Second only to Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory, Sibebe Rock is the largest exposed granite dome in the world. It sits about 10 kilometers outside the capital city of Mbabane, and unlike its Australian cousin, Sibebe doesn’t suffer from tourist overcrowding.
The rock’s sheer magnitude can be felt from the base, but many daring visitors choose to make the 4-hour round-trip hike to the top with a local guide. Sibebe Rock is over 3 billion years old.
A private conservancy of 3,000 lush acres in north-eastern Swaziland support herds of giraffe, zebra, nyala, impala, kudu, over 300 species of birds, and many others. Sitting among the foothills of the Lubombo Mountains, a one-hour drive from Manzini, the Mbuluzi Game Reserve has open grass fields, rocky outcrops, dense forests, and marshy riverbank terrains.
The park offers clearly marked walking paths, self-driving trails, lookout points, hiking, and bird hides. Accommodations include a rustic campsite and private luxury lodges complete with electricity, fully equipped kitchens and plenty of room for the whole family.
The Shewula Mountain Camp was Swaziland’s first community-owned eco-tourism attraction. Set in the beautiful Shewula Nature Reserve, with views overlooking the Mbuluzi and Mlawula Reserves, Shewula Mountain Camp offers a different kind of tourism experience.
Visitors can partake in village walks to get to know the local community and its members, witness traditional song and dance performances, visit with a traditional healer, or enjoy the tranquil natural surroundings. For those who want to stay a night or two in a rustic setting, Shewula has single and family-sized huts, as well as hot showers and delicious homemade meals prepared with organic, local produce.
Swaziland is known for its original arts and crafts. The Swazi Candles Craft Market is a unique shopping centre showcasing work by local artisans. Among the boutiques and gift shops of this outdoor complex is Swazi Candles- a colourful collection of paraffin wax candles, scented beauty products, and other gifts. The candles are moulded by hand into several standard and animal shapes.
Their lively patterns and beautiful designs make perfect souvenirs. When you’re done, stroll the rest of the craft complex, then head to the courtyard to watch the wood carvers at work. Specialty items available at the shops in the craft centre include woven baskets, batik prints, jewellery, and carved masks.
There is no shortage of thrilling activities in Swaziland, and for adventure lovers there’s no greater rush than an exhilarating white water rafting trip down Swaziland’s Great Usutu River.
This excursion is the only one of its kind in the country. Trained river guides accompany you the entire time. No prior experience is needed.
Hlane is the largest of Swaziland’s game parks and home to four of the Big Five: elephant, lion, rhino, and leopard. The park also supports healthy populations of giraffe, hippo, crocodile, zebra, as well bird species, just to name a few. Hlane means “Wilderness” in the SiSwati language. Its tranquil atmosphere is only periodically interrupted by the humming of game vehicles and the clicking of camera shutters.
For the best experience in this park, book your stay at one of the cottages in the Ndlovu Camp, which overlooks a watering hole frequented by white rhinos and elephants. The camp can take care of your meals and game drives while you’re not relaxing on your private veranda. A trip to Swaziland isn’t complete without a visit to Hlane Royal National Park.
Ngwenya Glass is regarded as Africa’s most prestigious glass factory thus far. Ngwenya pieces can be found in art galleries and airport shops around the world, and while in Swaziland you could score some of their signature works at wholesale prices. The factory uses age-old glass blowing techniques that have been passed onto local Swazi craftsmen since the opening in August 1987.
Pieces range from decorative animals bowls, to everyday items such as wine glasses and wine stoppers, to unique chess sets and corporate gifts. Visitors can also watch the glass blowing process safely from a viewing platform above the workshop. International shipping is available.
It would be a shame to visit Swaziland and not see the country’s top traditional song and dance show. The Mantenga Cultural Village, located in a lush setting in the Mantenga Falls Nature Reserve, gives visitors the incredible opportunity to enjoy traditional harmonies and energetic dances. When the show is over, you’ll get to tour a reconstruction of a Swazi hut village from the 1850s.
