Country Nr 51 – Eswatini – amazing hiking trails and a colorful ceremony at Mantenga cultural village

Country 51/196: Eswatini
Destinations: Mbabane, Makholokholo, Mantenga cultural village and natural reserve, Sibebe Rock
The Kingdom of Eswatini is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is known for its stunning mountain and flatland scenery, amazing hiking trails, abundant wildlife, vibrant culture, and colorful ceremonies. It’s best to visit this intriguing kingdom in August/September or December/January when the nation’s most important events are held (Umhlanga and Incwala).

Things to see and things to do

In Eswatini you can enjoy a wide variety of landscapes, including mountains, savannas, and pristine rain forests. We decided to visit what is probably the most spectacular landscape – the western Highveld – and we realized that Eswatini is a hiker’s paradise. 😉
Mbabane and Makholokholo
We entered Eswatini by bus crossing its border with Mozambique and we drove all the way from the east to Mbabane, located in the western part of the country. The green scenery impressed us, but entering the western mountain range was the most impressive part of the trip.
Mbabane is the capital and the largest city in Eswatini. It is located in the Mdzimba Mountains. The city itself doesn’t feature any of the country’s most popular attractions, however, some of the most beautiful sites are located nearby.
We were staying in Makholokholo, a small peaceful town located a few kilometers from the capital. Makholokholo features one of the many royal residences and offers nice sights of the surrounding hills.
Mantenga cultural village and natural reserve 
Eswatini’s traditional culture is the country’s number one tourist attraction and Mantegna cultural village is the best place to experience their traditional culture. It is a living museum of old traditions, representing a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1850s.
The entrance fee is 100SZL (approximately 7 EUR) and it includes visiting a village with authentic beehive huts, a sibhaca dance show (performed daily at 11.15 am and 3.15 pm), and a hike to the wonderful Mantenga falls. If you’re lucky, you can even spot some of the animals living in the natural reserve, like antelopes, warthogs, vervet monkeys, and baboons.
For us, the sibhaca dance was definitely the most memorable experience. The music, the dance, and the performers wearing traditional clothing were all phenomenal.
Mantenga cultural village is located near Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Eswatini’s oldest protected area, which is home to abundant wildlife.
Sibebe Rock
Sibebe Rock (also known as Bald Rock) is the world’s second-largest granite dome and one of southern Africa’s most impressive geological features. The iconic volcanic mountain is three billion years old and 1,488m high. The spectacular rock and the pristine landscape surrounding it are only 10km from the center of the capital city.
This place offers some of the most amazing hiking trails in the world, which feature numerous breathtaking views, stunning caves, and granite slopes, as well as rich flora and fauna. After the rain falls, the water forms countless cute little streams running down the rock, making it even more spectacular. During the rainy season the rocky trails get slippery, so make sure to only follow the marked pathways.

Where to stay

Eswatini remains untouched by mass tourism. However, there are all kinds of different accommodation options for kinds of travelers to be found throughout the country.

Are you planning a trip to Eswatini? Here you can get a room with a 10% discount!


Accommodation prices in Eswatini start at 12 USD/10 EUR a night. Public transportation is cheap and reliable. Food expenses depend on whether you are planning to eat in upscale restaurants or in local diners.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Eswatini may be during the cooler dry season in the winter months (from mid-April to mid-October). The average temperature is 20°C this time of year, even though it depends on the altitude. From mid-October until mid-April there is the hot wet summertime, which tends to be quite rainy. If you wish to attend some of the country’s most popular festivals and events, like Umhlanga and Incwala, make sure to visit in August/September or December/January.

Environmental issues

Population growth in Eswatini and the increased demand for fuel is causing deforestation, which has contributed to severe soil erosion and degradation (also caused by overgrazing), as well as biodiversity loss. Another significant environmental problem in Eswatini is pollution of soil, air, and water. Industrial water pollution, agricultural water pollution, and untreated sewage are contributing to the spread of life-threatening diseases. Only 44% of the population has access to potable water and the frequent droughts caused by global warming are deteriorating the situation.

Romance and adventure

Eswatini may be a small country, but it is wonderfully diverse. You can hike the spectacular mountains, explore the national parks and game reserves, or soak up the lively culture and thus easily find your share of romance and adventure.


Found lots of LOVE in Eswatini. 😉 ♥

Honeymoon rating of the visited destinations: ♥♥♥♥♥♡♡♡

* Note: This is NOT a general rating of the country, it is merely our personal opinion of the mentioned site(s) as honeymoon destinations, based on the level of tourism development, the number and quality of romantic and adventurous activities and sites it offers, and safety. We strongly believe that every country is beautiful in its own way, they may simply be more or less honeymoon oriented/friendly.

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