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Things to see and do in Swaziland


Snuggled between Mozambique and South Africa, tiny Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is also one of its gems. Largely free of the racial tensions of its large neighbour, and ingrained with a strong sense of national pride, the country is emblazoned with a rich cultural heritage.


If you're here during the Incwala or Umhlanga festivals this will probably be the highlight of your trip to Africa. The friendly, laid-back people are perhaps the country's greatest draw, and despite their own hardships take pride in their hospitality.

The country's protected nature reserves and parks are characterised by some of the most beautiful landscapes in southern Africa. There are myriad opportunities for wildlife watching and the experience is far more low-key than in the large parks of nearby South Africa. It's also one of the best places in southern Africa to spot the elusive and near-extinct black rhino in the wild.

Things to see and do

African wilderness

Discover true African wilderness at the rugged Malolotja Nature Reserve. There are hiking trails galore, ranging from after-lunch strolls to week-long treks, and 280 species of bird have been recorded here.

Ezulwini Valley

Drive around the lush and magnificent countryside - some of the finest in Southern Africa - including the verdant Ezulwini Valley, a miracle of nature, and the fertile Malkerns Valley, known for its scenic drive.

Hot mineral springs

Soak those weary bones in the 'cuddle puddle', one of the many hot mineral springs around the country. This one is situated in the Ezulwini Valley.


Check out the rich cultural offerings at Lobamba, in the heart of the Ezulwini Valley. They include the royals' Embo State Palace, the National Museum, which has a traditional beehive village beside it, and a museum devoted to King Sobhuza, a revered Swazi king.

Malolotsha Falls

Hike the magnificent countryside. There are plenty of options including the ascent to Malolotsha Falls at Piggs Peak; Sibebe Mountain, a huge granite outcrop that provides a scenic spot for a picnic; and the climb up Emlembe, Swaziland's highest peak.

Manzini market

Poke around the handicraft stalls amidst the hustle and bustle of Manzini's vibrant market. This is probably Swaziland's best place for crafts at bargain prices, so come prepared to negotiate.

Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Organise any number of activities in the beautiful and serene Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary, including mountain biking, horseriding and game walks - where you have a chance of spotting giraffe, warthog, antelope, hippos and eagles.

Mlawula Nature Reserve

Throw a fishing line in at Mlawula Nature Reserve and admire the varied species of antelopes and birds. This is where the Lebombo Mountains meet with the surrounding lowveld.

Ngwenya Glass Factory

Admire the exquisite detail on adorable products at the Ngwenya Glass Factory. Many are in the shape of African animals and birds, are made from recycled glass and are produced by highly skilled workers, who can be watched in action.

Swazi festivals

Attend colourful Swazi festivals full of African dancing and singing that draw the nation together. During the Incwala, the king gives his people permission to eat the first crops of the season (December/January). Or in August/ September, see the Umhlanga (Reed Dance).

White-water rafting

Fizz down the Usutu River on a white-water rafting trip ( The rapids through Bulungu Gorge give a thrilling ride and you'll need to negotiate a 10m (33ft) waterfall. Away from the rapids you can also float lazily down the river checking out the 'flat dogs' in the water.

Wildlife drive

Go game-spotting on a wildlife drive, organised through Big Game Parks ( Mkhaya Game Reserve is a top private reserve where you may spot the elusive black rhino; and in Hlane Royal National Park look out for lion, elephant and plenty of antelope.