A lioness in the wild

Where to have the best Safari Experiences in Eswatini

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Eswatini is a safari destination, with the country’s rich variety of landscapes and hundredfold habits being home to many wild animal species. From the magnificent ‘Big Five’ to warthogs, antelope and reptiles and even birds. Eswatini is a bird-watcher’s paradise with about 500 species of birds recorded in the country, which is pretty remarkable for a country as tiny as ours is, especially if such a tally is roughly on par with France which has 517 species and closer to home, the Kruger National Park which has 505. The many game parks and nature reserves across the country help protect a vast variety of animals, especially the Rhino which is sadly endangered. Safari experiences In Eswatini can be very rewarding and can be enjoyed in multiple ways. From ranger guided game drives, safari on foot to cycling and biking and even safari on horseback. The greatest emphasis in Eswatini is to provide visitors with a more intimate wildlife experience in areas of natural beauty, which our reserves do so quite well. Here’s a look at some of the best places for safari experiences in pristine Eswatini. Hlane Royal National Park Hlane is the country’s largest protected area and extends either side of the MR3. This is what makes it incredible because you can spot wildlife along the side of the highway as you dive by. There are different camps within the park, all of which are located on the western sector of it. The reserve is also the annual host…

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Sheba’s breasts; A mountain made up of twin peaks

72Hours in Eswatini

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Easter is upon us and while some look forward to a long weekend of rest, no work and refueling for the rest of the year ahead, many others are looking for something more. Easter weekend is a great time to do some exploring. To finally take that trip you’ve been putting off and to discover new places on your map. We will be bold and make a very confident claim; Eswatini is the ultimate Easter weekend destination and if everything you’ve read already about our beautiful kingdom isn’t enough to convince you, we hope this blog will. Here’s a guide to spending 72-hours in Africa’s Eswatini. Day 1 Start your first leg of your Eswatini tour with something light and fun by visiting a cultural village. We recommend the tourist favorite, Mantenga cultural village, which showcases typical Swazi life, food and traditions. The cultural village hosts a dance twice a day. If you miss the 11 am one, be sure to catch the next one at 3pm. The cultural village also has trails, a stunning waterfall and craft stalls to shop from for Eswatini souvenirs. Maybe after leaving the village, take a drive down the Gables shopping center which houses numerous stores and a movie theater to meet your hearts delight then end your first day with a delicious dinner at the calabash restaurant which serves continental cuisine in with some Eswatini charm. Day 2 Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the valley, why not visit the Mlilwane Wildlife sanctuary….

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What to pack for your trip to Mbabane

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Mbabane is quite the interesting city and that isn’t only in reference to its growing street fashion culture, lively shisanyama’s or its buzzing night-life. Mbabane is interesting in every sense. From its humorous people, to its quaint coffee shops. Its multi-cultural cuisine spots to its four seasons in one day weather habits. If you’re planning a trip to this micro-capital city of Eswatini here’s a quick guide of what to pack in order to get the most out of your trip; especially at this time of the year. Good Hiking shoes It is no secret that our terrain makes for the most fun outdoorsy excursions. Pack a good pair of hiking boots for all those trails and hikes you can explore while in the country. We recommend taking a short drive out of town, down into Pine Valley to experience our mighty Sibebe. Or even take a walk through Emafini’s scenic trails that lead all the way to a stunning waterfall. Whatever you choose to do though, just pack the hiking shoes. Camera Why visit one of the most gorgeous countries in Southern Africa and NOT carry a camera to capture the memories with. Smart phone may have made our lives easier now, but nothing beats a good long range lens camera to capture all those safari images or the orange rays of a sunset dipping behind the valley. If I may add, the city sits in a gorgeous panoramic view from the hill above our hotel in the evening….

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Renovation season at the Mountain Inn

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It’s the season of out with the old, in with the new at the Mountain inn as renovations continue to move ahead at the hotel. The famed poolside wing, a popular choice for many of our guests, is currently undergoing a facelift; one room at a time. This is the hotel’s latest project and follows the 6 executive rooms added onto the south wing just last year. The poolside’s facelift will see the once classically styled rooms receive a modern touch of sliding mirrors, new cupboards, refurbished interiors and awning windows. The project is estimated to run through-out the year and by working on one room at a time, this will ensure that the hotel’s guests can still access the poolside despite it’s revamp. The poolside renovations however aren’t all that the hotel has up its reno sleeve; the beloved Friar Tucks restaurant is also due for an expansion and redecoration. All revamp projects are part of the ‘inn’s revitalisation, with the goal being to move the hotel from its pre millennium look to a more contemporary aesthetic appeal. With all this busyness taking place at the hotel it’s safe to say that things are really moving on up at the Mountain inn and we cannot wait to unveil it all to our valued guests.

