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Explore Eswatini (Swaziland)
TOP ACCOMMODATION GETAWAYS
WHERE TO STAY & HOW TO TRAVEL
BEST ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
Rose and Giles Roques arrived at Wide Horizons in Swaziland in1973 and in Rose's words this is how it happened:
The winding, rough dirt road from Malkerns eventually led us to an impossibly steep and stony hillside. The track appeared almost suspended between encroaching dongas, which bled deep and red into the verdant valley below.
We stopped for a few minutes to drink in the vista below us. The view spread out from the saddle of the craggy hillside and stretched as far as we could see to the distant hazy blue mountains of Mozambique. Far in the distance we could make out a cluster of thatched buildings nestled into the hillside like an eagle's eyrie. Was that it? The place we were searching for?
We drove on over several more river crossings and reached a faint track leading off to the right up the mountain. A small, faded and crooked wooden board declared "Wide Horizons". It was barely legible. Our hearts leapt as we began the last leg of our long journey between the mealie fields and Swazi kraals with curious children peering at us around bushes and shyly smiling and waving.
Coaxing Rufus (our trusty Land Rover that Giles had driven overland from England to South Africa in 1972) up the steep track that snaked up the steep and boulder strewn hillside, we felt a real flutter of excitement and anticipation. What would we find? How long before had a vehicle braved this almost nonexistent road? Had they had to spend a while digging a way through the bank of the river to make it fordable? Had they one day, locked the door, and driven down the hill, leaving their beloved home, never to return again? Had they glanced backwards with regret?
Deserted Wide Horizons - Our Dream House
Driving through the leaning wooden gateposts, the gate hanging off its rusty hinges, we found what seem to be a ghost house. Deserted for more than 8 years we felt a sense of awe and wonder. Built in the shape of a straggling horse shoe, quartz stone rondavels joined together to take advantage of the 360 degree view. The tatty thatched roof, holed in many places by years of rain and neglect, gaped where the shaggy grass allowed the evening to shine through. The garden was bizarre. Neatly laid out and edged paths in patterns led to a terraced stone walled flowerbed with the odd surviving rose bush bravely still flowering. Drunken latticed arches festooned in draping grapevines, an empty lily pond and a small stone statue completed the picture of stumbling into a scene from a book.
Wandering around the outside of the house, we gazed in through the surprisingly unbroken windows at the empty echoing rooms full of unseen ghosts. A mulberry tree stood sentinel in the middle of what had once been a well tended lawn. Hardy geranium bushes with brilliant splashes of pink and scarlet blooms framed the house.
Wide Horizons Hopes and Dreams
That night, as the full moon bathed the ghostly scene in brilliantly shadowed light, we made a small fire outside the kitchen door (firmly locked against intruders like us) lay out our sleeping bags and spent the evening gazing out over the aptly named "Wide Horizons" of farm 375, Manzini. Listening to the nightjars calling from one side of the hill to the other, we chatted long into the night about our plans, projects and dreams and how we could make them happen on this 1500 acres of mountainside paradise bush in the heart of Swaziland.
I felt a thrill of excitement tinged with nervousness at the though. Isolated, far from tar roads, people, civilization so incredibly different from the life I have just left in the middle of the bustling city of Johannesburg. It was daunting to me. But I was soon swept up by Giles' incredible enthusiasm and conviction that this could be our idyllic home and launch site for so many rural schemes that were running through his energetic mind.
Wide Horizons Farm
For two days we walked the boundaries of the farm. Exploring the mountain sides, dongas, boulder hopping down the cascading stream, which was the central artery and lifeblood of the farm. We discovered deep, cool pools overhung with shady trees. Stripping off our clothes we splashed and cavorted delighting in washing off the dust and stickiness from our long hours of walking through thick bush. We dug soil samples from each arable area and collected different grass species for identification. As we did so, we visualised the open spaces of gently waving grasslands teaming with herds of our own cattle.
At night, as we lay exhausted from all our activities by the dying fireside and listened to the night sounds and watched the moon's shadows eerily moving over the landscape, my thoughts ran back to my past, as I lived the dream I had had for so long of being here in Africa.
Written by Rose Roques
Home away from home is what Wide Horizons Retreat has become for me. I am sure if you ask a dozen people what a home is, you will get different responses. The most common definition is; home is where you and your family live - but I have a different view of a home, it is a secure place, filled with so much love, cheer and respect.
MOVING TO WIDE HORIZONS RETREAT
When I joined Wide Horizons, I was quite nervous and stressed out. Taking on a live-in position as lodge manager in the countryside, an hour away from town was quite a huge change from what I was used to. Setting up my accommodation there as a place to stay was a big step.
To my surprise, the transition was incredible, way better than I had expected. I felt at home instantly, the team was so welcoming. All friendly faces who went the extra mile to make sure I was comfortable enough to make Wide Horizons my home.
