The Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) recently hosted a media trip to the Kingdom and Mzansi Life was invited to join the crew. Swaziland has breath-taking and spectacular views – we enjoyed our stay and wouldn’t mind visiting again.
If you haven’t been to Swaziland I encourage you to go this festive season and experience the beauty the Kingdom has to offer. The Remarkable views set in attractive and peaceful settings as well as welcoming people are what Swaziland has in store.
Day 1: Malaloja Nature Reserve
A mere 343 kilometres drive from Johannesburg, our journey to the Kingdom of Swaziland began. Our first stop was at the Malaloja Nature Reserve where we experienced the Maloloja Canopy tour.
Acres of mountainous, greenery and relaxing hills on site as we made our way up in a 4×4 to the top of the hills to zip line. The gorge offers a 11 slide platform that is set amongst such lushous forestry.
For the adrenalin-pumping seeker, this is amazing as you look down into such peaceful, dramatic rock formations and lush forestry as you glide across and even experience a walk across a 50-meter long suspension bridge. What an experience!
For the hikers, hiking trails amidst the beautiful scenery of mountainous green surroundings is on offer. Such crisp, clean and calm air filled with naturistic sounds of birds, baboons and other animals sounds.
Malaloja offers self-catering accommodation for the nature lover who wants to escape undisturbed into nature.
Phophonyane Falls experience
A few kilometers away, we had an opportunity to experience Phophonyane Falls where we retired for the night. A nature lover’s haven, this eco-lodge is a hideaway set around such natural beauty and nestled amongst forestry.
Beautifully designed with a variety of housing styles to suite a family or a couple its tranquil surroundings and dramatic views of landscape makes it quite special.
The accommodation is set in spacious gardens and running streams and waterways that you can hear so distinctly. It offers a high level of privacy and the beehive accommodation was rather interesting.
An early morning hike in Phophonyane and many a monkey on the premises too. The food was prepared freshly, of a high standard and the staff was extremely helpful and friendly.
Day 2: A drive to Piggs Peak Hotel & Casino and Gap
We then drove a few more kilometers away to Piggs Peak Hotel & Casino. A traditional hotel, that was spotless. It boasts 103 luxury rooms, a kids centre, mini cinema, tennis courts, gymnasium, squash courts, bowling, mini- golf course and has a magnificent pool.
It also offers entertainment for adults if they enjoy Casino. Very friendly staff and lunch prepared for us was of a high standard.
A 4×4 was needed to maneuver in some of the places as we made way to the potholes in the Nsangwini area. After a humpy ride, we finally reached our destination in the Gap area where the Komati River flows through. We walked across the bridge of the Komati River for about 25 minutes until we saw the beautiful rock formations.
Spectacular rock erosions that looked so incredible. Beautiful views! We stood for some time just taking in the site of this spectacular view.
Sibebe Rock in Mbabane and Happy Valley Hotel
We drove to view the Sibebe Rock in Mbabane, the world’s second largest single granite monolith that is 800 meters high. As we made our way to our next destination we could see spectacular mountainous views of Sheba’s breast from afar.
We then drove to settle for the night at Happy Valley Hotel, in Ezulweni. A beautiful hotel, that was in a town that was quiet central. A mall was also across for convenience.
The room was of international standards. The bar area overlooked the pool as we sipped on some cocktails before we got ready for supper.
We ventured out to Pub & Grill later that night for some nightlife entertainment. It is a walk across the hotel in the mall. We enjoyed the Swazi people’s welcome as we danced the night away.
The food was of a high standard and the staff was very friendly. The hotel also boasts an entertainment/Casino area.
First stop of Day 3: Yebo Arts Gallery
As we drove through Swaziland to different destinations, the roads were immaculately clean and safe to travel on. We drove through the Jubukweni route that was such a scenic environment, very calm easy with beautiful greenery and mountainous areas. We also passed through the high veld, middle veld as well as low veld at various times during our trip.
Our first stop the following morning was at the Yebo Arts Gallery. Yebo Art Gallery promotes Swaziland’s established as well as up and coming artists.
