Swaziland Guide

Here you will find more information about things to do and see in Swaziland. Having worked in the industry for such a long time, we have all the tips!

We at Myxo’s Woza Nawe Tours highly recommend that all travellers should make an effort to see the rural parts of Swaziland. A trip isn't complete until you've had a chance to interact with the local people. Why not have a go at picking up a few words in our local language. If your guidebook doesn't offer any, ask people you meet along the way. They’ll be more than happy to teach a local greeting and you may make a few friends.


Black and White Rhinos Top

Mkhaya Game Reserve is located next to the little town called Siphofaneni. This is a  conservation area and is home to some of Swazilands most endangered species. You can only access it as part of the guided day tour or if you stay overnight. So prior booking is essential.

The Park boast of the four of the big five: leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino.You will also find giraffe, hippo, wildebeest, impala, warthog, duiker etc. As such it is one of the best game viewing destinations in the kingdom.

Day trips through Mkhaya begin at the Phuzamoya pick up point at 10:00 and return at 16:00. All the guest must make their own way tol the pickup spot. The whole tour includes game drives on open Land rovers and a very good lunch.

If it suits your budget, the overnight accommodation at Mkhaya is outstanding See our Tour section if you would like this bush experience.

Ezulwini Top

As you travel down from Mbabane, the capital city of Swaziland, you will encounter the Ezulwini Valley. Developing very quickly over the past few years, it is one of the more interesting places in Swaziland.

There are many things to see in this valley with a variety of hotels and craft centers. You will certainly not run out of options when looking for a place to stay or something to do. You can visit the Casino, stay in guest houses or the Sibane Hotel and shop in craft centers until you drop.

The National Museum and the King Sobhuza Memorial Park will immerse you in Swazi history.There is also a cultural village which is a government entity showcasing the way of life for the Swazi people. This will give you a very good understanding of how the Swazi people lived their lives many years ago. It is a great opportunity for people who are not able to visit the rual areas due to time constraints to see traditional things.

While you are at the Swazi Cultural Village you will have the opportunity to see the Traditional Swazi Dancing performed by both young men and women.

 

Malaria Top

The western half of Swaziland is malaria free and no precautions are necessary. The low lying bush veld east of the Manzini region is a malaria endemic area. But the Lubombo spatial development initiative (www.malaria.org.za/lsdi) has made great strides in its malaria control program.

When in a malaria area, you should  take the appropriate precautions .Mosquito’s are nocturnal, so try to stay indoors at night and make sure that your accommodation has screens and nets. Use a good insect repellent, especially at night  and in the summer, wear long sleeved light coloured clothing and go indoors before dusk when possible.Cover up by wearing long pants. To make absolutely sure,  take one of the recommended anti malaria medications that are available. Check with your doctor what is suitable for you.

The Rural Town of Malkerns Top

This is the little village town which is mainly populated by factory workers from the fruits canners, which mainly grow pineapples. The areas is predominantly for farmers  of Sugar cane and other vegetables.

 There has been lots of attractions that came about of late here such as the Swazi Candles, the Malandelas complex including House on Fire  and this has resulted to having a all directions coming to this very nice vallely  

Despite its size, this little village has a really good buzz about it and you can find pretty much anything you need.

Hlane National Park Top

This is Swaziland’s largest protected area and it is the home of the big five; lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and rhinos. While there are small populations of giraffe, hippo, crocodiles and hyena you will find larger numbers of zebra, wildebeest, impala and kudu.  As you might imagine there is a wealth of bird life in the park as Hlane is known to be the most southerly nesting colony of marabou stork in Africa.

The birds of prey are particularly impressive and the reserve is populated with martial eagles, bateleur and five species of vulture, including the high density of nesting white backed vulture. Visitors can enjoy  a network of self guided game viewing routes or take a guided game drive in an open Land Rover. Other activities include guided walking safaris, a self guided walking trail along the Umbuluzana river and guided mountain biking through the reserve. You can either bring your own bike or hire one in the park.

While you should not compare this park with Kruger due to its smaller size, you can still expect to see a vast amount of game.

Nature Reserve (Mlilwane Nature Reserve) Top

Mlilwane is located not too far from the Malkerns valley. This is a great place for people who enjoy hiking and those who want to see the animals on horseback. All the animals here are not dangerous at all so you are able to use your map and go for a self guided walk.

