A convoy of over 50 Classic cars dating back to the 1940’s paraded through the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) this month for the 3rd edition of the GALP Classic Car Rally. Never to be missed for the vintage automobile enthusiast, the GALP classic car rally is an annual event where classic vintage cars compete on a three-day rally that begins in the Republic of South Africa, through Eswatini and ends in Mozambique.
As the cavalcade drove into the country through the Ngwenya Border Post on Saturday, the area came alive as locals and tourists admired the vintage cars while filling at the nearby GALP Filling Station. There was an air of camaraderie as music played from a mobile-studio type vehicle that accompanied the procession. The Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs welcomed the drivers, who drove in pairs, into the beautiful kingdom, assuring them a ‘royal experience’.
As the procession drove spectacularly towards the capital city Mbabane, motorists sounded their horns in admiration, while others stopped to capture the presentation on camera.
On Sunday, the second day, the rally attracted a lot of spectators. Many trooped to Ezulwini’s Corner Plaza, where these ancient wonders were on display. An ecstatic Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) Chief Executive Offer Linda Nxumalo expressed that the rally hit “two birds with one stone”, a big attraction for inbound tourists in that it brought visitors from South Africa and Mozambique, while also impacting domestic tourism, as Emaswati came out in large numbers to view the show. Some of the local people had lunch and did their shop at the Corner Plaza and surrounding places while viewing the vintage cars.
There were different models of vintage cars, but the most dominating manufacturer was Porsche. Enthusiasts posed in front of their favourite cars, taking pictures of them and selfies with them. The car that drew more admirers was the ‘International Yellow Bakkie’ which was made in 1942. Some of the drivers claimed to use their car on a daily basis, while others kept them in garages for special events such as the GALP Classic Rally. There were even new models, as some drivers explained that they had attended the rally just for the fun of it.
After the display at Corner Plaza, the drivers went to witness the wonderful culture of Eswatini at the Mantenga Cultural Village, where they enjoyed performances of the various traditional dances and singing. The classic drivers later had dinner with local and african cuisine.
The event ended with a presentation of awards such as ‘the oldest car’, ‘the driver that came a long way’, ‘the first to register for the challenge’, ‘the car with the most fans’, ‘the slowest’ and ‘the car that consumed the most fuel’, among other categories.
The event was sponsored by GALP, Eswatini National Trust Commission, Karcher and Restaurant Laurentina, who served lunch to the drivers during the viewing time.