The Kingdom of Eswatini, better known as Swaziland, is untouched nature, diverse landscapes and African flavor in all its diversity.
Who travels to Swaziland and why
Those who want to get to know the exotic flora and fauna better should visit the reserves of Swaziland:
- In Mlavula, bird voices do not subside.
- Hlane is the largest reserve where representatives of the cat family settled.
- Malolotsa invites you to take long walks, where rare flowers and plants grow along the hiking trails.
Fans of archeology and ethnology should visit the foot of the Nsangwini cliff covered with ancient drawings, as well as look into the villages of Shevula and Mantenga. Local tribes will introduce their way of life and show a colorful show with songs and dances.
Markets are another attraction in Swaziland. There you can buy handmade products: jewelry, ceramics, decor items made from natural materials and much more.
Once a private royal hunting ground, Hlane is today the largest national park in the kingdom.
Various representatives of the fauna live here. So, lions, tigers, jaguars and other large cats found shelter in the reserve. The team of scientists pays great attention to the conservation of rare species of animals, in particular white and black rhinos.
The reserve, located near the capital Mbabane, is a real oasis of wildlife. Over 200 species of birds live here, including the purple lory parrot, the emblem of the Kingdom of Swaziland. Due to the absence of land predators, populations of hippos, giraffes, antelopes and zebras feel comfortable here.
There are about 30 waterfalls in the reserve. Another attraction is the Nyonyan granite rock, from where in ancient times criminals and those who did not please the king were thrown into the abyss. Nearby you can find samples of ancient rock art, well preserved to this day.
The landscape of the reserve is defined by hills along which several hiking trails have been laid. On a walk, travelers can meet rare birds — more than 280 species of them live here — and see exotic plants, such as mountain orchids and lilies.
The animal world is not inferior to them in diversity. Endemics live here: servals, earthen wolf, black wildebeest and others.
Stunning views, murmuring waterfalls and rivers create a special atmosphere. On the way, comfortable camps for rest are equipped. On the territory of the reserve is the oldest mine in the world.
In addition to natural beauties and animal diversity, this reserve is famous for its medicinal herbs that grow in abundance on the plains and foothills. Healers settled in Muti-Muti, who with the help of plants will cure any ailment — their huts are always open for tourists.
There is no doubt about the professionalism of local doctors. Swaziland is one of the few countries in the world that has public schools for medicine men. At the end of the course, they take an exam and receive a certificate. Such educational institutions are open in the city of Siteki, located on the way to Muti-Muti.
The natural park is located at the foot of the Lebombo mountain range. Contrasting landscape zones replace each other. Savannah, dense impenetrable jungles, valleys and mountain forests have created a fertile environment for a variety of animals to live. These are hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, antelopes, hyenas — more than 60 species of fauna in total. In Mlavula, the chirping of birds is always heard, it is created by over 350 species of birds.
In addition to nature lovers, archaeologists often visit here. Within the boundaries of the park, traces of the presence of prehistoric man were found: ancient sites, rock paintings, and so on.
The colorful settlement of Shevula on the territory of the reserve of the same name invites you to get acquainted with the life and customs of the natives.
Tourists are expected in reed huts, treated to local cuisine, colorful shows with songs and dances. The costumes of the performance participants impress with their originality. If you have money and desire, you can live in the village for a few days.
Known as the Royal Valley, Ezulwini is considered the epicenter of cultural life and entertainment in Swaziland.
Here is the city of Lobamba with casinos, hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, museums and other tourist attributes. It also houses the royal palace of Embo Royal, where Mswati III lives, and the residence of the Queen Mother Ndlovukazi.
The ethnographic village is part of the Mantenga Natural Park. The people of the Swazi people live in it. Here, in addition to traditional houses made of straw and clay, there is a small exposition dedicated to the culture of this African tribe.
Several times a day, tourists are shown shows with songs and dances. There is a souvenir shop in the village. Lovely trinkets are made here by skilled craftsmen.
Great Usutu River
The waterway meanders between high mountains and makes its way along the steep banks, overgrown with jungle, offering passengers of large and small boats breathtaking scenery.
The most daring prefer rafting to a comfortable deck. The length of the shortest route is 4 km, the longest is 15 km. Seething rapids and stone barriers do not stop the daredevils.
Sibebe Rock, located about 10 km from Mbabane, holds two records at once. It is the largest plutonic mass in the world, formed during the eruption, and the second largest granite monolith in the world.
The height of the giant is 350 m, several paths lead to its top. Self-ascent is not recommended — it is better to use the services of a guide.
In the valley of the river Komati there is a rock Nsangvini with rock paintings of ancient people. Scientists believe that they were made about 3,000 years ago. Images of animals and hunting scenes do not raise questions, but the figurines of people with wings have given rise to many hypotheses.
The shape of the rock and natural relief reliably protect the drawings from wind and rain, which is why they are so well preserved to this day.
Mantenga is the largest waterfall in Swaziland, located in the reserve of the same name. Two paths lead to it.
The main one is intended for the main tourist flow and provides an opportunity to admire the water giant from a distance. The secret one leads to the very top — there is an observation deck hanging over the waterfall. Hearing the roar of water and feeling the cold splashes on your skin is an indescribable feeling.
National Museum in Lobamba
The museum introduces the life, culture and animal diversity of the country. A detailed examination of all the expositions will take no more than an hour.
There are several village houses in the courtyard of the museum. Modern remodels are made using traditional technologies from natural materials. Inside the building exhibited archaeological finds, ceramics, weapons, national costumes and stuffed animals that live in the parks of Swaziland.
Yebo Art Gallery
The small gallery features paintings and contemporary art made by African artists. Each exhibit bears the imprint of the culture and identity of the Swazis. The gallery has a souvenir shop that sells handmade items designed in the style of the exhibits.
Not far from the capital Mbabane lies the oldest mine in the world, whose age exceeds 40 thousand years. Stone Age people mined ocher here, which was used for cosmetic purposes and for rock paintings. Approximately 400 years BC. The Bantu tribe settled on the territory of modern Swaziland. It has learned to smelt ore from rock.
During excavations that began in the 1960s, scientists discovered tools and ceramics. Now next to the mine is a museum with archaeological finds, photographs and other artifacts associated with this place.
Swazi Candles Craft Market
The market is located in the city of Malkerns, in the south of the country. There are open-air pavilions and tents selling souvenirs and handicrafts: woodcarving, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, masks, and more.
The main place on the shelves is occupied by handmade candles — the pride of Swaziland. Multi-colored, in the form of animals, flowers, fruits, with bright patterns, they are in great demand among tourists.
The best way to experience the colorful atmosphere of Swaziland is to visit the Manzini market. At the entrance, the stalls are bursting with an abundance of vegetables and fruits, a little further there are impromptu open-air cafes. Daring tourists with a hardened stomach can take the risk of tasting the local delicacies.
In the depths of the market they sell souvenirs and consumer goods. Manzini is a place where everything you need for an ordinary Swazilander is sold and bought.
The unique workshop was founded in 1985 in Pigs Peak to help rural women achieve financial independence.
Today, over a thousand representatives of the fair sex work in the artel. They make baskets, decor and interior items, jewelry from silver and natural materials by hand. All this splendor can be bought at a local store. A small bonus for customers is an open-air restaurant with a stunning view.