Swaziland Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Swaziland, SZ, Southern Africa)




Photo of local dance festival in SwazilandSwaziland stages a number of annual events that are worth trying to catch if your itinerary allows, with intriguing ceremonies where traditional colourful clothing is worn. These range from major cultural festivals and sporting events attracting huge audiences to smaller arts and cultural gatherings staged by local Swazi communities.

If you are in Swaziland at the end of the year, one of the main things to do would certainly be to attend the Incwala Ceremony, staged at Lobamba, in the Ezulwini Valley.

Also in this part of the country, the Umhlanga Reed Dance is not to be missed and takes place in late August or early September, although it should be noted that photography is not allowed during these particular festivities.


Further picture of traditional dancing demonstration

Swaziland Calendar of Festivals and Events



January


  • New Year's Day - the arrival of the New Year on January 1st is widely celebrated all through the country, with parties and various festivities. This is a national Swazi holiday

February


  • Marula Festival - starts in the middle of February and continues for several months in celebration of the harvest of exotic green fruits known as 'marula'. Marula are often transformed into the country's local brew - marula beer

March


  • International Women's Day - festivities are held in recognition of the economic, political and social achievements of women throughout the country
  • Easter Celebrations - late March / early April, with Good Friday and Easter Monday being national holidays

April


  • Swazi Motor Show - held at the beginning of April, the motor show is a chance to admire new entries to the motor market
  • City-City Cycle Tour - starts in Manzini, with two road route options available
  • King Mswati III's Birthday - April 19th, a public holiday
  • National Flag Day - April 25th, another Swazi holiday remembering this day in 1968, when the country's very own flag was hoisted, replacing the British flag after gaining independence from Great Britain

May


  • Labour Day - May 1st, a public holiday for all
  • Medieval Feast - also includes a Goat Race. Held at Mhlume Country Club
  • Bushfire Music Festival - held in Malkerns Valley at the end of May, this is the biggest of the country's arts fests. A three-day programme includes international musicians, as well as poetry performances, live theatre and dance, and even a craft market

June


  • Imvelo MTB Classic - a mountain bike event that takes place in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Cheshire Home Sponsored Walk - a long-established charity event for walkers, held at Malolotja

July


  • Birthday of late King Sobhuza - July 22nd, a national holiday
  • Ngwenya Glass Mountain Bike Challenge - a new event which hopes to make it onto Swaziland's annual events listing. A number of 'challenges' are available to suit a variety of levels of ability, from marathons to family rides
  • Sibebe Survivor - participants can run or walk to the top of Sibebe Rock, taking in the fantastic scenery, if they've the time (or energy)

August


  • City-to-City MTB Classic - cyclists start in Mbabane before heading downhill to Manzini, negotiating some challenging river crossings and narrow tracks along the way. The City-to-City has become one of Swaziland's top sporting events
  • Black Mamba 5-a-side Soccer Festival - an annual event that takes place at the Malkerns Club
  • Umhlanga Reed Dance - late August / early September, thousands of young unmarried Swazi girls perform a dance for the Queen Mother, presenting her with tall reeds, used to build windbreaks and for general palace repairs. This event takes place in Lobamba over a seven-day period, although not all dances are open to the public. In recent years, the number of dancing maidens has exceeded 100,000. Real-life princesses can be easily spotted, since they wear red feathers in their hair

September


  • Independence Day (Somhlolo) - September 6th, a national holiday named after King Sobhuza I (Ngwane IV), who was king between 1805 and 1839, and often referred to as 'Somhlolo' (The Wonder)
  • Swaziland International Trade Fair - held over ten days at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre in Manzini
  • Swazi Trac 3 Reserves MTB Race - cyclists start in Simunye, covering an off-road course that heads through a nature reserve and sugar plantation land

October


  • Siteki Bicycle Race - a race opportunity for cyclists to take to the road rather than the trail. The race starts at the Mhlumeni Border Post and follows the Lubombo Plateau
  • Golden Lion Film Festival - held at the House on Fire

November


  • There are no significant festivals during the month of November

December


  • Incwala Day - late December / early February, also known as the Festival of the First Fruits. This sacred traditional gathering takes place at the royal palace in Lobamba (Royal Kraal), paying homage to the country's royal family and their fertility. Sacred rituals are staged before a full moon, and the next day, costumed warriors dance and perform to attract the king. At one stage, the king is handed the first pumpkin of the harvest







Swaziland

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