is an experience that never gets old. Ngwenya glass took to their socials just the other week to excitedly announce that they were back in business! Located just north of the city, Ngwenya Glass has timelessly helped create not just elegant glassware but an abundance of memories for all its visitors. Dubbed Eswatini’s hottest attraction (Pun very much intended) this is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Take a tour through the showroom and watch skilled artisans blow glass into stunning forms or sit by the café and soak in some winter sun. You can also shop stunning glass items, many of which are also available online.
The Pink Lotus
If you weren’t into fresh juices and green smoothies before COVID-19, now might be the time for you to reconsider (on behalf of your immune system) The Pink lotus is a cozy little café at the mall where you can find all sorts of treats and delights. From a delicious smoothie to a fresh (and hopefully guilt-free) slice of carrot cake. Swing by this spot for a good dose of healthy vibes.
Mantenga Nature reserve & Cultural village
Famous for its traditional Swazi dancing show, stunning scenery and jaw dropping waterfall, Mantenga is once again open and operational. This is the perfect opportunity for us to fully immerse ourselves in our culture and find joy in the little things such as a walk through bushy terrain or a picnic while birding. Of course, strict health practices will be in place so you can enjoy the moment without worrying about the virus for a while.
Big Game Parks
In their own words, the great outdoors is still MUCH safer than grocery shopping. Two different experiences that we didn’t even know we could compare before this pandemic. If you’re a sucker for good views, grueling treks, beautiful game and all that Eswatini’s landscape has to offer, we totally recommend setting up a booking with any of the Big game parks. If Chubeka Trail’s 10day virtual tour wasn’t enough to inspire you then we don’t know what will. Vakasha Ngwane! Your backyard awaits