Last month, the Eswatini Tourism Authority hosted a 2-day training workshop for local tour operators and tour guides.

This annual exercise seeks to empower key players in the tourism industry with invaluable insights into the diverse and fascinating tourism offerings so that they can confidently guide local, regional and international tourists on the best local facilities and natural wonders that will certainly make for a memorable and enriching experience.

As key players in the tourism industry, it is imperative that tour operators and tour guides are appraised of the country’s wide-ranging attractions so that they can package local travel experiences that will reflect the country’s beauty in the most authentic and enticing way.

In light of this, the programme for the training workshop was designed to both introduce and refresh the participants’ knowledge of the country. The training took place at the iconic King Sobhuza II Park and the awe-inspiring Eswatini National Museum, known in SiSwati as Umsamo Wesive.

On day 1 of the training workshop, the participants from 13 tour companies were first taken around the Eswatini National Museum which was built in 1972 and is situated just behind Eswatini Parliament in Lobamba, the country’s traditional capital. The resident guide took the participants on a tour of the interesting displays of Eswatini culture and natural resources exhibited in the showroom and the natural history wings. This offered the delegates a chance to reconnect with the country’s past, reflect on how far emaSwati have come as a people, and inspire a sense of pride in Swazi traditions.

The second part of the programme on day 1 involved presentations by the Eswatini National Trust Commission and Big Game Parks who educated and shared useful tips on how to engage tourists and provide useful and accurate information about their establishments.

Another highlight for the participants was touring the King Sobhuza II Park and learning about His Majesty King Sobhuza II’s upbringing and legacy. Stepping back into history, ‘’If these walls could talk’’, this iconic exhibition space features pictorial displays of His Majesty’s childhood and monumental interactions with the global community. One of the participants commented on how this tour gave them a renewed sense of belonging that they hadn’t been exposed to in school textbooks. Museums and heritage sites are necessary supplements to formal education that can be empowering for the young and the old, and Eswatini has plentiful history and culture for you to discover.

Day 2 of the training workshop was dedicated to the Ngwenya Mine tour. While the actual mine no longer exists after it was destroyed by a fire, the fragments of history that remained behind proved to be a highly educational experience for the participants and all who visit the site. This tour offered in-depth knowledge on the captivating link between history, culture and archaeology. A short hike to the top of the hill reveals a breath-taking view of the Malolotja area and the Ngwenya Border Post. As one of Eswatini’s greatest prides, the Ngwenya mine is the world’s oldest mine! Here, one gets to see and touch ochre which was used by Bushmen in the old ages for rock paintings. This is an experience that is hard to put into words, yet easy to access.

As the kingdom gets set to launch the starting of the festivity hopefully this month, it is expected that the world will stand still for Africa in September when twenty five national troupes display prowess of African cultures in Eswatini.

As it stands, both local organising committee (LOC) and the continental one are working vigorously to ensure the Kingdom hosts one of the best cultural festivity in the recent time where African Tourism Board and the UNESCO are partnering with the tourism authority in Eswatini under the leadership of Hon. Moses Vilakati, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

There is certainly so much to see and learn about in Eswatini. Indeed, a wonder awaits in every corner of the beautiful Kingdom. A visit to the country’s museums and heritage sites is a refreshing and enlightening experience worth adding to your bucket list.

Culled from Thekingdomofeswatini

By Kazeem Balogun

Kazeem Balogun is the Managing Editor of Kalo Africa News.

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