Travelling to the Kingdom of Swaziland
With so many exciting destinations to visit in Africa, one often forgets about this little gem situated right in the heart of South Africa – Swaziland.
Being one of the smallest countries in Africa with a square kilometer of 17364, one can easily fit this country in ones itinerary when visiting Africa. There are so many MUST SEE places and you will be blown away by the hospitability of the Swazi nation. The Swazis is a very proud nation and one will clearly see that by looking at their appearance and attitude. They are well looked after and sends out an aura of pride when they wear traditional Swazi clothing. Swaziland’s main language is Swazi (off course) and main religion is Christianity.
From the moment you enter Swaziland, your eyes won’t be bored for a second. Greenery is everywhere as Swaziland is well off in terms of water, compared to other African countries. Right around you are beautiful mountain ridges. While looking at this, your mind will be blown at how well the infrastructure is in such a mountain-rich country.
When driving into Swaziland’s major city – Mbabane, you will see many off-turns to “The royal residence”. This is because Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in Africa and is currently ruled by King (Ngwenyama) Mswati III. Unfortunately, the Royal Residence can’t be visited unless a festival of some sorts is hosted on the grounds. Every year, Swaziland has a fertility festival where over 25000 unmarried girls sing and dance in front of the Queen mother, which gives the King an opportunity to choose a new wife. The King is polygamous, meaning he has more than one wife.
Wildlife park and conservation
As poaching is an extreme concern in Africa, Swaziland game rangers patrol 24/7. One of the most popular Wildlife Sanctuaries in Swaziland is Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. As one enters Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, one will see hundreds and thousands of snares that was found when Mlilwane was proclaimed and became a conservation sanctuary. Here, they are extremely passionate about wildlife and one will encounter many signs, stating the animals have right of way. Mlilwane means “little fire” in Siswati. It was named after the nearby granite mountain that was often struck by lightning and resulted in small fires.
There are so many other wildlife parks to visit… Hlane Royal National Park is the biggest park in Swaziland and the best destination to go to when one wants to see the Big 5 (leopard, buffalo, lion, elephant and rhino). A bush walk is an experience on its own. You will become one with nature (for your own safety – do this with a professional guide/ranger). If this is not for you, there are other options such as game drives with qualified and knowledgeable guides. The park provides accommodation which is either catered or self catered – depending on your preference! Other activities include bird watching, guided mountain biking trails and cultural tours.
As mentioned before, one will be star struck by the beauty of the mountain ranges. The mountains in Swaziland’s Malolotja Nature Reserve are one of the oldest ranges in the world at over 3.6 billion years old!
Let Swaziland light up your world
Except for the wildlife and beautiful scenery, Swaziland can light up your world in another way… Established in 1982, is the candle making factory, Swazi Candles. All their candles are handmade from either paraffin wax or 100% organic soya candle tea lights. Their products include wax encased LED lights, pure vegetable glycerine soaps and marula oil bodybalm. Guests are welcome to interact with and watch artisans perform their magic. They currently export to over 20 countries.
A visit to the Ngwenya Glass Factory
If you had had enough light for one day, a visit to the Ngwenya Glass Factory is a must! Ngwenya Glass now employs 70 workers, six of which is from the original team. You might think, what is so special about glass animals? Well, each and every item is handmade and mouth blown from 100% recycled glass. People from all over Swaziland collect bottles and are paid per kilo for clean glass by Ngwenya Glass. These beautiful items can be seen worldwide! Ngwenya Glass also does their conservation duties – they organize environmental cleanup days and encourage schools to contribute. If this is not enough, they also have Swaziland’s most successful wildlife conservation fund, known as the Ngwenya Glass Rhino and Elephant fund – all proceeds directly contributes to saving these beautiful and endangered animals.
Some agricultural facts
Swaziland is not only popular for their arts and crafts. In the eastern parts of the country, one will find seven major citrus plantations that grow oranges, grapefruits and limes. The best quality fruits are then exported to the EU, Eastern Europe and the Middle and Far East. The rest of the fruits are then sold to canning factories like Swazican which can be found in the Malkerns Valley. The canned fruit and juice are then exported to Europe.
4% of the country is covered with pine and eucalyptus plantations. One of the largest man-made pine forests (66000 hectars) known as the Usutu pine forest is situated in Swaziland.
Another interesting fact is that sugar represents the biggest industry in Swaziland with revenues per annum turning at around US$400 million according to the SSA. You can find sugar plantations when driving along the eastern parts of the country, along with the citrus plantations. One can by now sum up that Swaziland focuses on ethics, sustainability, and in the sugar industry two of their main objectives include fair labour practices and sustainable practice.
Why miss out on a gem of a country like this?
Swaziland really is a must see country, for so many reasons! Don’t miss out and get yourself in the Kingdom as soon as possible!
Click here to book a trip to Swaziland TODAY!!