< Back to Index November'99

by Roland Thorne

Backpackers and travellers in Swaziland have a unique chance to experience the Sibebe tri-challenge.

Sibebe is a rock mass a few kilometres north of Mbabane in the breathtaking highveld region. The granite formation is recorded as being the second largest rock mass in the world after Ayres rock in Australia and has great significance to Swazis.

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A Swazi Trails Guide leads visitors down
the face of Sibebe Rock.

Sibebe's towering grey cliff slopes grace the fringes of the beautiful Pine Valley and it gives an amazing sense of power to onlookers. Once your eyes meet Sibebe you have no choice but to climb it. This is the first of the tri-challenge experiences - climb Sibebe A guided climb is strongly recommended as the exact routes are not marked.

If you choose the wrong way, you could find yourself tumbling right down to the bottom and end up resembling a squashed paw paw! Bookings for guided climbs are through backpackers lodges and tour operators in Swaziland. The experienced guides will take you right to the summit where you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views in Swaziland. At the top you can lounge around on the huge rock or explore the greater surroundings like caves, streams and rock gaps.

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Dwarfed by the immense size of Sibebe
Rock... two visitors explore the face
of this granite monolith.

It is amazing up there, rather like being on another planet surrounded by vast and abstract formations of solid granite. Descent is just as fun and on arrival at the bottom the cool, bubbling waters of the Mbuluzi River is there to refresh your tired body. Refreshment is the key word to the chapter of the tri-challenge and for that you must drink Sibebe.

A special lager was recently developed in the Kingdom of Swaziland and named Sibebe. This is a unique Swazi beer brewed from roasted amber malt, maize, hops and water. So, crack open a can of Swaziland's best and "get into the culture!" As the amber sun sinks low so does another Sibebe and your mind relaxes whilst your body finds rhythm in a base line coming from somewhere in the African night.

Part three of the tri-challenge is the Sibebe Night-club which is situated a short distance away from the rock. This is a happening night spot where funky tunes top the DJ's menu. Good music, great company and as midnight arrives you will find yourself dancing on the roof of the night-club!

In the light of the full moon you can gaze over the beautiful valley in front of you and then your eyes will meet again with the power of the rock that is towering above you. So, the scene is set, beer in hand and funky tunes from the DJ all under the shadow of Sibebe. The tri- challenge is complete!


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