Sibebe Survivor

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Sibebe Survivor
LocationMbuluzi, Swaziland


26°09′15″S 31°06′06″E / 26.154098°S 31.101722°E / -26.154098; 31.101722
Event typescenic walk/run

Sibebe Survivor is a famous annual hike in Mbuluzi, Swaziland,[1] involving a climb to the top of Sibebe, the world's second largest single granite monolith. Initiated by the Rotary Club of Mbabane-Mbuluzi in July 2004, the Sibebe Survivor hike follows a course from Mbuluzi High School to the top of the rock and back. The number of participants has increased annually, with almost 3,300 climbers in 2011. Due to growing interest in the event, a website[2] has been created for online registration to avoid long queues on registration day.

People from all around the world are motivated to join in the annual climb of Sibebe Rock, which is always scheduled for the last Sunday in July. In 2012, the climb was even undertaken by an amputee using his wheelchair and crutches. In 2011, the event raised over 501 thousand Emalangeni (Swazi currency), equivalent to approximately 50,000 Euros. Participants are required to carry at least 1 litre of water, which is supplied at the start of the hike. The Rotary Club also provides a pre-hike breakfast and presents participants with certificates and prizes afterwards.

Details of the event[edit]

Thousands of participants walk up to Sibebe Rock

"Sibebe Rock", an 800-meter-high monolith in Swaziland, is the second largest exposed monolith in the world (after Ayers Rock in central Australia).[3]

The Sibebe Survivor walk is a 10 km walk that starts from Mbuluzi High School, where participants can park their cars. Hikers climb the rock in an average time of 3 or 4 hours. Though Sibebe Survivor is a race, most of the participants just come to enjoy the views from Sibebe Rock and help people in need. The funds raised by the event are used to finance Rotary Foundation projects such as the distribution of wheelchairs and support for government hospitals. There is no cash reward for the winner of the race. The number of participants has gradually increased since the event was first held in July 2004. Whereas 1,500 hikers made the climb in 2008,[4] the 2011 event drew 3,284 hikers.[5] In 2012, the Rotary club limited the number of participants to a maximum of 4,000 people in order to limit the event's impact on the environment.

Sibebe Survivor is not only a walk but a popular social event in Swaziland. Some activities are prepared before the run, such as parties in restaurants and clubs. For example, in 2011, the event featured an African night[6] at the Greans Restaurant where African food was served and people were allowed to compete at playing drums. DJ Toxik provided lively dance music. The many other parties organized in clubs included a Sibebe Survivor Party featuring DJ Cybos at House on Fire.[7] By means of these warm-up parties[8] and Facebook ads, participation in the hike is encouraged.


Location of Sibebe Rock

The Sibebe Survivor event allows many people to discover the remarkable Sibebe Rock, which remains relatively unknown outside of Swaziland due to a decline in foreign tourism in the post-apartheid era. Rising 1,378 meters[9] above sea level, Sibebe Rock is the second largest rock in the world.[10] In Swaziland, it is commonly compared to the Uluru Rock, or Ayers Rock, in Australia. However, the Sibebe rock is much older, having an estimated age of 3 billion years.[11] According to the archaeologist Peter Beaumont, some artifacts discovered in the late 20th century in caves of the Sibebe valley also date from the Middle Ages.[12] The valley has an altitude of 1,400 meters. A unique Swazi beer, Sibebe Lager,[13] has also been named after Sibebe Rock, honoring it as a symbol of Swaziland.[14]


The annual Sibebe Survivor event began in 2004 under the leadership of Dudu Dhlamini of the International Rotary Club of Mbabane-Mbuluzi. His main purpose was to raise money for various community projects in Mbuluzi, Swaziland. For example, they have helped children from Founteyn Primary School[15] to buy school uniforms, financed free eye-testing for Swazi citizens, and donated wheelchairs to people who could not afford them in rural towns.They have also financed projects for deaf people, helped provide scholarships for OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children),[16] and supported causes such as breast cancer.[17]



Anyone can participate in the climb,[18] with hikers ranging in age from children to elderly people. In 2011, the oldest participant was 76 years old.[5] At the end of the event, participants are ranked either by groups or individually. Recognition is given in various categories, such as to the oldest and youngest participants, for cultural distinctions such as “Best National Dress,”,[19] and for the largest team registered by one company.[20]


Sibebe Survivor is sponsored by various companies, each donating some of their products to the Sibebe Survivor Challenge.

  • Money: Nedbank, Swaziland Beverages[21] and Swaziland Electricity company (SEC)[22]
  • Adverts: The Swazi Times, The Swazi Observer and Swazi TV
  • Water and other drinks: Swaziland Beverages, Water Corporation and Sibebe Lager[23]
  • Goody bags: Real Image
  • Food: Fedics
  • Tents: Grand Air Investments
  • T-shirts: Dixies
  • Transport: African Distributors


  1. ^ Swaziland Tourism. "Events/Activities in Swaziland". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  2. ^ Resting, John. "Sibebe Survival - 2012". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Swaziland Tourism Office". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  4. ^ Sibebe Survivor Official Website. "Proceed From 2008". Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b Shabangu, Simon (June 19, 2012). "E115 000 for Sibebe Survivor Challenge". The Swazi Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2013.
  6. ^ Aimienoho, Nokukhanya (29 July 2011). "Exciting month-end!". Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  7. ^ Nhlabatsi, Sifiso (27 July 2011). "DJ Cybos for Sibebe Survivor Party". Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  8. ^ DUBE, Velile (August 1, 2011). "DJ Cybos thrills at Sibebe Challenge warm up party". Swazi Times. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Sibebe Rock". Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  10. ^ Pejstrup, Cecius Larsen (2011). "Swaziland in transition" (PDF). The Interdisciplinary Journal of International Studies. 7 (1): 16. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Sibebe Hiking Trails". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  12. ^ Price-Williams, David (June 1981). The South African Archaeological Bulletin. A Preliminary Report on Recent Excavations of Middle and Late Stone Age Levels at Sibebe Shelter, North-West Swaziland: South African Archaeological Society. pp. 22–28.
  13. ^ pawpawjam. "Sibebe launch at Bushfire 9". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  14. ^ Thorne, Roland. "CLIMB, DRINK AND JIVE SIBEBE!". Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  15. ^ Rotary Club of Mbabane-Mbuluzi. "Fonteyn Primary School". Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  16. ^ Swazi Travel. "Sibebe Survior". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  17. ^ Swazi Trails. "Did you survive Sibebe? Now you can Brave the Breast!". Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  18. ^ Anon. (June 30, 2012). "Sibebe Survivor". Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Prizes". Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  20. ^ Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation. "RSSC the biggest corporate team at Sibebe...again". Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  21. ^ Mbingo, Bodwa (27 July 2012). "SB Come Through For Sibebe Survivor". The Swazi Observer. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  22. ^ Swaziland Electricity Company. "CSI/R ACTUAL SPENDING BY SEC DURING THE 2011/2012 FINANCIAL YEAR". Retrieved 11 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Simelane, Timothy (July 27, 2012). "Sibebe Lager donates E75 000 to Rotary Club". The Swazi Times. Retrieved 27 October 2012.

External links[edit]