eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

12 Apr 2021Updated: 4 hours ago | 52 people are reading

eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

© Lonely Planet eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

Safari and eSwatini sound like the perfect match. Yet few people realize that this small African country is bursting with opportunities to admire the typical African wildlife. In fact, it is one of the best places in the entire continent to spot a rhino.

But these special animals are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. eSwatini is full of animal species and the country offers countless opportunities to admire them, whether on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike. In addition, the culture, historical resources and the landscape of eSwatini all have something enchanting.

Mkhaya Game Reserve

Life is not always as black and white as we sometimes think - although it is in the Mkhaya Game Reserve it seems. Whether you go on a safari on foot or in a jeep, it soon becomes clear that two of the most iconic species in Africa are in charge here, namely the white and black rhino. The reserve has been proclaiming for years that visitors here have a greater chance of seeing wild rhinos than anywhere else in Africa, and that is true. Spotting a rhino, often up close, is an unforgettable moment. For the most intense experience, search for these giant animals on foot. This way you can immediately search for other animals that live in Mkhaya, both large and small. Following the fresh tracks of a giraffe, serval, impala or even dung beetle is not only fascinating but also very educational.

© Offered by Pijper Publishing BV eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

Malolotja Nature Reserve

For whom the impressive African landscape really want to absorb this is perhaps the best destination in eSwatini. The Malolotja Nature Reserve is the perfect place to explore the landscape with both feet on the ground. Hikers and mountain bikers can indulge for days on the extensive network of trails that crisscross through an area of ??200 kilometers of high-lying grassland and lower bush. Highly recommended is the 11-kilometer-long Malolotja Falls Trail where you catch glimpses of the 89-meter-high Malolotja Falls (the highest waterfall in the country), the Majolomba Falls and Mount Silotfwane. If you are motivated to see the mountain; there is a spicy 17-kilometer path up the mountain where you not only have a spectacular view of eSwatini, but also of Mozambique and South Africa. With no fewer than 19 camping pitches, it is also possible to combine different trips by doing an overnight stay. For example, you can be on the road for two or eight days.

© Offered by Pijper Publishing BV eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

Komati Valley

In this valley, located in the east of the Malolotja Nature Reserve, you can taste some of eSwatini's past and present. The gigantic Maguga Dam, a symbol of modernity, blocks the water of the Komati River and forms a large lake that is used for irrigation, power generation and water sports. You can admire the dam from viewpoints of the surrounding mountains, but you have the most impressive view from the bridge that runs over the dam. In the meantime, the history of the valley is nowhere as touching as in the Nsangwini Rock Art Shelter. The shelter has a collection of 4000 year old paintings of African animals (wild dogs, elephants and lions) but also of people who are in different phases between the material and spiritual world. Think of hunters with spears, a man with the face of a praying mantis and flying people with feathered wings. Many of the reddish paintings, some very delicate, are made from a mixture of ocher and animal blood. The black paintings are thought to be the first Bantu cattle farmers in the region. The short walk to the shelter is very picturesque, with views over the green valley and the Komati river in the distance.

© Offered by Pijper Publishing BV eSwatini: a kingdom full of wild travel options

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

This is the first protected area in eSwatini, and still one of the nicest. The scenery is spectacular, the wildlife iconic and the range of safari activities endless. With the exception of crocodiles and hippos, which only live near and around water pools, there are no dangerous animals here. This allows visitors to explore the game reserve on foot, by mountain bike or on horseback without having to worry about predators lurking. In the saddle you have access to most areas. Another nice side effect: on horseback you come much closer to animals such as zebras, wildebeests, warthogs and various types of antelope (also the rare Roan antelope and Blue diver), which are normally very shy. The well-marked hiking and biking trails and self-drive safaris are also excellent options for an easy and beautiful journey through the wilderness.

eSwatini is in fifth place in the Best in Travel top 10 drawers. View the full list here.