- Encounters with locals
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
Whilst traveling through Pigg's Peak territory in Big Bend, I was able to establish for myself that the kindness of the Swazi people is not just a myth. The locals are extremely touched that people would visit them, and are very happy to talk about their country and their way of life.
I especially appreciated the tranquility of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Moving around freely on foot, you can look at zebras, impalas, warthogs and crocodiles. As the country is hardly developed, it is very easy to find little bits of paradise within a few minutes walk. The central part of the region offers numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities such as rafting.
Discover the area using local transportation instead of hired cars as do the majority of visitors. This will enable you to meet many more people, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the kindness of the Swazis.
The country is one of the last monarchies in the world, and where you will best discover its quirks and oddities is in the Ezulwiny Valley, one of the strongholds of King Mswati III.
Visiting Swaziland is something you must do in South Africa, just as you must visit Lesotho, the other enclave in the country. You really must count on several days to discover the Swazi culture, stay in a traditional hut, take walks in the mountains and talk with the villagers...
The rural way of life is authentic and its inhabitants are very welcoming. The private reserves are quite small, but you can easily see the Big 5 there, that is the animals which were most dangerous to hunt: elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, cheetah and lion (the symbol of the country). Mlilwane Nature Reserve is the most accessible for family safaris, known for its population of lions, rhinos (better protected than in South Africa) and hippopotamuses.
Don't forget to visit Ezulwini Valley, the 'place of paradise' in Swati. Mlawula Nature Reserve with its numerous caves and waterfalls, and Malolotja Nature Reserve are ideal for trekking.