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It’s harvest time

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Emfihlweni royal residence ready to host tourists and travellers for the Umthayi Marula Festival Supplied Emfihlweni royal residence ready to host tourists and travellers for the Umthayi Marula Festival

Emfihlweni royal residence ready to host tourists and travellers for the Umthayi Marula Festival

February 08, 2019

Tankiso Moshoeshoe

Manguzi, South Africa: The Emfihlweni royal residence is anticipating a flood of tourists from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Swaziland as the harvest season of the Marula fruit is around the corner for the Umkhanyakude district.

The royal residence will welcome tourists and locals for the annual Umthayi Marula festival- a traditional African celebration of the harvesting of the Marula fruit- which will take place on February 23 at the Emfihlweni royal residence.

Over 30 000 people are expected to descend to the small town for the harvest season.

During the launch of this traditional festival, iNkosi Israel Mabhudu Tembe, leader of the Tembe and Umthuyi tribe, expressed great excitement about the impact it will have namely, attracting businesses and stakeholders in the tourism sector.

"This year’s programme will leave a long-lasting legacy in Kwangwanase and greater UMkhanyakude district and further cement relations with our neighbors Mozambique and eSwatini. The inaugural rural economy seminar is closest to my heart as it is one such programme which I believe this will be a catalyst for real local economic development and inclusion for our people. This seminar will bring to Kwangwanase an economic development and awareness revolution which the youth, particularly unemployed youth and communities at large are in need of.
“Tourism and agriculture are their greatest weapon and wish to better peoples lives and benefit tourism businesses through these programs. 

“We are pleased to say that we have a great relationship with our neighboring countries Mozambique and Swaziland, we are expecting a high delegation from both these neighboring countries which will also bring media that will explore our culture and expose it to their people. We urge tourism and accommodation businesses to also attract more international visitors," concluded Tembe.
The programme received a nod from iSimangaliso Wetland Park Chief Executive, Sibusiso Bukhosini and other stakeholders who have played an integral part in staging a formidable 9th UMthayi Marula
"While visitors visit the area tourists can also enjoy the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site which extends from the Mozambique border at Kosi and ezemvelo. The park offers various activities such as Deep sea fishing, diving, estuary & lake boat cruises, game drives, beaches, kayaking, scuba diving, turtle tours, whale watching, guided walks, and horse riding," said Bukhosini.
The festival is significant for its culture and history. Umkhanyakude Mayor Cllr Nkululeko Mthethwa emphasized their need to revive cultural tourism and the Umthayi tradition, to showcase where we come from as the Umthayi tribe.

“Our kingdom is based on historical sites, that is why we need to focus more on developing ethnic tourism. Umnthayi is our very own heritage, Our identity is derived from Umthayi,” concluded Mthethwa.