The mountain kingdom

Swaziland is becoming one of southern Africa's most sought-after destinations. Nestled between South Africa and Mozambique, this mountain kingdom is one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchies and the smallest country in Africa. It is governed by King Mswati III, who chooses a different wife each year at the annual Reed Dance festival. The country offers a unique cultural insight, allowing you to get to grips with the traditional Swazi way of life.

Include Swaziland in a tailormade itinerary with the Kruger National Park and Kwazulu Natal, which are both within easy driving distance.There are a number of wildlife reserves which provide good game viewing, some stunning mountain landscapes and a few luxury lodges scattered across the country.

Most visitors to Swaziland will drive through the country and spend a few days here. Attractions include visiting the Ezulwini River Valley - meaning Valley of Heaven - riverine forest and waterfalls sandwiched between the mountains. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is nearby, the first and most famous reserve in Swaziland with an array of antelope and some rather friendly hippos!

It is certainly worth paying a visit to the Ngwenya Glass Village where stunning glass sculptures (animals, birds, etc) are made before your eyes. Swaziland offers a range of arts and crafts and is the perfect place to buy African souvenirs! Activities include white water rafting on the Usutu River, hiking and climbing in the mountains, good birding and traditional game drives and bush walks. And if you visit in August, be sure to witness the Reed Dance or 'Umhlanga', when the king chooses a wife from a gathering of bare-breasted maidens.

Swaziland is certainly not a Big Five Safari destination, but it is an ideal choice for those wishing to get off the beaten track and get a sense of rural Africa, with its small towns and sleepy homesteads. It is easy to reach from both South Africa and Mozambique, and with its good road network, the country lends itself well to a self-drive holiday, especially considering its proximity to both the Kruger National Park and Kwazulu Natal. Most visitors do not require a visa to enter the country; it is pretty safe to visit and there are very few health risks apart from malaria.

NB: Our consultants have been to Swaziland and visited all the lodges we advertise - Get free, no-obligation advice to plan your trip to Swaziland!

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