Local guides are available to take you through each of the huts and offer information on traditional diet, customs, and family structure. The Mantenga Waterfall is about a ten-minute walk from the village. The reserve has a great restaurant/pub on site serving local and international food, and a lodge if you want to stay the night. 90 South African Rand (ZAR) buys you entrance to the performance and a guided tour of the hut village and to the waterfall.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland's pioneer conservation area and a beautiful, secluded sanctuary situated in the Kingdom's Ezulwini Valley, 'Valley of Heavens'. Located between Mbabane and Manzini, 24hr gate access is offered to the Sanctuary (except initial check-in which must occur before 6pm) enabling guests to enjoy the neighbouring tourist hubs of Ezulwini and Malkerns with their many unique attractions and craft shops.
The name 'Mlilwane' ('Little Fire' in siSwati) was derived from the numerous fires started by lightning strikes on the Mlilwane Hill but now holds significance as the little fire that started a big conservation movement in Swaziland resulting in the saving of over 22 species from local extinction across the three reserves.View Mlilwane's Fauna Species List.
Mkhaya joins Hlane and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary among Swaziland’s big game parks. Located in the south-eastern part of the country, Mkhaya is a fantastic safari destination for day tours and overnight stays. Resident wildlife includes black and white rhino, giraffe, sable antelope, and buffalo.
Accommodations at Mhkaya are at the Stone Camp. For couples, we recommend the double cottage. This open-air suite (no windows or doors) is beautifully decorated and offers privacy, comfort, and wildlife viewing opportunities directly from your bed.
If you are lucky enough to be in Swaziland during the Umhlanga (Reed Dance) you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it for yourself. The event, which is held annually around the end of August when the reeds are matured and ready for harvest, lasts approximately eight days. The event gives the country’s maidens (childless, unwed girls) the opportunity to pay homage to the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi).
Before the start of the event, the girls come from all over the country. They are looked after and mentored by captains appointed by the Royal Family. As part of the tradition, the girls cut reeds and carry them back to the Royal Residence where the reeds are used as windbreakers for the perimeter. Aims of this particular ceremony include promoting solidarity between the girls. The seventh day of the Umhlanga Reed Dance is a national holiday and is when the King participates. On this special day the arena is filled with thousands of spectators who come to see the girls dancing and saluting the Queen Mother. His Majesty then makes his rounds to salute thousands of girls as they cheer him on. The Umhlanga Reed Dance is truly one of Africa’s most fascinating cultural events.
The Maguga Dam is a dam on the Komati River in Swaziland. It is 115 metres high and is located 11 kilometres south of Piggs Peak. The dam was completed in 2001.The Maguga Dam is a dam on the Komati River in Swaziland. It is 115 metres high and is located 11 kilometres south of Piggs Peak. The dam was completed in 2001.
The dam embankment comprises approximately 800 000m3 of clay, 2 800 000m3 of granite rock and 43 000m3 of filter material. It has an overall height of 115 metres, a crest length of 870 metres and a base width of 400 metres.
Because the dam is located within a region influenced by cyclones, it has been designed to withstand a probable maximum flood of 15000 m³/s. The 180m long labyrinth spillway is designed to pass a flood of 7800 m³/s without damage representing a return flood of 200 years. The Maguga Dam received the South African Institution of Civil Engineering award for most outstanding civil engineering achievement in the International Category for 2001.
Phophonyane Falls Ecolodge is nestled in the dramatic mountain landscape of north-west Swaziland, amid tumbling waterfalls and lush natural forests. It is a favourite destination for discerning travellers and nature lovers seeking a romantic and revitalising hideaway in a setting of stunning natural beauty.
The Ecolodge is designed to maximize the experience of our special environment, and to ensure that we fully live up to our motto of "Peace, Privacy, Paradise".