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Soak up Swaziland

SOMEWHERE SPECIAL: Horse riding at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary; Lobamba

SUBLIME handicrafts, stunning landscapes of mountains and valleys, forests and plains, plus wildlife reserves across the country that are home to ‘the big five’ – that’s plenty to keep you busy for 48 hours!

Is your list of places to go looking a bit empty? Are you fed up of seeing the same old tired spots around the globe via your mate’s Instagram account? Dare we ask, are you thinking about where to go this Christmas? Well, think a little further out of your box than usual.

As one of the few remaining monarchies in Africa, culture and heritage are deeply ingrained in all aspects of Swazi life, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who visit – even if you’re just visiting for a couple of days.

EZULWINI VALLEY

This is where most of Swaziland’s tourism infrastructure is concentrated. It is a lush valley filled with flowering jacarandas and bright orange flame trees. But beyond the beautiful woodland scenery, the Valley of Heaven (as Ezulwini translates in English) is home to some excellent places to spend the night in the countryside, as well as being home to country’s best handicrafts.


ARCHITECTURE: the spiritual and cultural centre of Swaziland

LOBAMBA VILLAGE

Lobamba village is the seat of the Swazi monarchy. The royal Embo State Palace was built in grand proportions here by the British to house the entire Swazi royal family at one time. It isn’t always open to the public, however, and photos are not allowed. If you want to get a feel for Swaziland’s history, you can head to the National Museum near the Parliament building in Lobamba.

ECO ARTS AND CRAFTS

Swaziland is home to Ngwenya Glass; a business that creates stunning products for the home using 100 per cent recycled glass as its raw material, disused engine and cooking oil to fuel its furnaces and old newspapers to shape and pack its glass.

Building upon Swaziland’s indisputable reputation for arts and crafts, Ngwenya Glass is an absolute must.

MLILWANE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Spend your last 24 hours exploring the nearby Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. One of a number of parks and reserves in Swaziland, it was the kingdom’s first protected area, created in the 1950s by conservationist Ted Reilly on his family farm.


SKILL: A craftsman in action at Ngwenya Glass

Milwane is home to baboon, hippo, vervet monkeys, leopards and many more. It is known for its unique safari options, including walking, mountain biking and horseback trips. It is Swaziland’s variety of attractions within its compact 17,364 km2 that is its greatest asset.

Just a four-hour scenic drive from Johannesburg, and 147km from the famous Kruger
National Park over the border in South Africa, Swaziland is a great addition to your safari holiday – the best of Africa in one small, but perfectly formed, country.

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