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Swaziland

A country that through culture, heritage, breath-taking nature, African wildlife including the Big 5 and her friendly people is definitely worth a visit!

This country borders South Africa on 3 sides and borders Mozambique on the eastern side. On the east side of the country you will find the Lubombo Mountains. Swaziland and also the people are named after the King of the 19th century; King Mswati II. The language they speak is Swati (one original Bantu language spoken by the Nguni tribe), but also Zulu and Tsonga are official languages ​​ here, English is the second language of Swaziland.

So it is not just a country but a kingdom and also the smallest country in the southern hemisphere. It is 200 km from north to south and 130 km from east to west. Inside is rich unique and traditional customs.

Swaziland has a diverse landscape and the mountains to the east turns into savannahs in the west. And in the northwest, you will find a rainforest. Beautiful rivers provide humans and animals with cool water. The Lubombo Mountains are crossed 3 times by three rivers, the Ngwavuma, the Usutu and the Mbuluzi River.

The western side where the average height is 1200 meters, Mbane is located in the Highveld where the nature is characterized by mountains and rivers. The Middleveld of Swaziland is the area which is most populated and there is therefore Manzini, the main industrial and commercial city in the country.

The landscape is interrupted by traditional homes that you encounter everywhere here, called Beehive huts. Round mud huts with grass roofs. We have several trips involving an overnight stay in such a traditional house on the program. You will also see that polygamy in the Swazi culture is not strange, but that all women have their own house and yard. Between the houses are cattle and that gives the prosperity of the family. Perhaps you will visit a cultural village and introduce yourelf to the Sangoma 'traditional healer and Inyanya the 'herbalist' of a tribe / village.

Swaziland is famous for its handicrafts and especially the beautiful baskets, as well as glassware, sculptures and carvings admired by many.

Swaziland has places where you can take beautiful safaris, by foot or by 4x4. It is the place to come to see the black and white rhino, but also lots of other animals like lions, leopards, buffalo, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and much more African wildlife reside in these villages. Like many beautiful birds flora and fauna lovers will certainly get their money's worth.

Nature reserves that you can visit are: Mlawula Nature Reserve, Hlane Royal National Park, Mkhaya Game Reserve, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Ezulwini Valley, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mbuluzi Game Reserve.

Festivals in Swaziland
The Incwala is a ceremony to be held on the fourth day of the full moon closest to longest day of the year, December 21! It is the celebration of the first harvest and is celebrated only when there is a king. This ceremony will involve "tasting the first fruits," as that should be done by the King. But the entire population celebrates the feast days of which the highlight is on the 4th day.

Another great party which is much better known is the annual Reed Dance festival. It is an eight-day ceremony, where girls wear cane cut skirts and dance for the Queen. A festival which takes place between late August and early September and which only childless unmarried girls can come to dance to be admitted in the service of the King.

Climate
The climate is temperate in the west, but temperatures can reach 40°C here in the summer. Rainfall and thunderstorms are mainly during the summer and is a refreshing coolness.

Average temperatures measured in Mbabane:

Spring

September - October

18 °C

Summer

November - March

20 °C

Autumn

April - May

17 °C

Winter

June - August

13 °C

If you have not booked a long stay in Swaziland you can see it in transit and there are 2 beautiful routes through the country. It is a very good combination if you go to the Kruger Park to KwaZulu-Natal.

The eastern route
The fastest route is the eastern route. This leads from Komatipoort on the R 571 to the border post of Mananga (open daily from 08:00 to 18:00). From here you drive south east towards Simuye. You can choose from two nature reserves: The Mlawula Nature Reserve which stretches from the Lowveld to the Lebombo Mountains. You will find lots of antelope species here, but you can also encounter the white rhino. Hikers find tranquillity and idyllic nature with unique vegetation in the Lubombo Iron Woods. Hlane Royal National Park in the west is also very special and interesting. With an area of ​​30 000 ha this is the biggest game park in the country.

The eastern route goes along the Lebombo Mountains to Big Bend, a sleepy village on the Lusutfu River. Maybe you still have time to make a short trip to the small Mkhaya Game Reserve, located on the road to Manzini. You cannot drive around with your own vehicle and have to make use of the open Land Rover with a Swazi guide leading you around.

The border post Lavumisa (Golela called on the South African side) is about 70 kilometres from Big Bend and is open from 07:00 to 22:00.

The western route
The western route takes you through the greatest diversity of Swaziland.

The route begins at the R 570 along the Malelane Gate of the Kruger National Park and goes towards Magoneni to the Matsamo border post, which is open daily from 07:00 until 22:00.

From here you drive to Pigg's Peak via an attractive landscape of wooded hills. The Phophonyane Falls are a spectacular sight in the nature park of the same name, near Pigg's Peak. The park offers swimming at some beautiful rock pools. Further south beyond the Maguga Dam, you reach the Malolotja Nature Reserve after 50 kilometres.

This covers an area of ​​18000 hectares of Highveld and Middleveld with hills and mountains between 600 and 1900 meters. It is best to explore this spectacular area on foot with good hiking boots. There is about 200km of hiking trails.

After a few kilometres south Mbabane appears. The capital of this country is situated in a picturesque valley. It is a modern city with good shopping oppertunities. South of the city extends the attractive Ezulwini Valley. This "Heavenly Valley" is home to the royal family as well as the parliament and the government. It has become the main tourist centre of Swaziland with hotels, restaurants, curios stalls, nightclubs and even a casino.

The Royal residence is located in Lobamba which is open to visit during ceremonies such as Incwala festival or the Umhlanga Reed Dance. The Swaziland National Museum is also located in Lomamba. The museum gives a good impression of the culture of the Swazi and to complete the picture you can also visit the nearby Swaziland Cultural Village. You can visit the traditional huts and get information about the polygamy which is common among the Swazi. For nature lovers, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary will be interesting. It is not huge but offers fantastic African savannah landscape, with lots of wildlife and a dam with hippos and crocodiles. The Mahamba border post in the south west of the country about 150 kilometres from Ezulwini Valley and is open from 07:00 to 22:00.

From 1 February the holiday bed Levy of R7.50 per bed per night

Your  holiday begins at South Africa Specialist.