All you need to know about Luju and its return to African Future

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If the idea of wining and dining across Malandelas lawn while jazz notes and Afrocentric music plays in the background tickles your fancy, then you definitely don’t want to miss the country’s second largest lifestyle event. Luju festival is a food and lifestyle shindig that won the hearts of the masses last year during its inaugural showcase. The festival is now in its second year and it promises an experience twice as spectacular as its first. Brought to you by the same team that coordinated the internationally lauded MTN Bushfire Festival – House on Fire and backed by Standard Bank, festival guests can be assured of top-notch production, a spectacular line up, and an experience of a lifetime. This year’s theme is a return to African future, which through the fest’s signature vintage theme can be interpreted as an opportunity to pay homage to the unique African style through our sense, both past and present and celebrating the beauty of what it means to be a creative in modern Africa. As soon as the theme was announced, social media became abuzz with fashion houses and corporate brands predicting a Luju 2019 look book. The music line-up soon also became the talk of the town, with a stage set to be adorned by the likes of Industry veterans Bongo Maffin, local musical export Amanda Mo, afro-jazz sensation Siphokazi and the muses just to name a few, an all-female band that fuses classical music with pop sounds. Luju lovers will also be…

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When the wanderlust bug bites.

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We never really know when it happens, this wanderlust thing. One moment you’re going about your life in your own little section of the world then the next you’re fighting off this insatiable hunger to explore. Constantly curious about other countries and perpetually obsessed with getting there. I may have been about 6 when it happened. I think that’s when the travel bug bit. My lanky little body with hands glued to the window watching as we cruised past meadows of wildflowers and cane fields. I’m sure that’s when it happened. Passports sitting on the dash and my sister fast asleep beside me. I’m certain that’s when the bug bit. Its deadly venom started treking through my veins and nothing was ever the same again. I was born into what you could call a very nomadic family. We moved around a lot and travelled twice as much too. The childhood is foggy here and there, but the cross-border memories remain clear as day. I retrieve them sometimes, just to remind myself that there’s still a scrapbook full of places where my feet haven’t yet touched, and I’m sure most people can relate to. There’s something in all of us. Something that drives us toward discovery and feeds our sense of wonder. Its as if we’re born with an inner compass in our souls that gravitates us towards new places. I’m sure there are days when we all at one point or another wish we could jump onto buses with unknown…

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Art by JohnTheCyclist

A guide to cycling season in Eswatini

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(Header Image Art by JohnTheCyclist) It’s June; winter is officially in full swing and so is the second half of the year which, luckily for the outdoor tribe brings with it the much-anticipated cycling season. For the casual tourist, there are many places all over the country where one can get lost in the safari or explore the multiple landscapes on bike all year round. Many of the game and nature reserves offer safari experiences of that nature, which are fun and come highly recommended. However, for the adrenaline junkie or competitive cycler, there is a number of different events and competitions set out between now and the later part of the year. Starting with the Dups Mafutseni cycle challenge happening on the 2nd of June all the way to the MTN khemani race on the 8th of September.  Our cycling calendar is so exciting and full that we chose four of the most interesting upcoming mountain bike races to profile for our readers: the annual Imvelo classic, Ngwenya glass MTB challenge, Inyatsi Nkonyeni G2g MTB classic and the popularly acclaimed Inyatsi Swazi frontier. This surely should get the attention of avid cyclists, whether amateur or pro. Imvelo classic The IMVELO Classic is the country’s biggest and most popular biking event. Held annually each June at the beloved Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The event is made up of a series of races over different distances. The longest is a staggering 68km and there’s also a 22km family friendly route mapped out as…

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The best fishing spots in Eswatini

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We may be a landlocked country but that hasn’t stopped our rivers from providing the best possible outdoor experiences. Where most are keen on the adrenaline found in white water rafting, feeling the cool foam soaking them in, others find their fun in waiting by the waters edge for a good catch. There are a number of places around Eswatini where the water enthusiasts can get the most out of their stay, from scenic reserves, picturesque lodges and big dams. Indigenous fish, such as bream and barbel can be found in most rivers while stunning species like the magnificent Tiger fish will only make their cameo again when the winter ends. Still, that shouldn’t dissuade one from reeling in some fresh water beauties on their next visit to the country. Here’s a look at three of the best places around Eswatini for your next big catch. Maguga Dam Drive up the MR1, which happens to be one of the most gorgeous highways north of the country and you’ll eventually be led to the Maguga dam; An impressive expanse of blue water fed by the Komati River. The dam was built under a joint South Africa/Swaziland Komati Basin Water Authority venture and it is Swaziland’s largest reservoir. The dam’s wall which stands at an awe-inspiring 115 m high is also the fourth largest in southern Africa. Boating and fishing are both available on the dam, with fully equipped houseboats for hire. The dam also serves as a scenic pit-stop between Mbabane…

