Ngwenya Glassworks

Ngwenya Glassworks

The Ngwenya village, named after the crocodile shaped mountain range which encircles the kingdom of Swaziland, gets its name from the Siswati word for Crocodile, "Ngwenya". The village is also the location of the famous Ngwenya Glassworks and craft complex, and the world's oldest known mine, the Ngwenya Mine. The glassworks were established in 1979 as a Swedish Aid project, and saw the factory being built and its machinery and equipment all being imported. The Swedes employed and trained a few of the locals in the art of glassblowing, and two of the the most talented craftsmen were sent to Sweden to the Kosta Boda glassworks to learn from some of the best glassblowers in the world.

From 1981 to its closure in 1985, the factory was run entirely by Swazi's. In 1987, Ngwenya Glassworks was re-opened under the ownership of Swazi Glass elephant collector Chas Prettejohn who lived in the Eastern Cape. After a few months production was started with four of the former employees including Sibusiso Mhlanga, the master glassblower. Ngwenya Glass now employs seventy people, including two of the original Swedish-trained blowers. Sibusiso has returned to Sweden on several occasions in recent years to work again with some of the world's leading glassblowers, and now provides training to the new apprentices at the factory.

At the glassworks a group of local Swazi craftsmen practice an age old art, producing a magnificent rnage from recycled glass. The Ngwenya Glassworks not only encourages the community to gather and recycle glass, but also conduct clean up campaigns, and works with school groups raising awareness about various environmental issues.

Those who visit the glassworks are provided with the interesting opportunity of viewing the glassblowing from an overhead viewing gallery. From here, visitors can witness the glass being melted, formed and polished, and experience a little of the heat associated with the process. Ngwenya Glassworks also features a small coffee shop, and a large adjoining showroom which serves as a factory shop for visitors who wish to purchase some of the unique pieces produced there. The showroom houses an interesting variety of ornaments which include skilfully crafted elephants, rhino, dolphins and many more animals and birds, plus cups, vases and chess sets, all made from glass. Some of the items produced at Ngwenya Glassworks may be considered too delicate to include in one's flight luggage, but a range of heavier pieces are also available.

In addition to glass, other crafts at the complex include a wide selection of rocking horses and the tall wooden giraffes that are typical of Swaziland. The factory has also produced custom made light fittings and tableware commissioned by some of the finest hotels in South Africa. Due to the success of the operation, Ngwenya Glass has expanded into South Africa, and opened a sister factory in Johannesburg called Shades of Ngwenya. In 1996 the first Ngwenya Glass Boutique was opened in the exclusive V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. For more information call 0865305452.

Accommodation Near Ngwenya Glassworks

Red Berry B&B

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Mbabane

22.9km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

Visiting The Kingdom of Swaziland? Join us at the Red Berry Bed and Breakfast. Set within a secure Estate overlooking the magnificent Sibebe Rock and Pine Valley, you will find an ideal place to overnight...

Mountain Inn Hotel

Hotel / Boutique Hotel Accommodation in Mbabane

26.7km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

Mountain Inn is the executive and diplomat's choice for comfort, convenience and information networking. Swaziland's most personal hotel-situated only 4kms from Mbabane center - is a professional, yet family run establishment.

Sleeps: 28 in 15 units/rooms

Eden Guest House

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Mbabane

27.4km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

The name Eden, aptly named, is a complete private home. This exquisite guesthouse is set in a beautiful secluded garden. Our tranquil setting provides relaxation for our guests.

The Royal Villas

Hotel / Boutique Hotel Accommodation in Ezulwini Valley

34.6km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

The Royal Villas Swaziland offers award winning accommodation, conference facilities and fine cuisine all year round.

Sleeps: 45 in 9 units/rooms

Buhleni Farm Chalets

Self Catering House, Cottage, Chalet Accommodation in Ezulwini Valley

36.8km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

Tucked away on a bushveld fruit farm not even 5 minutes from the center of Ezulwini Valley, out of sight and away from the sounds of this travellers hub, is Buhleni Farm. The 12 self-catering well-appointed wooden chalets are set amidst lush, ...

In the Woods

Bed & Breakfast Accommodation in Mhlambanyatsi

37.3km South of Ngwenya Glassworks

The guest house is comprised of 13 individually furnished units, each unit has an en-suite bathroom. Each unit has access from outside and is tastefully decorated in a shabby chic French style, the units have 32 inch TVs with DSTV and a limited bouquet. T

Cussonia Private Game Ranch

Self Catering House, Cottage, Chalet Accommodation in Nelspruit

47.1km North of Ngwenya Glassworks

Tranquil and safe bush camp in the Lowveld. Rustic self-catering camp sleeps 18 people on a 400Ha Game farm.

Sleeps: 56 in 28 units/rooms

Summerfield Botanical Garden Hotel

Hotel / Boutique Hotel Accommodation in Manzini

48.7km South East of Ngwenya Glassworks

Accommodation at Summerfield Luxury Hotel & Botanical Garden is as luxurious, tasteful, refreshing and tranquil as you can expect from a five-star establishment.