Food and Drink
When catering for yourself, experiencing local markets and stalls is a great way to pick up cheap good quality food as well as tasting local delicacies and dishes. Ensure all food is thoroughly washed and cooked well though. In more remote locations where cultural influence is high, African staples such as stew and pap (a traditional porridge made from ground maize) are great things to try.
Whilst meat is generally available across tourism establishments in Swaziland, for the locals it is normally a luxury. Animals are generally slaughtered for special occasions and are considered a high status food. When this happens nothing is wasted, with stews made with spiced chillies including tripe, offal, hooves, trotters and chicken gizzards. When people do eat meat, they tend to really go for it. Attending a Swaziland wedding is often something of a sight, as Swazi's cram on as much charred flesh as they can!
Other popular foods include pumpkin, beans and rice, where available. Sweet potatoes are widely cultivated and sorghum is farmed in some areas. Fruits include many tropical varieties in season, such as mango, guava, paw-paw, banana and avocado, which grow freely around most homesteads. The best time for most fruits is the late rainy season, from December to March.
Restaurants are mainly found in the larger, more central towns such as Mbabane and in more tourist focused areas such as the Ezulwini Valley. Portuguese cuisine (an influence from nearby Mozambique) including seafood, and especially prawns, can be found in areas like Big Bend.
In most hotels, restaurants and bars offer a good selection of spirits, beers and wines, and of course you can try the traditional Swazi beer, especially in more rural areas, but be careful – its got a bit of a kick!
During the January-March marula season there is also a special treat for visitors who are partial to a Baileys! The marula fruit is used to make a creamy, fruity liquor. This beautiful drink is available across Africa - but every country and homestead has its own special recipe. If you like the creamy richness of Baileys then this is certainly one to try!
Mains water in Swaziland's main towns and in the country's main hotels and restaurants is safe to consume. If travelling in rural areas, bottled water is recommended; or ensure that your drinking water has been boiled. Tourists are advised to take refillable containers with them in order to top up their water at fresh water outlets where available, especially if trekking.
There are a number of establishments that also offer Halal meat. Please see list below for more details:
1. Phoenix Steakhouse, Mbabane
2. Plaza Tandoori
3. Wimpy, Ezulwini and Mbabane
5. Simunye Club
6. Tums Water world Restaurant
7. The George Restaurant
9. Nkonyeni- available on request
10. Big Game Parks (Hlane, Mlilwane, Mkhaya)- Available on request
11. Lugogo Sun and Royal Swazi Spa
12. Palm Cascades Restaurant, Summerfield
There are a number of establishments that also offer Kosher meat. Please see list below for more details:
2. Royal Villas