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Why we love local Eswatini art

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Art is deeply embedded in the history of Eswatini. From the rock paintings at Nsangwini heritage site, to the beadwork geometry in our jewellery. Art is everywhere and because our culture is synonymous with it, the arts community in Eswatini continues to steadily grow. A new artist emerges onto the scene almost every year and mediums of expression have moved from traditional art to photography and most recently, digital media and film. More and more locals are tapping into their creativity and finding different ways to communicate and express themselves. Creating conversations through their works and giving everyone a glimpse into the heart of this country. One artist who does this so well is Lucky Motsa, a local contemporary artist whose entire story hangs on Mountain inn’s walls. Lucky is a breath of fresh air. His art is authentic, raw and expressive. His paintings offer insight into real Eswatini. They document stories of real life from an ordinary day to day perspective. If anything, Lucky paints what we all see, but can’t quite capture nor even describe. His ability to captivate and draw people in is what makes his art so incredible. His style is so easy to recognise due to how his paintings are often a synopsis; one story spread out over various canvases. Painting after painting, you are brought into Lucky’s world. A world in which the bus crosses the bridge while the children play under the trees. A world in which the old village grocery takes central…

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Swazi Flag

Eswatini might just be the 8th wonder of the world

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One thing we hear a lot of in our hotel is how Eswatini is a beautiful place. We hear it so many times in a day that we have grown accustomed to this compliment. Nodding and smiling dutifully, and that isn’t because we have become pompous or indifferent of this compliment, but because we also wholeheartedly agree. In fact, Eswatini isn’t just beautiful, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Micro in size, grand in culture and colourful in traditions, Eswatini is one of Africa’s gems. It’s straight out of a postcard, boasting of blue mountains and green hills. Its rivers flow from one city to another, village to village. Which almost abstractly describes the linkage of Eswatini’s people- small in number, huge in unity. Our rivers are full of fresh water life and the forest are home to a Zambezia of birdlife- colourful and diverse like the beaded networks in our traditional regalia. Eswatini is breath taking; an experience to be had and quite frankly a memory to keep. I suppose that’s why it’s so easy to ponder if is this small little state off the corner of Africa’s south side, could quite possibly be the 8th wonder of the world. Landscape and climate The landscape in Eswatini is a variation of tall trees in the Highveld; where the forestry industry thrives, to grasslands in the Low veld and thorny bushes and shrubs. The middle veld is a cross breed of both, and so is its climate. Warm in the summer and brutally…

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The ultimate gig guide for March

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Whether you’re into sundowners with friends on a Friday evening, listening to the soulful sounds of Jazz music at your favorite pub or wilding out all weekend long, best believe the month of March has something to tickle everyone’s fancy. We did some digging and found so many cool events happening throughout the month that we couldn’t possibly blog about them all. The solution? WE picked our best five and these five are what we consider to be the icing on the cake for your March adventures. Here’s our Top 5 must attend affairs for this month. Our ultimate social calendar of what to get up to in and around our city. Rhymes and Laughter MTN’s legendary Rhymes and Laughter show touches down at the Happy Valley casino and resort. Merging hip-hop and comedy, the show is a local favorite. This edition is set to honor the greatest musicians to have ever hit the scene and will be headlined by a few locally renowned artists. Show starts at 7Pm on March 8th. Don’t be late. Alliance Française Lunch Concert: Women’s day Edition The seventh edition of Alliance Française de Mbabane’s lunch concerts is all about celebrating women. Perfectly set up between 1pm and 2pm, there’s no excuse to miss it. Happening on the 8th of March, the concert promises nothing but great sounds with performances by female artists, good vibes and delicious French Cuisine. Entrance is free and a little birdy happened to let us know that the concert will…

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Mbali Nxumalo,Founder of FashionDashCouture.

Unpacking the Love Me Better seminar

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March is looking like quite the socially busy month, with a number of local events set up to keep us all very entertained. One interesting event of note is the Love me better seminar that will be taking place here at the Mountain inn this weekend. Not sure what it’s all about? We got Mbali Nxumalo, founder of FashionDashCouture and co-host of the seminar to unpack the event and give us the low-down of how they plan on merging fashion and self-love on March 2nd. Who Is Mbali? Mbali Nxumalo is a Fashion Entrepreneur who holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Accounting Major, but has a passion for fashion hence starting the clothing brand called FashionDashCouture. I was born and bred in the Kingdom of Eswatini and spent my adulthood in the capital, Mbabane. FashionDashCouture is a clothing brand which provides beautiful Ready-To-Wear pieces for the modern sophisticated woman. Fashiondashcouture the Brand The brand is a passion business, inspired by my love for beautiful and unique pieces. The idea behind it was to be able to express my personal sense of style while incorporating the modern everyday woman. As cliché as it sounds, but when a person looks good, then they feel good, and at FDC we aim to be a part of those special moments every other day. The brand has an online store www.fashiondashcouture.com  from which people from all over the world can shop. FDC Style Inspiration Our garments are mainly inspired by what we feel women want…

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A guide to being a local in Mbabane

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Famed for its forever-on-the-go CBD, vibrant social markets, all assorted restaurants and laidback nightlife, Mbabane is an adventure just waiting to be had. Unlike Eswatini’s hub, Manzini, this quaint city is much smaller in population and less chaotic; making it one of the most ideal parts of Eswatini to enjoy the local lifestyle scene without the hustle and bustle of a typical metropolitan. The best way to enjoy a visit to this beautiful Mbabane is to explore it inside out like a local would. Don’t know how to do that? Here’s a guide to experiencing Mbabane like a local. Use public transport I know what you’re thinking; loud noise, hive of activity, non-personalised travel but truth being told, you won’t feel like a local until you’ve hopped on a Kombie  and mastered using the word Stesh for your drop-off points. Additionally, public travel will offer you a cheap inner city mode of travel, without breaking your bank with taxis, car rentals or guided tours. Our currency is equivalent to South Africa’s rand and their bank notes are acceptable means of payment. Luckily for you and your wallet, the standard fare for inner city is a mere six emalangeni. Move about like a local, I recommend it! Learn the language No, I don’t mean full on speak fluent SiSwati. That will take a lifetime and will require you relocating but learn the simple phrases that will aid in making your transition into Eswatini much easier. Although English is an official language…

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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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