Tradition. Culture. Swaziland.

The Kingdom of Swaziland is old, peaceful and incredibly varied. This is the last traditional kingdom in Africa and the cheerful, friendly Swazi people preserve proudly their rich culture and traditions, which they love to share with visitors. A unique balance between ancient and modern, African and western living extends throughout their daily life.

The Swazis are charming and humorous and Swaziland is a vibrant, fun place to experience Africa. In the rural areas, life has changed little over the years. The richness of Swaziland’s culture is echoed everywhere, but particularly along the roadsides, with glimpses of a real Africa, where rural life continues with its own, almost unchanged, rhythm.

Every day at the Mantenga Village, a living museum of nineteenth century traditions, there are displays of lively dancing and beautiful Swazi singing.

Mystical Ceremonies

Two main Swazi ceremonies take place every year. Both are announced shortly before the events, as they are determined by phases of the moon.

The most spectacular ceremony is the annual Umhlanga (Reed Dance) in August / September. It is a celebration in honour of the Queen Mother and of feminine beauty and virtue. During this ceremony, thousands of traditionally dressed maidens from all over the Kingdom collect reeds that are later used to make a new enclosure around the Queen Mother’s home. Later, the maidens converge at the Queen Mother’s homestead to pay their respects by presenting their reeds. The final days include spectacular displays of singing, dancing and colour.

The Incwala or Kingship Ceremony takes place in December / January. It is the most sacred annual ceremony when the King and thousands of young men and warriors take part in various rituals, dances and songs. The young men fetch ‘lusekwane’ branches and then march back to present them at the cattle byre; an impressive, unforgettable sight. The King embodies the vitality of the nation and at Incwala, through these sacred rituals, provides for the wellbeing and prosperity of his subjects for the year ahead.

Greetings & Etiquette

Swazis pride themselves on dialogue and discussion and truly appreciate a smattering of siSwati being used by visitors to the Kingdom.


Sawubona – reply - Yebo

Thank you

Ngiyabonga / Siyabonga


Hambakahle (go well) if they are leaving / Salakahle (stay well) if you are leaving

How are you?


It’s good


I am well


Other common words you will come across in Swaziland include:


Great Lady - for royal wives


Lion – traditional title of the King


Great She Elephant – the traditional title of the Queen Mother

Maps & Travel Info


JohannesburgO.R. Tambo Intl Airport


Kruger National ParkMalelane Gate (South)


BattlefieldsKwa-zulu natal