A Royal Experience
In April 2018 the King Mswati III of Swaziland took the decision to resurrect the country’s Swati name, Eswatini and so the new name was born.
Eswatini has the last monarchy in Africa with both the king and his mother in charge of all that takes place in the country.
This friendly Southern African country boasts many attractions in terms of game reserves, busy cities, a cultural heritage, a love of all things dance and a superb arts and crafts industry.
One of the countries greatest treasures is its wildlife and in particular its focus on the protection of the Rhino. The country borders with the Kriger National Park and has for itself the Mkhaya Game Reserve where Rhino dominate the many attractions.
Quite simply the best way to travel in Eswatini is by road with bus tending to be the best options with services between all the main towns.
Whilst you can hire a car for yourself it is not the easiest country to drive so the advice is to stick to the public bus transport or private tours that can be arranged in advance or in resort.
Eswatini's Top Attractions
Hlane Royal National Park
The Hlane (“Wilderness”) Game Sanctuary is home lion, elephant, and rhino as well as a large bird population including vultures. Activities here include guided mountain biking, cultural visits to a nearby Swazi village, birding walks, and overnight fully-catered bush treks.
Mbuluzi Game Reserve
On the shores of the Mlawula River you can witness a wide selection of animals including giraffe, zebra, kudu, jackal, wildebeest, and nyala during the day and possibly hyena, genets, servals, and honey badgers during the night.
In the beautiful Ezulwini valley (the Valley of Heaven), Lobamba is Swaziland’s spiritual and cultural centre. also home to Swaziland’s monarchy, as well as its most important buildings.
Swazi Market, Mbabane
Mbabane, Swaziland’s cool-climate capital, is home to the Swazi Market for fresh produce, pottery, hand-made baskets, masks, traditional fabrics, soapstone carvings, and beaded jewelry.
A pleasant excursion from Mbabane is a trip up beautiful Pine Valley to the north of the town. The route follows the Umbeluzi River, passing a number of waterfalls. This is great walking and riding country, with agreeable temperatures, even in summer.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
In the lovely Ezulwini Valley, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Swaziland’s first conservation areas and its most popular game reserve. The sanctuary offers plenty of activities including game drives, nature walks, mountain biking, horseback rides, a village cultural experience, and swimming in the rest camp’s pool.
Malolotja Nature Reserve & Phophonyane Falls Nature Reserve
In northwest Swaziland, the 18,000-hectare Malolotja Nature Reserve is the largest protected area in the country. With waterfalls, wetlands, forest this makes for excellent hiking trails to spot wildlife and fauna.
Mlawula Nature Reserve
Landscapes here range from dry savannah to rolling green valleys and dense riverine forests, with mountains rising south to north along the Mozambique border. Due to the contrasting ecological zones, wildlife is varied and includes 60 species of small and large animals such as wildebeest, kudu, impala, and tortoises, as well as 350 species of birds, many insects, and an impressive array of plants.
In the picturesque Ezulwini Valley, Mantenga Nature Reserve offers a fun taste of Swazi nature and culture. A highlight of the reserve is the stunning Mantenga Falls,
Set in beautiful gardens, the small and modest National Museum in Lobamba hosts fascinating exhibits on the history, culture, and nature of Swaziland.
Mkhaya Game Reserve
About a 40-minute drive south of Hlane Royal National Park, Mkhaya Game Reserve was established to protect endangered species, including white and black rhino. The park also protects buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, and many birds.
Shewula Mountain Camp
Swaziland’s first ecotourism project, opened in 2000. Top choices include guided cultural visits to the local village, where you can interact with residents and learn about their daily life. There is also a chance to meet with a Swazi traditional healer known as a Sangoma. Other choices include catching a dance performance, going mountain biking, or hiking down to the Mbuluzi River and gorge.