Shebas Breasts: Oh you mean those “Granite breasts”!

Shebas Breasts located in Ezulwini, Swaziland

Have you ever experienced that annoying moment when your confidence and self esteeem is high, you walking around town all dolled up looking all nice and glossy, suddenly you get stopped by a tourist. 

“Excuse me, we are looking for a way to acess Shebas breasts”
“Sheba who”?
“The famous landmark site in Ezulwini”? 
“Never heard of the site” 

There is something annoying and frustrating about being asked about a historical landmark site in your country and you dont know about it. It makes you feel inefficient or to be explicit dumb. You Google the site and you discover its well known in Europe and other countries but all your country men are not aware of its existence. 

Close view of Shebas Breasts

What are this Shebas breasts? They are  distinctive twin-peaks granite rocks that are shaped in the form of breasts or supposedly so. They are clearly visible from the Malagwane Hill as the traveler descends from Mbabane into the Ezulwini Valley. The “granite breasts” are located in the Kingdom of Eswatini formerly known as Swaziland. The rock formations are named after the legendary beauty and mysterious Queen of Sheba from Ethiopia, who supposedly seduced King Solomon.

The author J. Rider Haggard, who traveled through Swaziland as secretary to Sir Theophilus Shepstone in the 1880s, was inspired by the peaks and it is believed that he wrote his famous “King Solomon’s Mines” while staying at the private Kapola Estate. His lesser-known novel “She” was also inspired by the Queen of Sheba. Legend tells that Sheba’s Breasts are the site of King Solomon’s mines. The breasts are acessed via trails and the hike to the breats is betwen 2-3 hours. There are a number of lodges and backpackers offering the trails at a cost located in Ezulwini valley. 

Peaking at 1110m, the “granite breasts” are located at a site that was once occupied by the Bushmen. The site is also the location of some Swazi Royal graves giving it historical significance. Ancient stories are often told how this magnificent peak acquired its name –including tales of locals suspected of witchcraft or criminals who were forced to walk off the edge at spear-point for their crimes. Documentation about the breasts is scanty but the trails themselves are a marvel and the views from the peak are breath taking. You just see lush green landscapes of undulating valleys with no monstrosities or large sky scrappers to dampen the views. 

Black folks in my home country, my friends have accused me of having “white tendencies” when i invite them for a trail up to the “granite breasts”. They cite my love for trails and hiking as typical coconut behaviour. “Coconut” being black by skin colour and white in terms of character and outlook. Demeaning might i add but thats the order of life. A picnic with your significant other at the top of the mountain isnt a ridiculous idea. I prefer wine as it takes the edge off from all the climbing and sweetens my mood. A bottle of Sauvignon blanc after all that walking is pure heaven. 

The “granite breasts” are also full of mysteries. Rumour has it that even cheating wives threw themselves over the cliff to avoid being speared by angry husbands. Tales of forbidden crimes and adultery strive when one speaks of the breasts. I would love to go back in history and document all the tales of adultery and executions that took place at the site.  Indulge myself in the dark side of tourism. Explore historical executions, witchcraft, adultery and theft, the other side of humanity.  

Ever stopped and wondered how many landmark sites exist in your own country and you have never heard of them? What could be the reason for that? Lack of information, poor marketing by the tourism authorities, no political will from the political leaders to celebrate the history of your country, poor cirriculum in schools that does not celebrate the history of your country? 

Based on my own countrys experience, our politicians are douchebags who have no idea what is tourism and how to market a country. They keep on slashing the budgets for those entrusted to promote our country so as to spend on nice lavish cars and homes. We have around 30 sites that are listed but no preservation law to ensure the sites are not tampered or destroyed.

So anytime you bump or happen to pass Swaziland, do check out Shebas breasts…..

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