All posts by m0uN7@1n1nn5

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An Eswatini inspired Valentine’s Day

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After the festive season, the second most commercialised time of the year has got to be February; Valentine’s month. Think moonlight strolls in parks, candlelit dinners in the city and all sorts of romantic gestures and activities. Valentine’s Day is a big deal; not just for those who coin big off of it, but for the ones who believe in the holiday and religiously celebrate it every year. However, every now and then you need to switch things up. You know, try something a little different. If you’re looking for new ideas of what to do on Valentine’s Day then you’ve come to the right cyber place. I have put together three of my most recommended must-do activities around Eswatini that will definitely put the spark, fun and thrill into your February 14th. Adventure caving So maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie and not too hung up on the cheesy element of Valentine’s Day; that’s alright. Neither am I, which is why adventure caving is first on my list. This ultimate experience offered by Swazi trails is an adventure worth having from start to finish. It gives you a unique opportunity to explore all sorts of caverns and their hidden wonders in Ghobolo which happens to be a largely unexplored cave network close to the capital city. The adventure caving experience lasts roughly two hours and involves climbing crawling and scrambling through hundreds of caverns beautifully hidden below ground and if you’re reading this and feeling a wee bit concerned about…

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Marula fruit; Image courtesy of blog.xuite.net

The season of Maganu and a celebration of sweet traditions

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Imagine this: The sun is sitting warm and orange across the sky. A stringy swirl of clouds hovers above the trees and a skein of birds shoots through them and flutters out of sight. The air hangs heavy with the sweet smell of ripe fruit. Below, little balls of Marula lie colouring the ground. Waiting for the women and children to collect them in song. Waiting to be found. It is after all only a matter of time before they are loaded into buckets and whisked away into brewing huts. A matter of time before they are stored until their green hue shifts to a mellow yellow and their sour flavour meets the sweetness of sugar. Only a matter of time before the drink is ready. Till the potent mixture bubbles like a creamy float and the whole country unites once again to celebrate a tradition that is as old as the rivers that flow from one town into the next. Now that, is Marula season in a nutshell. It may be the month of love across the world, but to us Eswatini people, February’s arrival signifies much more. It marks the start of a three month long season of merriment, culture and a whole lot of marula drinking. Starting mid-February and lasting up to the end of May, this season signifies the celebration of a fruit that has done more for our people than just provide a beer variant. Marula is highly revered in our society due to its…

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A wedding, a stranger and a memorable encounter

By | Eswatini, The Inn | No Comments

Encounters are interesting. Random ones that is. Work in an industry like this and you’re bound to have a lot of them. You meet people; all sorts of strangers with backpacks and suitcases of stories to tell. If you hold the conversation long enough, way past the pleasantries and formalities; you’re likely to unearth a lifetime of memories that leave you feeling somewhat different. Prospectively shifted. I have worked in the hotel industry for almost two years now and let’s just say a receptionist is as good as a bartender; with the right amount of politeness and a smile wide enough to brighten a dimly lit room; anyone can tell you anything. What inspired this blog post you might ask; well, one particular encounter of course. It was a gloomy day. Cold rainy, wet weather that I don’t like. I had barely gotten enough sleep and yet there I was running around sorting out last minute wedding preps and I hadn’t even had a cup of wake-up caffeine yet. Let me bring you up to speed; the Mountain Inn has a sister hotel called the Emafini Country Lodge. That is where the encounter took place. A random day, work as usual. People had already started arriving for the festivities; sound guys moving equipment in, bridesmaids running around in a frenzy. Commotion of all sorts but I sat in the middle of the chaos, oblivious to it all. Or rather purposefully oblivious. Carefully minding my business but lifting my head up…

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Hikes and summits: A Sibebe experience

