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).
What to do and what to see in Eswatini?
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€) and it includes visiting a village with authentic beehive huts, a sibhaca dance show (performed daily at 11.15am and 3.15pm), 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.