Swaziland Restaurants and Dining
(Swaziland, SZ, Southern Africa)
Most of Swaziland's more popular restaurants are based in the Ezulwini Valley. That said, there is also a good choice of places to dine out in Mbabane
and in Manzini, as well as within the various national parks and craft centres that can be found throughout Swaziland. Western-style food usually appears on dining menus in large hotel restaurants, along with a selection of traditional African and Swazi dishes.
Restaurants are usually open from 11:00 or 12:00, closing around 22:00 or 23:00. Those eateries that serve breakfast open earlier, from 08:00 or thereabouts. Dining establishments can be fairly quiet during the week, although at weekends they tend to be more lively, often featuring live music. Cafes open for coffee and snacks from around 10:00 to 17:00.
What to Eat
Traditional Swazi cuisine can be quite varied.
In rural areas, dishes tend to be fairly simple, usually comprising meat and vegetable stews. Beef, chicken, goat and wild game are staple ingredients. Stews tend to be accompanied by 'mealie-pap', a maize-based dish. Roasted corn on the cob is a favourite local snack food.
Where to Eat
Many visitors opt to dine in one of Swaziland's hotel-based restaurants. In Mbabane, these include the Royal Swazi Sun Valley, the Royal Villas' Lihawu Restaurant and Friar Tuck's at the Mountain Inn Hotel.
In this category of dining venue, you can be sure of a certain standard of food and service. However, whilst it's tempting to play it safe by eating in your hotel dining room, venturing out to a local restaurant has its own rewards. For a start, visitors have more opportunities to sample traditional food flavours as well as soak up the local atmosphere.
The Ezulwini Valley is by far your best bet for finding a good place to eat out, although other towns such as Mbabane and Manzini also offer a reasonable number of eateries. At any rate, it's possible to choose between traditional Swazi dishes, haute cuisine and European-style food during your stay in Swaziland.
Chinese, Indian and Portuguese cuisine also has an influence on the dishes available. Popular restaurants in the Ezulwini Valley include the Calabash. Elsewhere, a series of dining venues can also be found in the Mantenga Valley and within the Malkerns Valley.
Most of the national parks in Swaziland also have restaurants which offer authentic Swazi cuisine. The Hippo Haunt at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Lobamba, for example, offers traditional grilled wild meat (braai).
If you prefer to do lunch rather than dinner, craft centres and cafes generally offer reasonable food and a relaxed dining atmosphere. In particular, the cafe at Swazi Candles provides a range of savoury snacks and cakes. At the Ngwenya Glass Coffee Shop, coffee and pancakes are served.