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I’ve climbed Sibebe before. And yeah I may have contemplated my life choices while hiking and wandered off the trail a few times till I got lost, but I’ve climbed Sibebe before. Hold on to that; its important information. It’s a victory. I honestly don’t think you can be from this country and not have at least one experience of seeing the view from the summit. And I say at least because you can’t possibly hike this monolith once. Okay, maybe that might be a dramatic stretch, but at least step onto the trail and quit halfway if you must. So, I have climbed Sibebe before and I’m proud of that. It’s gruelling, challenging, exhausting but the feeling you get when you’re standing at the top looking down at the valley below; priceless. It was second year when I hiked it. Might be a while ago and no I won’t expose my age, but just stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this. Second year. My design lecturer gave us the intriguing assignment of conceptualising an eco-tourism resort for Sibebe; you know, the world’s second largest exposed granite dome Sibebe. Gruelling Sibebe. Challenging Sibebe. Pretty psychic right? Not. It was only really a matter of time before a resort actually was created for the iconic landmark. It was only fitting. As per project outline, we had to visit the rock in order to get our creative (as well as logical) juices flowing. I recall how I didn’t even have the…

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Foreign languages and a suitcase of memories: Why we all need to travel at least once in our lifetime.

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“não falo português” I managed to scramble out. The cashier standing in front of me looked mighty confused. Maybe I was saying it wrong, so I tried again; this time with a deeper pronunciation of each word. “não falo português” Slowing letting the words crawl out of my lips and into the musty air. Here I was, 38 Mozambican degrees out, painfully holding up a cue in a convenient store, struggling to piece together a simple sentence. I don’t speak Portuguese, is all I was trying to say and all I wanted was for someone to understand me. I’d been in Mozambique for close to a week now and this was my first solo trip out in the city. My first solo trip and I was failing at it dismally. My cousin, who was now an honorary Mozambican and a quite fluent in the language, had given me a few meticais and pushed me out of her UN office door. “Go explore” She had said and man the thought of all that freedom in one of the most colourful places on the continent had felt so exciting. And it was. I’d spent hours hopping from one street to the next. Pulling out my camera for a selfie or two every now and then and occasionally greeting a smiling local. Flavia, her housekeeper had spent the better part of the first two days of my visit teaching me basics of the language to help me navigate the city. But now, here…

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The Eswatini bucket list you cannot end your summer without

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What an interesting December it has been, with weather that’s been a tropical somersault, adventures that have been exhilarating and experiences that are totally worth writing home about. If you visited Eswatini this festive season, we have absolutely enjoyed hosting you in our pristine little country and although the post-Christmas days mark a looming end to your holiday, let me reassure you that the fun isn’t entirely over yet. Summer is only in its prime and because we understand how much you enjoy creating memories for your hearts and socials too; we have put together a list of six must see places you cannot end your holidays without. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary I am super outdoorsy and a self-proclaimed nature freak too so there was no way I could have a list that didn’t have a nature reserve in it. Just think horse riding through rugged bush, hiking up scenic trails, cycling through the veld, visiting watering holes or simply enjoying a sunset game drive; That’s Mlilwane for you. Take a short right off the MR103 just before the Mahlanya Market and open yourself up to one of the country’s most beloved reserves. Although you won’t spot the big five there, as they only have small game, you will still undeniably find a tranquillity that is indescribably unmatched. Malolotja Tree top canopy Look, I’m no adrenaline junkie or anything like that, but I know a good thrill when I see it and the canopy tour might as well be considered synonymous….

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Happy Holidays with a Swazi twist

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I’m quite the Christmas person. Seriously. By Mid-November I’m already singing carols and asking when the tree is being put up. So of course, this year by default wasn’t supposed to be any different. The thing is, I was raised in a very sentimental home. Our family adopted a culture of celebrating everything. And I really mean EVERYTHING. Therefore, when the TV ads and the city started to a look a lot like Christmas, I should’ve been caught up in the hype of it too. But somehow, this year, I felt no excitement for the conventional happy holidays that the media has grown so accustomed to selling us. You know, the one where Santa is King and we are all putting up the same décor and excited about the same typical seven colour customary lunch. This year, this girl was feeling open to something different. Or better yet, something new. I had spent the entire year planning a trip with my best friend. We had chosen Maputo as our destination and after counting coins and checking savings we were ready to pack our bags and head on out. I wasn’t planning the trip because I was trying avoid the usual family crowd that seemed to have the same criteria of nosey questions as you got older. From back in university, struggling through a semester and being asked how school is going, to being a working millennial who seems to have everything moving as milestones should yet no plus one at…

