Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini offers a fascinating cultural & wildlife experience. Buy basketware, colourful fabrics and carvings in friendly markets. Enjoy game-viewing in the scenic Mlilwane or Hlane game reserves or some adventure activities such as white water rafting, rhino tracking on foot or horse-riding.
The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is almost surrounded by South Africa. If you are taking a tour from the Kruger to KwaZulu Natal, you may opt to travel through this mountainous country. Enjoy its gentle undulating landscape dotted with Swazi villages. Or take in some game viewing at the scenic Mkhaya and Mlilwane game reserves. Eswatini also offers a fascinating cultural experience.
Though it is a small country, Eswatini has several ecological zones. From rain forest in the northwest to savanna grassland in the dry eastern parts. The western edge of the kingdom is heavily forested with deep gorges, lush valleys, and fast flowing rivers and waterfalls. But from Mbabane, you descend to the grassland plateau containing many tropical fruit farms. And here is where the majority of people live.
The Swazis have a well-developed sense of their own culture. And they are open-minded and friendly in their outlook. They are renowned craftsmen and women. So you may like to buy some of their basket ware, colourful fabrics, carvings and Mother of Pearl in various markets and roadside stalls. Or visit some of their best exporters such as Ngwenga Glass or Baobab Batiks.
Despite being the smallest country in the Southern hemisphere, Eswatini (Swaziland) more than makes up for this with a diverse range of attractions and activities. The adventurous may like to try white-water rafting in season. Or why not enjoy a laid-back round of golf or some mountain biking. And you can take a game drive, guided bush walk or a gentle horse-ride in Mlilwane Game Reserve?
We recommend a two night stay in Eswatini. A one night stay is functional. But it doesn’t give you much time to relax, as the driving is fairly slow. (You drive through many villages with many of pedestrians walking by the road.) We recommend one of the lodges in the Ezulwini valley. One of the best is the slightly time-warped Reilly’s Rock Lodge, with its sense of colonial history and tranquil ambience.
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