Unwinding at a touristic hidden gem

Unwinding at a touristic hidden gem

About 32km away south of Eswatini economic hub of Manzini lies a touristic hidden gem: Tfutjana Mount Resort. Always looking for an oasis of comfort where I can go to unwind away from my mentally taxing career, I head off to this great place with a peaceful and breathtaking natural setting.

Tucked away in the wooded foot of Tfutjana Mountain overlooking Mkhondvo River in KaKholwane area, I discover in a jiffy that Tfutjana Mount Resort has a certain rustic charm. This becomes evident when my 4×4 SUV crawIs up the 300m dirt road from the Yith’abuntu Highway.

As I’m manoeuvring it in the parking space, I glean from an unsophisticated plaque information on what rustic pleasures lay in store for me in the quaint place. Oh boy!  I can’t believe my eyes. One of the outdoor activities is caving as per the list at the base of a tree. Casting my eyes all over, there’s a rock emblazoned “Welcome to Tfutjana Mount Resort” on it.

At the reception, I’m received by welcoming Sithembile Dlamini, who co-owns the resort with her husband, Derrick. She identifies two seats in one of the beautifully laid out empty tables in the elevated open view dining area. After our exchange of pleasantries, she offers me something to drink. Thank God, I didn’t embarrass her by asking for my newfound Budweiser beer. Impulsively, I settle for a 300ml can of Coca Cola taking advantage of the absence of my overly health conscious daughters.

During the interview about the resort offerings, she politely tells me that they don’t serve alcoholic beverages but hastens to add that guests are free to bring their own stuff. She blames it on the restrictions to get a trading liquor licence for a business on Swazi Nation Land.

Tfutjana Mount Resort was born out of her passion for tending to people’s needs which she developed whilst living in Dwalile Mission. She recalls how the white missionaries exposed her to hospitality at a young age. She partook in outdoor events they used to organise for their overseas visitors. Driven by her hospitality passion, she has taken early retirement from nursing.

Overlooking the spectacular gullied place, the resort has various options to lay your head. It has hostel suites accommodating 12 people per room and a family room which takes five people. There are also double rooms which take two people per room. In addition, it further offers tent-camping to picnickers on flat boulders.

From the kitchen, it serves mouth-watering menu including fresh, tasty, western and traditional meals. It serves a-lacarte, buffet, platters and shisanyama. It also offers self-catering services popular with picnickers and campers.

Breathing a sigh of relief, there comes a time to immerse myself in the rustic pleasures. Dlamini assigns me a tour guide, Joseph Dlamini, who knows the place like the back of his hand. Climbing up the mountain, a screaming message on the rock “Happily Ever After Starts Here” really strikes me. It’s obvious that exploration of the mountain begins here.

While meandering beyond this spot towards the caves, he begins his lecture about the outdoor activities. He reels them off as hiking, rock climbing, caving, picnics, team building, unique donga feature viewing, swimming and tent camping.

Suddenly, my streak of adventurous journalism kicks in. I dive into the cave for the first time ever in my life. I find the environment just cool with nothing hair-raising inside the caves. The resort keeps squeaky clean the caves for guests from all walks of like including newlyweds.  Inside one of them, I find a white wedding arch frame and makeshift sofas made out of pallets covered with cloths of different colours.

Joseph points to a boulder further up where he claims that when one is perched on its highest peak one can see as far as Logoba area and Manzini City. Using a different route climbing down the mountain, he shows me a goat kraal for educational purposes. My hiking ends well at an empty swimming pool laid out on the rocky place.  

My outdoor activities end on high note with a visit to the gorgeously curved gullied place, a complete hotchpotch of natural architectural styles. This vein-like gullies perfectly fit the bill of nothing but beauty in disaster. I have been to a number of ecotourism sites that leave you breathless across the countryside, but Tfutjana Mount Resort is really something else.

Phone Tfutjana Mount Resort on (+268) 78374027 or 76358427 tfutjanamountresort@gmail.com

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