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The best of the city; My urban Adventure

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Mbabane may not be the hub of Eswatini but it’s definitely the place where social culture, street fashion and a whole lot of urban eclectics meet. It’s caught between decades and boasting of a landscape dotted with colonial architecture, a lively market and restaurants filled with mouth-watering experiences. I’m a very outdoorsy person. I’m forever out and about being my inquisitive self, exploring places. They metaphorically call cities concrete jungles and because I live in one, I understand why. Jungles are open. Tricky. Dense. Jungles are synonymous with colour. Nocturnal creatures. Adventure. Call me strange but I love the CBD. It has an element. A rhythm of some sort. There’s a vibrant culture in constant motion there. Intersections of every kind. Strangers meeting and passing. Laughter. Noise. There’s a fusion of stories, hurried conversations and flurry. It’s a type of busyness that engulfs you. There’re photographers capturing images. Cars trekking through rivers of junctions. Kombies swimming out. Its chaotic commotion that flows as one. Not a sound off beat, not a hello too soon. There’re suits grabbing lunch at that café that’s a jump. Cuba Nora, right? There’re teenagers out on school holidays adding to the already chaotic transitions in a small little city. There are the women on the side walk selling a rainbow of fresh fruit. An interstate corner where Mozambican Shapaa sleeps waiting and right on the other side, taxi’s to Johannesburg. I try not to make the habit of staying in the CBD too long. I…

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wine-01

Wine Tasting

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“I’m curious” I ask her. “Which meals REALLY go well with the wines we had tonight?” She throws her head back and lets out a loud laugh. “I’m so glad you asked!” she animatedly replies. I’m sitting out on the hotel deck. It’s a breezy night and the lights down by the valley look nothing short of beautiful. Kim, the MC who has just finished taking us through an evening of MCC’s, Pinotages and the history of South African wine, is sitting right across me and talking about how traditional rules don’t apply anymore. At least in her world that is. “Back then, the perception was that white wines needed red meats and savoury dishes whilst red paired well with chicken and fish. But, honestly, shouldn’t you just have it with whatever you’re in the mood for that day?!” This time, the momentary chuckle is mine because I’m in full agreement. “It’s like clothes” I pipe in. To which she pops out her eyes dramatically, throwing in a grin and nodding in the most theatrical manner. I like her energy. High spirited and humorous. I recall a moment in the conference room where I turned to the photographer and comically told him how I thought the MC had had enough wine. He painfully had to keep himself from letting out a laugh. I jump off my train of thought and look back at Kim, as she ashes her cigarette, “Which wine is your favourite?” I inquisitively probe her. A non-hesitant…

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season-01

Tis the season to visit Eswatini

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The festive season is finally in full swing. December’s arrival has officially marked the start of happy days according to social terms and nothing says African summer more than a calendar filled with all sorts of activities and events. From street markets to carolling, fancy barbeques to dinners in vernacular restaurants, here’s a guide to must attend festivities happening in the country in the next two weeks. The first weekend of merriment sees its kick off at Alliance française de Mbabane. The Francophone cultural centre and language school will be hosting its Christmas edition lunch concert and flea market. Just imagine an afternoon spent in the atmosphere of great music, thrift shopping and delicious French cuisine. Guests will be treated to the classical sounds of the Mbabane chamber orchestra and the flea market will make for a great starting point for all your Christmas gift shopping. Entrance is absolutely free as well and if you are philanthropic at heart you will definitely want to add this event to your calendar as all funds raised by the flea market go towards a great organisation known as Ntjilo empowerment which teaches music to children in a local disadvantaged community known as Mahwalala. Then, on the 8th of December, save the date for the Gin and tonic affair that will be hosted at Swazi Lizkhar which is located in the beautiful Ezulwini valley. This event is a definite must for all cocktail lovers or pretty much anyone interested in enjoying a laidback day…

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