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Region: Hhohho
Attraction Type: Culture/People

 

Lobamba

Lobamba, the spiritual and cultural centre of the Kingdom, is home to the Somhlolo National Stadium, the Houses of Parliament, the National Museum and Archives, and the King Sobhuza II Memorial Park, as well as the royal kraal at Ludzidzini, ringed by the plains on which the nation gathers for the annual Incwala and Umhlanga. This area has been playing host to Swaziland’s royalty for over 200 years.

The King Sobhuza II Memorial Park was established as a tribute to King Sobhuza II who led the Swazi nation to independence (from the British) in 1968. Within the park there is also a small museum which consists of a pictorial exhibition of the life history of the King, as well as three vintage cars once owned by him. The King’s Mausoleum is also within the park - photography of the mausoleum itself is prohibited.

The Museum has an essential role in preserving past traditions and culture for future generations. It's mission is to collect all natural and man-made objects that reflect both natural and cultural heritage of the Swazi and Southern African peoples. The Natural History Wing was built in 1991, with the objectives of educating the publica about the diverse ecosystems of Swaziland, to illustrate by example how Swazi culture is influenced by nature, and to highlight the importance of environmental issues. The displays include dioramas showing typical highveld and lowveld scenes, as well as one featuring nocturnal animals, which, although they may be common, are often seldom seen.

At Ludzidzini, among the clustered dwellings of the royal village, is the queen mother’s royal kraal, the walls of which are symbolically reinforced with reeds during the annual Umhlanga. In front is a parade ground, with terraced seating for VIPs, where the concluding ceremonies of the Umhlanga take place. During the Umhlanga and Incwala, the surrounding plains swarm with crowds of people in traditional dress, either joining the festivities or commuting back and forth. With the Mdzimba Mountains behind, it makes for a spectacular sight. Parking for spectators is set up in a field to the right of the entrance road.