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Swaziland

Despite being the smallest country in the Southern hemisphere, Swaziland more than makes up for its lack of size with a hugely diverse range of attractions and activities. As one of the few remaining Executive Monarchies in Africa, culture and heritage are deeply engrained in all aspects of Swazi life, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who visit. As well as the rich culture, the overwhelming friendliness of the people makes all visitors feel truly welcome and very safe. Add to that a stunning landscapes of mountains and valleys, forests and plains; plus wildlife reserves across the country that are home to The Big Five, and you have all that’s best about Africa in one small but perfectly formed and welcoming country.

It is Swaziland’s variety of attractions in its small area that is its greatest asset. It is the mixture of beautiful landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and rich culture that combine to make this small country such a wonderful place to visit. To give Swaziland the justice it deserves, you really need more than the one or two nights that visitors in transit find themselves with as they are whisked through to their next destination. Swaziland has so much to offer and tourists can benefit greatly from the fact that, with it being so small, every major attraction can be found within just two hours of Mbabane, the Ezulwini Valley or Manzini. Whilst you can tick off plenty of the ‘must-see’ attractions in a couple of days, a longer time is really needed to give both these magical experiences, and Swaziland, justice.

Bordering Mozambique, in the southeast of Africa, the lush and mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland is Africa's last absolute monarchy. This small but scenically beautiful country of emerald peaks, rivers, ravines, rolling valleys, and waterfalls is a hiker's eden. Nature reserves are the top attraction here, and though only a few host Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino), all of them offer an intimate game-viewing experience, lush mountain scenery, and a rich diversity of species. Swaziland also proudly preserves its fascinating culture, customs, and festivals. Travelers are welcome to watch some of the festivities of Incwala, an impressive three-week kingship ritual in December and January, and, Umhlanga, the lively Reed Dance ceremony, which takes place during the last week of August or first week of September.

The largest of Swaziland's game reserves, Hlane Royal National Park is home to the Big 5. Hlane, which means "wilderness" in the SiSwati language, is a tranquil destination that, because of its comparative size to parks in neighbouring South Africa, enjoys excellent wildlife sightings. For nature lovers, this should be at the top of your list of things to do in Swaziland.

 

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Interesting Places to Visit

 

Ngwenya Glass and Swazi Candle:

Swaziland is famous for its excellent craftsmen, and is home to several craft markets and shopping attractions. Visit Ngwenya Glass, which is regarded as Africa's most prestigious glass factory. While Ngwenya pieces can be found in art galleries and airport shops around the world, you can pick up signature works here at wholesale prices and have them shipped internationally. You can also watch the glass blowing process from a viewing platform above the workshop.

For batik prints, jewellery and carved masks, visit the Swazi Candles Craft Market. Here you will enjoy one of the most popular things to do in Swaziland while stocking up on gifts for friends and family at home.

 

Swaziland's Sibebe Rock:

Visit Swaziland's Sibebe Rock, the second-largest exposed granite dome in the world (after Uluru in Australia). Over three billion years old, this is one of Swaziland's most surprising natural attractions, yet doesn't suffer from overcrowding. If you have between two and four hours to spare, opt for a guided hike to the top. This is one of the most rewarding Swaziland tourist attractions that promises views to remember for a lifetime.

 

Umphakati Experience and Nisela Natures Reserve:

The "Umphakati Cultural Village" located in the lush Mantenga Falls Nature Reserve, offers visitors a chance to experience traditional singing and dancing. Here you can tour a Swazi hut village from the 1850s and learn about traditional Swazi diet, customs, and family structure. Be sure to take a walk to the Nisela Natures Reserve and nearby Mantenga Waterfall.

 

The Mbuluzi Game Reserve

The Mbuluzi Game Reserve in Swaziland is a private conservancy at the foothills of the Lubombo Mountains. Explore the well-marked hiking trails to discover rocky outcrops, dense forests and marshy riverbanks, all home to abundant herds of antelope and over 300 bird species.

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