Welcome to Swaziland!
Lively & Colourful Traditions
Swaziland has officially changed its name to Eswatini. The change comes after King Mswati III made the announcement at the country’s celebration of its 50th year of independence in April 2018.
Sandwiched between South Africa and Mozambique, it more than makes up for its lack of size, with a hugely diverse range of attractions and activities.
In this tiny mountainous country, African culture and traditions flourish alongside modern luxury hotels and excellent wildlife reserves across the country that are home to The Big 5.
This intriguing Kingdom boasts some of the best adrenaline-boosting activities, local culture and Big Game viewing, that you can see during Swaziland tours.
USEFUL TRAVEL INFO
Best time to visit
A year-round treat, but the best time for wildlife viewing is from May to September, when dry winter conditions bring animals to the water holes.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. The plug type used is a 15-amp round, three-pin plug as used in South Africa.
The official languages are Siswati and English.
The official currency is the Lilangeni (SZL), plural Emalangeni. The South African Rand is also accepted as legal tender. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Visa ATM machines are available in the main towns.
The country is covered by a GSM 900 mobile network, and an Internet service provider is active. Public telephones are well distributed through the towns and villages.
Health & Safety
Travellers arriving in Eswatini within six days of having been in a yellow fever infected area require a vaccination certificate. Hepatitis A, rabies, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended, as are malaria prevention measures for those visiting the lowland areas. Bilharzia exists in some rivers, and cholera outbreaks do occur. Main water and food, including dairy products, present no risk. Medical facilities are poor in the country, but the hotels offer private services for minor problems. Serious cases can be transported to South Africa for treatment. Medical insurance is recommended.
The crime rate is low, and most visits are trouble free. It is wise, however, to take precautions.
Visa & Passports
No visas are required, for touristic or business-related stays of up to 30 days for USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South African Nationals.
All visitors require a passport, tickets and documents for return or onward travel, and sufficient funds to cover the stay. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after intended date of departure.
Airports in Eswatini
- King Mswati III (SHO)
The airport is situated 51 km (31 miles) north west of Manzini.
TOP REASONS TO VISIT
People & Culture
A tiny country with a big heart and warm, friendly people. Visitors can get a better idea of traditional African culture here than pretty much anywhere else in the region, and what is seen, including spectacular festivals and energetic dances, has not simply been resuscitated for the tourist dollar but is the real deal. The famous Umhlanga (Reed Dance) and Incwala are traditional ceremonies that involve tens of thousands of Swazis, and attract visitors from all over the world for Swaziland tours. But traditional attire, ceremonies and dancing are to be found throughout the country most times of the year.
Swaziland tours: wildlife
There are some 17 protected areas which are home to a wide range of species, including the sought after Big 5. As well as being one of the best places on the continent for Black and White Rhino safaris (on foot as well as by 4×4). Eswatini is also the perfect place to get to grips with many smaller creatures often overlooked on safari elsewhere, and it is a bird-watcher’s paradise.
Magnificent mountain scenery with rivers, waterfalls and gorges; unique rock formations which are among the world’s most ancient; lush and fertile valleys as well as typical African bush.
Arts & Crafts
See an impressive range of traditional arts and crafts with many of its products now found in trendy ethnic boutiques around the world. Creative basket ware in vibrant colours, wood and stone carvings, glassware, exquisite candles, batik items and jewellery are all uniquely Swazi. There is also a chance to see the craftspeople at work and marvel at their intricate skills. Many are socially responsible outlets which provide both income and empowerment for the poor rural communities.
Top Adventure Activities
WHERE TO GO
A small country, Swaziland is well-known for its wilderness reserves, the Lebombo Mountains backdrop and festivals displaying the Swazi culture. Rich with diverse wildlife including lions, elephants and hippos at the Hlane Royal National Park, the Mlawula Nature Reserve offers plenty of hiking trails. Our luxury Swaziland tour packages can help you experience everything this country has to offer.
Set in the lovely craggy Dlangeni Hills, Eswatini’s capital and second-largest city, Mbabane is a relaxed and functional place perched in the cool highveld. There’s a handful of good restaurants and places to stay.
Ezulwini and Malkerns Valleys
Ezulwini is The Kingdom’s main area for Swaziland tours, offering a wealth of attractions such as hotels, restaurants, hot springs, casinos, a cinema, craft markets, art galleries, riding stables, a nature reserve, a golf course and a cultural village.
Along the old main road from Matsapha, you will arrive at Mahlanya, a large fruit and vegetable market on the right. The road to the left leads to the rural town of Malkerns, which lies in a lush and beautiful valley of fertile farmland where sugarcane and pineapples grow, with views of distant mountains. This seemingly sleepy area belies its vibrancy and there is much to attract both tourists and local residents.
There are wonderful craft shops, including outlets selling locally made decorative candles, basket ware and batik work. The funky House on Fire provides the night life with a diversity of entertainment in theatre and music and there are several quality guest houses if you want to stay in the area and drink in the atmosphere.
It really is worth setting aside few hours to explore the Malkerns area. A few hundred metres along the road from Mahlanya to Malkerns is the distinctive and vibrant Malandela’s Centre on the right. Within this complex a wealth of attractions await you. This is a uniquely creative venue in the heart of the Kingdom offering experiences that inspire the imagination and refresh the spirit. The centre offers everything from quality food and great shopping to a world-class entertainment venue and accommodation. Malandela’s Farmhouse Restaurant & Country Pub provides delicious home-cooked food and a delightfully relaxed pub with draft beer, and indoor and outdoor seating for one of the finest sunset views in the country. Malandela’s Restaurant offers an a la carte menu as well as set menus for large groups.
Nature & Game Reserves
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Eswatini’s pioneer conservation area, is a beautiful, secluded sanctuary in the Ezulwini Valley, between Mbabane and Manzini and the most frequently visited reserve where one can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the abundant wildlife that grace the plains. Visitors can explore the southern portion by foot, by vehicle, on horseback or on mountain bikes. Next door to Mlilwane is the Mantenga Nature Reserve, a small protected area, housing the Swazi Cultural Village and Mantenga Falls.
Hlane Royal National Park
Home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom, with an abundant and diverse bird life, including the highest density of nesting White Backed Vultures in Africa. A network of self-drive game viewing roads criss-cross the park and guided walking safaris, mountain biking and guided game drives are also available.
Mkhaya Game Reserve
Mkhaya was stablished in 1979 to save the pure Nguni breed of cattle from extinction and is a proclaimed Nature Reserve. Its focus has expanded over the years to include other endangered species such as Black and White Rhino, Roan and Sable Antelope, Tsessebe, Elephant and other locally endangered species. The reserve comprises of Acacia thornveld in the south and broadleaf sandveld in the north. Unique, intimate encounters with Mkhaya’s wildlife are almost guaranteed as all travel within the reserve is solely by guided walks and drives.
Phophonyane Nature Reserve
Located, south of Kruger National Park, in north western Eswatini close to Pigg’s Peak. This is a peaceful and enchanting park, also known as Eswatini’s “Garden of Eden”. The wildlife found here includes the Banded Mongoose, the rare Red Duiker, Cape Clawless Otter, Vervet Monkeys with over 230 recorded bird species.