They offer training and workshops for aspiring artists. This modern art gallery hosts regular exhibitions and showcases both established and upcoming artists.
Interesting crafts and arts are lined up and are for sale. They also have an outlet for tourists to purchase at the Swazi Candles Centre.
Mantenga Cultural village: A fantastic Swazi experience
A stop over at Mantenga Cultural village was a fantastic Swazi experience. Scheduled daily traditional dance performances take place and it was great to see Swazi cultural dancers and learn more of Swaziland’s rich cultural heritage.
A tour is then followed directly after the dance processions to understand more of the Swazi culture. A very rich and interesting culture we heard of as we made our way through the traditional enclosures with the tour guide.
We then had lunch at the cultural village restaurant set in such lush surroundings and is of an extremely high standard. The pizza on the menu was to die for and the staff was very friendly.
You can also visit the Mantenga Falls, which are known as Swaziland’s best falls and the largest in term of volume of water (95m high).
A drive to Shewula Mountain Village
We then drove to Shewula Mountain Village, located among the Lubombo Mountains. It was an opportunity to experience rural Swazi first hand.
Shewula Mountain camp is an eco-tourism project, which is both owned and run by local community. The accommodation is of a very high standard, very clean and unique in its experience.
The huts were beautifully done inside, of very high cleanliness and were equipped with an inside bathroom. It comprised of shower and inside toilet with hot water even though the area does not have electricity.
Our rooms were well lit up with lamps and kitchen prepared delicious traditional food. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly and there were Swazi traditional dancers who graced us.
What lied just to the right of the establishment, was a travellers highlight. Stunning views as we were in time to watch the sunset. What beautiful scenery, as we stood above mountain top and looked both to our right and left in stillness and looked on to spectacular mountains, greenery and cloud views that lay in front of us.
So breath-taking, we continued to enjoy this even after the sun went down and we retired to the kitchen to have supper.
The morning shower was also quiet interesting as the shower area was a bit opened on the top, so as we enjoyed the hot water we felt the cool, crisp morning air breeze that filtered through the shower area as well.
Day 4: Mhlambanyatsi return trip and Foresters Arms Hotel
We travelled back to Mhlambanyatsi, and had lunch at Foresters Arms Hotel. The establishment is set amongst so much greenery and has quite an intimate and spectacular setting.
We had a buffet lunch and the choice of the food selection that the hotel offered was one that I had not seen in a very long time. This selection was to die for, as it was so delicious. It was divine!
The staff was extremely friendly and the hotel has many activities, like horse riding, trout fishing, mountain biking, Sauna, table tennis, gym facilities, croquet & boules and extensive walking trails. A range of activities for couples travelling with their children.
Free high speed internet was also another advantage.
Summerfields Luxury Resort & Botanical gardens
We then drove to Summerfields Luxury Resort & Botanical gardens in Manzini. Beautiful high-end hotel, that offers such tranquility.
The botanical gardens provide for an enchanted, spectacular, scenic experience. The rooms are of international standard and also very unique.
Rooms are spaced away from each other with some having their own balconies but each allows for a very private stay.
Amazing walking pathways that lead to different locations within the establishment offering a very green, outdoor experience.
The restaurants are also separated with different buildings offering different services. We had supper at a beautifully designed building with different sections and little falls that ran through it in some parts. The food was incredible and of a very high standard.
Our breakfast was in a different end, also in a very high-class establishment.
What a beauty set in such tranquility!
Last stop – the Swazi Candles Centre
Our last stop was the Swazi Candles Centre, situated in Malkerns Valley. Swazi candles factory is one of the most famous candles factory in the country.
Interesting shaped candles caught our attention with such a wide variety of styles and colours to choose from. The centre has other creative shops as well, were the traveller can buy Swazi made goods as souvenirs to take back home.
Swaziland is a true Kingdom with spectacular landscapes. The people are welcoming, amazing landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. We reviewed a wide range of activities and places that spread across different locations across the country and we were impressed. If you haven’t been to the Kingdom, what are you waiting for?