Game drives and horse riding are a major attraction at Mlilwane. These can be done as  self drive excursions or as part of the guided tour in open Land Rovers or on horseback. These safaris last about one and half hours and depart throughout the day.

Those who love a bit of hiking may test their mettle by tackling the strenuous walk up to the top of Execution Rock. There is also a two and a half hour guided bird walk which should appeal to bird watchers.

Visiting the Rural Areas of Swaziland Top

Most of the travelers are getting more and more into seeing the cultures of the place that they are visiting. If you are one of those travelers then you have come to the right place since we in. Swaziland is known for its friendly people and unique culture.

You can either join an organized tour day tour or the overnight stay in the village or just jump in the local  bus and ask the next person next to you. Like this you will make lots of friends for life and you will have the opportunity to be invited into a local home, and you will see how the typical Swazi family lives their life.

If you are joining an organized tour you can have a look under the Swaziland tours or you can simply see our tours section.

Manzini Town Top

This is the typical African City where everything and everybody is minding their own business. It's nothing strange to see a business man in a suit walking next to a man carry about ten boxes on his head as he makes his way to the local market.

This is the centre of the country where all the major roads meet. As a result, it’s buzzing with life and is a lot of fun to explore. Manzini Market is always a winner when it comes to doing your shopping for souvenirs.

This is where you will find all your local traders selling their products. This Market is open from 6am until 5pm. In the evening, there is a really great section at the market where you can buy all you need from bracelest to masks at a very reasonable price. In Manzini, the people at the market never follow you around or push you to buy.

The main days for the market are Wednesdays and Thursdays but is open daily.

Phoning in Swaziland Top

The international dialing code for Swaziland is +268. If you are calling South Africa., dial 00268 and then the number. Travelers who want to use their own cell phones should be aware that Swaziland is considered an international territory, and you will not be able to utilize your South African network unless you activate international roaming. This is expensive however and the best way to stay in touch is to buy a prepaid card from MTN Swaziland once you are across the border. This will let you make calls within Swaziland and it also opens a text message channel to South Africa and overseas.

Crime and Safety Top

As many Swazis will tell you, this is a peaceful country with a relatively low crime rate- especially when compared to South Africa.

Nevertheless, there is some petty crime around such as pick pocketing. All in all however, Swaziland is a safe destination for travellers.

Driving In Swaziland Top

Both the South African drivers license and the International Drivers License (available through the Automobile Association) are valid in Swaziland as long as they display a photograph of the driver. All normal traffic laws and regulations are applied when driving in Swaziland. We drive on the left hand side of the road.

Swaziland Local Language Top

siSwati is the main language of Swaziland, although English is also widely spoken, even in rural areas, and is the official language for business. siSwati is similar to Zulu.So do have a good practice of the language using the guide book. This will help you a lot since you will not look like a typical tourist

Swaziland National Holidays Top

1 January - New Year's Day. 
2 April - Good Friday. 
5 April -  Easter Monday. 
19 April -  Birthday of King Mswati III. 
25 April - National Flag Day. 
1 May - Labour Day. 
21 May - Ascension Day.
22 July - Birthday of the Late King Sobhuza.
Late August/early September* - Umhlanga, Reed Dance Day.
6 September - Somhlolo Day (Independence Day).
Late December/early January* - Incwala Ceremony.
25 December - Christmas Day.

Swaziland Currency Top

The unit of currency is the lilangeni (e - plural is Emalangeni), which is divided into 100 cents. It has the same value as the South African rand, which is also generally accepted throughout the country.

Nedbank, First National Bank and Standard Bank (all linked to South Africa) have branches throughout Swaziland. Branch times are usually 08:30 - 15:30, Monday to Friday and on Saturdays 08:30 - 11:00. Traveller's cheques can be cashed in banks and most hotels. Tipping is generally expected, and is to the tune of 10 percent.

To check the current exchange rate, take a look at OANDA.com

Population Stats Top

Population - 953 000 people (2007 census)

Population growth - Stagnant

Size - 17,363 square kilometres

The average age of the population is around 18 with 40% of the population under 15. The average life expectancy is rather dismal at 37years, projected to worsen to 33 years by 2015. About 75% of the population lives in the rural areas.