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Destination Details

Manzini, Swaziland

The region’s capital city, also called Manzini and known as The Hub of Swaziland, was previously named Bremersdorp after the entrepreneur Albert Bremer, who arrived there in the 1880s during the concessions period. Because he operated his farm and trading store near the river, the Swazis, with typical humour, dubbed his place kaManzini (at the water).

Bremersdorp was the country’s capital under the Transvaal administration, which was superseded by British rule in 1903 at the end of the Boer War, when capital was moved to Mbabane. The reason given is the preferred cooler climate – and probably the fact that Bremersdorp had, in any case, been looted and burned to the ground! The name Manzini was officially adopted during the 1960s. Coupled with the nearby industrial area of Matsapha, this city comprises the country’s largest urban population. Modern day Manzini serves as a dormitory for Mataspha and is characterized by both formal and informal trade. This bustling cosmopolitan centre is described by historian and writer James hall as:

“….a city, but with a languorous small town feel. A brisk walk from one end of downtown to the other, from the traffic circle opposite the golf course to the bridges spanning the river, takes all of fifteen minutes. The walk is interrupted by only four traffic lights. The city’s first traffic light at Ngwane and Sandlane Streets was not even there until 1983. Sidewalk vendors, whose proliferation was a phenomenon of the 1990s, sell fruits and vegetables. Boys blare announcements of sales through loud speaks before chain stores. People congregate in pair or small groups, passing the time of day in a city that appears to be in no hurry to get to where it is going. At the library silence is observed among serious students in school uniforms filling tables before long, brown-tinted windows whose 360-degress second story view shows that the principal feature of Manzini is still its tress. Each season brings a new blossoming of colour-coordinated flowers along the paths of Jubilee Park and the knoll of grass beside City Council Chambers. Prominent marriages and funerals are held in the cathedral where the red flowers of coral trees in December contrast with the lavender profusion of the street’ jacarandas in October.

70, 000 residents now call Manzini home, a number greater than the entire population of Swaziland a hundred years before. Despite some ungainly development and a host of new social challenges the city captures the essence of Swazi life in its casual pace and informal, friendly attitude. And in this way the years of change have not altered (it) at all: it is still a place, as it was in the beginning, where everybody knows your name”

Manzini is home to the Mavuso trade Centre, where the annual International Trade Fair and other major promotional events and exhibitions take place. Adjacent to this are a sports arena and football stadium. The city provides excellent shopping in three large malls, the newest of which, Riverstone, opened in 2011. There is a wide choice of hotels and restaurants, including The George Hotel near the city centre, which offers excellent facilities, for both business and pleasure. Global village is a luxurious guest house set in the tranquil suburb of Madonsa near the Manzini golf course.

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