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The Swaziland Reed Dance Tour

Country: Swaziland
City: Manzini
Duration: 8 Day(s) - 7 Night(s)
Tour Category: Festival Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

Package Itinerary

The Reed Dance will start on 29th August, with the main day (Day 7) being Monday 4th September. On the 3rd and 4th September there will be a marquee for guests to purchase refreshments. Both traditional and western foods will be on sale.

Most of the maiden who take part are in their teens, although there are some younger ones who participate. During the first week the young maiden gather reeds from the specially selected areas, some of the older girls travel for a long distance, leaving the young ones to choose the reeds closer to their homes.
The day of the reed dance begins with bathing and grooming prior to appearing before the King and the Queen Mother. The girls wear short beaded skirts decorated with fringes and buttons;
Together with anklets, bracelets, and necklaces, and colourful sashes.
Each sash has appendages of different coloured wool streamers, those denote whether or not the is betrothed. The Royal family princesses wear red feathers in their hair and lead the maidens to perform before their majesties. Each group has its own particular dance steps and sound which marks the respect for the Monarch and his mother. Many of the girls carry torches to indicate that had cut the reeds at night.
The reed dance attracts young maidens and young men from across the Kingdom and foresters the unity of clans which characterizes the modern Swaziland as devoid of tribal differences.
Photographs may be taken during the reed dance provided the permits are obtained in advance.

Day One:

Pick up at the Airport 10:55AM and we go for refreshment and we check in at the lodge where you will luggage’s and we head straight to Ludzidzini where the Reed Dance Umhlanga in SiSwati Language. This is where you will find the girls gathering at the Queen Mother’s royal village, at Ludzidzini, in Sobhuza time it was at Lobamba. They come in groups from the 200 or so chiefdoms and are registered for security. Men, usually four, supervise them, appointed chiefs. They sleep in the huts of relatives in the village or in classrooms of nearby schools. This is a very exciting time for the maidens. This will be enough for the day and we go back to our Lodge for Dinner.

Overnight Lodge

Day Two:

After breakfast we depart again to where the reed dance is. Today the girls are separated into two groups, the older (about 14 to 22 years) and the younger (about 8 to 13 years). In the afternoon, they march to the reed-beds with their supervisors. The older girls often march about 30 kilometers, while the younger girls march about ten kilometers. If the older girls are sent further, government will provide trucks for their transport. After this we depart for our lodge.

Overnight Lodge.

Day Three:

After breakfast we depart for the reed dance. Today the girls cut their reeds, usually about ten to twenty, using long knives. Each girl ties her reeds into a bundle. Nowadays they use strips of plastic for the tying, but those mindful of tradition will still cut grass and plaint it into rope. We depart for lodge

Overnight Lodge

Day Four:

After breakfast we depart for the reed dance .In the afternoon, the girls set off to return to the Queen Mother’s village, carrying their bundles of reeds. Again they return at night. This is done “to show they travelled a long way”. We depart for the lodge.

Overnight Lodge

Day Five:

After breakfast we depart for the reed dance. A day of rest where the girls make final preparations to their hair and dancing costumes. After all that walking, who doesn’t deserve a little pampering?

Overnight Lodge.

Day Six:

After breakfast we depart for the reed dance, this is a big day where the reed dance is really taking place the girls are dancing in the costumes such a beautiful dance and songs! First day of dancing, from about three to five in the afternoon. The girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters. They move to the arena and dance, keeping their groups and each group singing different songs at the same time.

Overnight Lodge

Day Seven:

Second and last day of dancing. His Majesty the King will be present.

Day Eight:

After breakfast we check out and head to Ludzidzini which is the last day of the reed dance. King commands that a number of cattle (perhaps 20 -25) be slaughtered for the girls. They receive pieces of meat and go home. We depart for airport where you will be taking your flight back home.

Valid Passports Essential

Please advise your Nationality, as Lesotho has Visas restrictions on certain countries.

Included: Accommodation Excluded: drinks & Meals

Entry Fees Personal expenses

Mineral Water Personal insurances

Transport in 4x4 vehicles Walks/Hikes

Driver/Guide Fees Tips to guide

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