One can honestly never get enough of how hands-on every team member is, all specially handpicked to achieve one goal ‘being the most preferred destination in the Kingdom of Eswatini.’
HOMELY ACCOMMODATION & AWESOME GETAWAY EXPERIENCE
We work together to make Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat your other home. The services and every team member is there to serve you, our honoured guests.
I hope you become part of our Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat Family!"
NATURE INFUSED GETAWAYS RIGHT HERE ...
Are you dreaming of your next weekend or holiday in beautiful, serene spaces? A retreat where you can ponder the past year, and recalibrate your future ? To plan & brainstorm, to set goals and get fired up about the exciting opportunities and possibilities that could be a single decision away. Or do you desire to simply escape for a bit to share meaningful experiences with the people you truly love and care for the most? Well, dear friends, Eswatini certainly fits that bill - and more. She will not disappoint you! Our Nation is alive with colourful, soulful offerings which we will share with you over the course of our Blogs. For now we will focus on how to get you here safely.
A hot topic and frequently asked question at the moment is How to travel to Eswatini (Swaziland) during COVID? Here's some travel advice from us at Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat & Lidwala Lodge to help clear up some misconceptions and share helpful guidelines & insights. Our aim is to make your travel plans a whole lot smoother so you can enjoy your journey to & through our sunny Kingdom.
What a year its been! Various iterations of partial lockdown then opening up then partial lockdown again. Here in Eswatini we have been very fortunate to have experienced relatively low levels of COVID-19 spread. Thankfully we have open spaces and a naturally distanced population, so for the majority of people here life has been able to continue without too many limitations. The majority of us do realise how lucky we are to be in Eswatini at this time. In fact, for anyone looking to avoid the hard lockdown measures of other countries and are actively seeking alternative options to spend time in nature and the outdoors, Eswatini has plenty of great options. To highlight a few favourites, you can try the following - all are very special options, with great stories :
What are the Eswatini travel restrictions? Are Eswatini’s Borders Open ? Covid-19 continues to generate many travel questions !
Yes, Eswatini’s (Swaziland’s) Borders are Open (for now)
Covid has definitely thrown us all some brutal curve balls. Lockdown was one of them. Its impact on our small economy has been severe to say the least. But there is light at the end of the travel tunnel. Although Tourism has been severely hit we remain hopeful & optimistic that the future is bright and positive outcomes will most definitely emerge.
Nitty Gritty of getting here:
At the time of writing this you may enter Eswatini (Swaziland) as a tourist provided you have a valid PCR COVID test with a negative result performed within 72 hours of crossing the border. At present, to exit Eswatini (Swaziland) you also need a PCR COVID test with a negative result performed within 72 hours of crossing the border.
Where Can I Get a COVID Test in Eswatini (Swaziland) ?
Within Eswatini (Swaziland) PCR COVID tests performed by Lancet or Ampath are currently the only accepted ones for travel. Lancet http://www.lancet.com.ng/index.php/africa/swaziland COVID tests can be done between 8am & 5pm weekdays or between 8.30am & 1pm Saturdays at:
Ampath COVID tests can be done between 8am & 5pm weekdays or between 8.30am & 1pm Saturdays at:
COVID Protocols in Eswatini (Swaziland)
There is currently a curfew between 8pm and 4am to limit the amount of movement and in particular night gatherings and parties, so please do not travel at night.
At Wide Horizons we put the safety of our guests and our staff first so all of these protocols are strictly in place.
COVID-19 and the 501Y.V2 variant
Important information and misconceptions :
There’s been a lot of speculation and many misconceptions about the new Covid-19 variants. One of these the media has termed ‘the South African variant’ more correctly called the 501Y.V2. variant. It was first genetically sequenced and identified in South Africa. This has created the perception that it originated in South Africa (which may not be true) and that it's confined to South Africa (which is not true). It is in fact present all over the world. According to Prof Tulio de Oliveira, director of KZN Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform: “It could easily have emerged elsewhere but it’s only thanks to our excellent genomic surveillance here in South Africa that we know more about it.
Viruses tend to mutate into new variants as they spread. Many new variants of SARS-COV-2 (which causes Covid-19) have been identified around the world. According to WHO this 501Y.V2. variant is more transmissible but is not known to produce worse symptoms nor cause more deaths than the original variant.
The advice we have been given is to treat it in the same way as the original variant and continue with the standard protocols:
For more information about COVID in Eswatini and advice please check out the WHO page for Eswatini - CLICK HERE
To wrap up, we believe there is no better place to be right now, than the great outdoors in Eswatini. The exploration of our wonderful Kingdom comes very highly recommended!
CLICK HERE to visit the above destination. This is a remote, tranquil and soulful getaway
In our upcoming Blogs we will share more of the following with you:
Great to connect! Our Blog & Latest News is crafted by several team members who are passionate about Travel. We love sharing advice on where to go, places to visit & things to do. Adventure activities including hiking & mountain biking are also high on our priority list.
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