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Where to eat in Mbabane

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Mbabane is Eswatini’s capital and the largest city in the country. Although fairly small in comparison to other capitals in Southern Africa, Mbabane is still an awesome place to get lost in. Not only that, but the city is also home to a number of wonderful and spectacular eateries that are a mouthful for foodies or anyone looking to experience a real taste of Eswatini. Here is a list of the six best places to eat at in Mbabane. Ramblas The city’s first choice for good food and a lively vibe is located just by the Mbabane golf course. The restaurant, which is set within a small villa with a lovely terrace, has an interior that holds colorful paintings and grey and red hues that create a sophisticated mood. It also has an impeccable selection of South Africa’s finest wines, serves home baked cakes and desserts and offers an eclectic menu with daily specials, pizzas and salads. Edladleni Flavorsome food served in a peaceful setting alongside stunning views of hills and a river can only be enjoyed at Edladleni. The name of the restaurant can be loosely translated to ‘Kitchen’ in SiSwati. If you’re after an authentic Eswatini experience, this traditional cuisine spot is your best pick. Tuck into traditional specialties just a short distance outside the city at the serene Mvubu Falls lodge. The restaurant is one of the few places in the country where real Swazi food can be indulged in. This eatery gem is owned and run…

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12 Interesting facts about Eswatini

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Eswatini is Africa’s little gem. With a thriving population, varying landscapes and rolling hills. The country is a tourist favorite and amongst one of the most scenic places on the continent. However there are a number of interesting and outrageously wild fun facts about the country which many may or might not be familiar with. Look at our list and let us know which ones you find fascinating. Absolute Monarchy Eswatini is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and one of the few remaining in the world. This form of government gives the head of state supreme authority that supersedes all written laws, legislature or customs. By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother who is known as the Indlovukazi (She-elephant) while the King is reffered to as Ingwenyama (Lion) Swaziland was always Eswatini The year 2018 was a historical one for the Kingdom. The year not only signified a double celebration of 50 years of Independence as well as the 50th birthday of the head of state, but it also marked when the country went from being Swaziland to Eswatini overnight. Literally. However, an interesting fact to note is that the Kingdom was always considered Eswatini by it’s people. The change was only a legal affirmation. Second largest rock found here Sibebe Rock which is located on the outskirts of Mbabane, is the world’s second largest monolith (single piece of rock). It lags a little behind Australia’s Uluru. Best big Five safari experiences It is possible to observe the famous big…

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Where to eat in Eswatini: The Calabash

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Every part of the world has its own food culture- Their own traditions about what they love to indulge in to how they love to prepare it and of course, Eswatini is no different. Although traditionally, our cuisine is influenced by seasonal variations, availability of certain ingredients and staple foods, however when it comes to the restaurant scene, our food culture has evolved through that of others, globalization and the need to bring Eswatini to the world. We have a mix of franchises, cultured restaurants, China town spots and even social markets where street food and barbeques are all the rave. Taking this into account, anyone who visits our neck of the woods will be spoilt for choice. With so many great places to pick from, we thought it best to help narrow down the search for you. Interesting enough, the first restaurant to pop onto our radar just so happens to be a timeless piece of Eswatini heritage. Situated next to Timbali lodge, just behind the Midway galp gas station is a quaint family run restaurant, called The Calabash. Whatever tickles your continental cuisine fancy, best believe you’ll find it Here. This restaurant serves a variety of European cuisine. From traditional French dishes, German delights, to even a bit of Italian food and Swiss meals. The Calabash was originally founded in the late 70’s by Egon Hernler. It was then sold to a new owner some twenty odd years later, only to be rebought a similar number of years…

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Best hiking places in Eswatini

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We’re almost at that time of the year where we’re ready to pack away our sandals and sarongs and trade them in for some boots and fleece sweaters. Autumn is drawing to a close and leaving with it are the warm days where we could be caught reclining by the poolside or binge drinking on Mojitos but, that’s okay. As dreary and gloomy as winter can get, it’s still a season that can be packed with all sorts of fun and engaging activities to do, one of which is Hiking. There is nothing as rewarding as a trek through bush and woodland on a cool day. Although the slopes can get wet from time to time, it’s still almost perfect weather because it eliminates the discomfort of sweating your way up a hill. Eswatini is a rich landscape of different hiking experiences that can be a thrill for anyone who dares to reach a summit. From green hilled Sibebe down by Mbuluzi just past Pine valley, to woodlands in the Mlawula reserve and even our ghastly Execution rock that holds a dark history in the constitutional pages of Eswatini. You can rest easy in knowing that a day of bootlegging through our veld and mountains can make for memories worth keeping, sharing or even instagramming. Here’s a list of the 4 best places to catch some views in the kingdom. Take a drive through the valley, past Lobamba and make a short right just after Ludzidzini Royal Residence because Mlilwane…

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The top 5 Instagram-worthy places in Mbabane

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Let’s face it; we all live on social media. We share, react, like and hashtag almost anything and EVERYTHING. The gram, like its devotees like to call it, is the ultimate visual haven as far as social media is concerned. It’s a place where one can go from regular Joe to uber creative with a click of a filter. We are constantly snapping and posting up on the go. Always on the lookout for the best location or views to share with our followers. I guess you could go as far as calling it a thrill seeking game of creating images that are worth a thousand words. One of the best parts about travel is the memories you get to collect and there has never been a greater way of documenting them than through the gram. We love our city. As quaint and business casual as it can get, it’s still one of the most vibrant and intriguing places in the country. Exploring Mbabane can be quite the adventure. From immersing yourself in down-town galleries to hitting hole in ones in suburban golf courses and even chugging down draughts in millennial loved pubs, the city is one helluva urban experience. Here’s a look at the top 5 Instagram worthy places in the city that are also quite deserving of your time too. The market place is the city’s urban culture epicentre. This intersecting of souvenirs, thrift shopping stalls, crafts, fruit and veg cubicles and even traditional food is an experience…

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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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