There are so many highlights in this fascinating country that it is impossible to list them all here. Our travel consultants will discuss your interests and be able to put a specific itinerary together for you, but below are a few must see’s!
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane is Eswatini’s best-known nature reserve. It was here in 1961 that Ted Reilly – whose father had settled at the property in 1906 – first took action to save what remained of the kingdom’s wildlife, converting it into a sanctuary and rounding up animals from elsewhere around the country before they were hunted out. Although Big Game Parks – the independent conservation trust that Reilly subsequently founded – has since acquired the management of the more substantial reserves of Hlane and Mkhaya, Mlilwane remains its spiritual home.
Ezulwini Valley is the Kingdom’s main tourist area offering a wealth of attractions. Ezulwini means ‘place of heaven’, and the picturesque valley that bears this name certainly provides its share of hedonistic delights. This is where tourism in Swaziland began, and today its attractions include hotels, restaurants, hot springs, casinos, craft markets, art galleries, riding stables, a nature reserve, a golf course and a cultural village. Most visitors pass this way, and those who spend just one night in the kingdom will probably spend it here. Ezulwini Valley lies directly south-east of Mbabane, extending from the bottom of the Malagwane Hill to Lobamba, and runs parallel with the MR3 highway from Mbabane to Manzini. It is flanked to the west by the craggy Luphohlo/Lugogo mountains and the east by the sacred Mdzimba mountains.
Malolotja Nature Reserve
Malolotja is one of the very best highland reserves in southern Africa, its 18,000ha wilderness of high rolling hills and deep forested river gorges offering a genuine wilderness in which hikers can lose themselves for days. The Malolotja river rises in the reserve, plunging over the 95m Malolotja Falls on its way to the Nkomati river, which cuts east towards the Indian Ocean. The rocks beneath Malolotja are among the oldest in the world – some, known as the Swaziland Supergroup, having been laid down as ocean sediment over 3.5 billion years ago, before metamorphosing under heat and pressure into the shales and quartzites we see today. The reserve entrance is just a 30-minute drive from either Mbabane or Piggs Peak. Visitors can stay at the campsite or in self-catering log cabins. Alternatively, they can stay in traditional beehive chalets – complete with modern interiors – at the nearby Hawane resort, which runs activities into and around the reserve, including horse-riding. A small dam at Hawane is good for bird watching and fishing.