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Mountain kingdom on the Malolotja's majestic peaks. The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa (one of the smallest on the continent), situated on the eastern slope of the Drakensberg mountains, embedded between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east. The country is named after the Swazi, a Bantu tribe. Read more

Highlights

Swaziland is named after the Swazi people and it is also known as the Kingdom of Swaziland. Traditional ceremonies that will give foreigners a fascinating glimpse into the sacred heritage of the Swazi's, include the iNcwala first fruit ceremonies and the Umhlanga Reed Dance. Another excellent way to experience the culture is through the local art and craft markets, one of the Kingdom's greatest attractions apart from the nature reserves and casinos.

Incwala

First Fruits ceremony: Annual event, which is the most important and sacred ceremony to renew the strength of the King and the Swazi nation for the coming year; held in Dec/Jan depending on moon; youth from across the country gather at the Royal Kraal at Ngabezweni to collect branches for building an enclosure for the King ending with the warriors clad in ox hide and leopard skin having finished weeding the King's fields; photography and sound recording of some sections strictly prohibited; other parts special prior permission is needed.

Umhlanga Reed Dance

Annual event, which is the second most important ceremony and one of the most colourful; held at Royal Village; specially for unbetrothed maidens to pay homage to the King and Queen Mother; maidens collect reeds which end up being used to repair the Queen Mother's wind breaks; special permit for photography is needed.

Mbabane

city surrounded by hills where you can visit the Mbabane Market, Indingilizi Art Gallery and the African Fantasy Shop.

Ezulwini

The markets alongside the road through Ezulwini has become the centre of the Swazi craft industry; visit the Cuddle Puddle for health and beauty treatments; Mantenga Falls, Mantenga Village, Mantenga Craft and rock paintings are also found nearby.

Hlane Royal National Park

Swaziland's largest conservation area, supporting huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, impala and elephant, giraffe, lion and birds of prey; waterholes in winter are spectacular viewing sites.

Mkhaya Game Reserve

6,200 hectare reserve dedicated to the protection of endangered species as well as the best place to see the black rhino in Africa; staffed solely by Swazi's, the visitor gets a taste of the culture also by watching the Sibhaca dancing; daily activities include guided game drives and walking safaris, waterhole stake-outs, night drives and white-water rafting; advance bookings necessary.

Mlilwane Game reserve

A rustic rest camp consisting of thatched grass beehive huts overlooking a tranquil hippo pool where these creatures emerge each day to eat seed thrown to the waterbirds; see the cycad forest; activities include guided game-viewing by horseback, bicycle or on foot; watching the hippos and swimming in the pool.

Royal Swazi Sun Hotel complex

Casinos are a major attraction with all the usual gambling games and machines available; nearby are a number of nightclubs and discotheques including the well-known "Why Not", which features nightly cabaret.

Piggs Peak

One of the most scenic drives lead to the Piggs Peak; near this road find the Malolotja Nature Reserve including Malolotja Falls, Forbes Reef, the casino, Phophonyane Falls, Phophonyane Lodge and Nature Reserve, Magonigoni Falls, Tlnsaba Craft and the market at Piggs Peak.

Lobamba

The spiritual capital of the nation and the site of the impressive Houses of Parliament; nearby find King Sobhuza II monument, the National Museum, Somhlolo Stadium used for the Reed Dance and Independence Day celebrations as well as the Embo State Palace, which visitors may not approach, nor photograph without permission; colourful migratory birds can be seen during summer.