Excerpts from "A Traveller's Guide to Swaziland" by Bob Forrester.
Esibayeni Lodge is next to the airport, with 104 rooms, 28 chalets and 13 conference rooms it is a large establishment primarily catering to conferences. Swimming pool, air conditioning, kids playground. Medium rates. Phone 518 4848. www.esibayenilodge.co.sz.
Summerfields styles itself as a botanical garden, but in effect it is a large restaurant with good food and service built around two dams, there are a number of cottages in the surrounding area. Built by an ex cabinet minister (of housing and then finance) he describes it as his dream. And if your dreams coincide, then Summerfields is perfect.
When you arrive at the car park you first see an entrance gate with Grecian pillars and a Polynesian longhouse roof on them, this post-modern juxtaposition of styles is continued throughout. The main restaurant building is themed on a tradional thatch hut or rondavel - but at four or five stories high with a built in pale blue waterfall, it is a rondavel on steroids.
The interior is filled with Louis XIV reproduction furniture, the table at the entrance has gilded antelope hooves, this is Louis en Afrique. There are numerous gilded pictures, themed on flowers of one sort or another. At certain levels one can sit on gilded throne-like chairs and look over the industrial suburb and worker housing of Matsapha in the medium distance, this gives a very fine fin de siecle feel.
There are numerous walkways over water where you can stand and admire concrete antelope poised to drink at the waters edge before moving on through assorted architectural eras. The quality of the fittings is very good, a lot of thought, attention and money has gone into the construction. The summerhouse areas next to the water are pleasant places to have meal on a warm day, and the gardens are filled with exotics, many with unusual baroque flowering strategies.
At time of writing the cottages were not finished, but they will be themed like the rest of Summerfields. High rates. Recommended, one of the sights of Swaziland.