In this article, Mzansi Life looks at the nature reserves of Swaziland and their well-known exceptional range of self-guided hiking trails.
Mahamba trails lead through beautiful grasslands with rocky outcrops. The trails and lodges are community owned and operated and focus on the gorge. They offer exhilarating Swaziland hiking opportunities and range from step climbs into the gorge to less strenuous riverside hikes. Visitors can choose from a selection of half-day and full-day scenic and cultural trails.
Mantenga offers trails both along the river and up to the peaks overlooking the Ezulwini Valley.
Located in North-eastern Swaziland, the Mlawula Game Reserve has a number of trails, with walks as long as a few hours to a few days. This offers visitors a rare opportunity to walk self-guided through the bushveld to experience more intimate encounters with nature and wildlife. Mlawula is renowned for its ancient caves some of which can be reached via day trails.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares. The southern section of the sanctuary comprises open grasslands, plains with middle veld vegetation stretching up to Rock of Execution. The northern section includes Mantenga and includes Luphohlo, one of the highest points of The Kingdom. Only guided hikers may enter the pristine mountains of the north.
The Ngwempisi region has very rugged terrain, interesting plant life and rock formations. Walk along the gorge for a particularly impressive hiking experience. The scenic and cultural trails offer challenging half-day and overnight trails.
Shewula trails offer hikers an opportunity to discover Swazi culture. Choose between a selection of guided trails that lead you through the surrounding community to visit homesteads, traditional healers and local schools.
The extensive Shewulau trail system also leads walkers through the picturesque natural settings of the Shewula Nature Reserve and Mbuluzi Gorge, where memorable photo opportunities are plentiful. Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the area’s diverse birdlife and ancient hardwood vegetation and encounters with wildlife are also possible.
Sibebe Challenge Hike
Would you like to see the great Sibebe Rock – the second largest granite dome in the world? Come and enjoy the challenge of conquering this mighty Swaziland attraction. The sense of achievement in reaching the top and the sheer beauty of this rugged landscape are highlights of this Swaziland hiking trail.
Within the Malolotja Nature Reserve, the trails offer excellent opportunities to view game such as blue wildebeest, blesbok, zebra and impala. Highveld grassland flora thrives along the trail, with grassland and river species to be found on the lower slope.
Malolotja backpacking trails rank as some of Southern Africa’s finest as they offer not only the solace of the true wilderness combined with magnificent rugged country, but also a fascinating variety of fauna and flora. There are approximately 200 km of hiking trails and 17 backpacking camps which allow hikers to undertake wilderness trails from two to seven days in duration, as well as short walks or day trails.
Numerous Swaziland hiking trails are available in Kirkhill and most follow water courses and streams. There is a wide range of long and short walks. Choose a 20-minute walk to Sithobela Gorge to enjoy shaded pools and an abundance of birdlife, or choose a short walk to a picnic spot at Sithobela River where a paddle in the river is therapeutic on hot days. Head off into one of the krantzs and take in the wonders of nature.
In the Lumbombo region, there are a number of eco-walking trails. The trails are designed to benefit the communities, but there is little doubt in the huge and rewarding experience visitors to the area and trails will receive.
Komati Valley and Makonjwa Mountains
A hike through dense riverine growth beneath a canopy of wild fig trees in the Komati Valley is a must for bird-life enthusiast. With the changing and diverse landscape, a number of unique bird species can be spotted, making it a truly rewarding trail. The route is also surrounded by some of the oldest mountains in the world, the Makonjwa Mountains, which make up part of the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Well worth a visit, you can combine a truly breath-taking hike with some of the world most renowned rock art, creating a truly unique trip.