Swaziland adventure tour
- South Africa
Welcome to the small but gripping Kingdom of Swaziland, embedded between South Africa and Mozambique, one of the smallest countries in Africa. This short tailormade tour and vacation will make you discover a land which is rich in cultural and natural heritage, and of course adventure. Swaziland boasts beautiful mountain scenery, exciting activities, friendly people proud of their traditional ceremonies and wildlife encounters. King Mswati III is the last remaining absolute monarch in Africa. Swaziland is one of those places that hide its secrets extremely well. Do you want to explore it with us?Read more
Welcome to the small but gripping Kingdom of Swaziland, embedded between South Africa and Mozambique, one of the smallest countries in Africa. This short tailormade tour and vacation will make you discover a land which is rich in cultural and natural heritage, and of course adventure. Swaziland boasts beautiful mountain scenery, exciting activities, friendly people proud of their traditional ceremonies and wildlife encounters. King Mswati III is the last remaining absolute monarch in Africa. Swaziland is one of those places that hide its secrets extremely well. Do you want to explore it with us?
This tour and vacation includes:
And the following highlights:
All adventurers will meet at Hatfield Gautrain Station in Pretoria at 8:00 am on Saturday morning. After we have made sure everyone has signed indemnity forms, loaded their luggage and have received a complimentary bottle of water, we head East in the direction of Belfast. From here we head to the Swaziland border at Oshoek via Carolina. We will stop in Carolina for an early lunch (own expense) before heading on.
After all the formalities have been completed, we travel the short distance to Sibebe Rock. The rock, 3 billion years old, is the largest exposed granite rock in the world and second only in size to Ayers Rock in Australia. We kick-off our adventures with climbing this piece of granite (800 m high) in what is dubbed the “steepest walk in the world”. There are also gentler options available.
Our hike will take on average 2,5 hours to the top and another 1,5 down. On the way up and down we will enjoy spectacular views and swimming holes. After this incredible experience, we continue our journey to the enigmatic Malandela’s B&B in Malkerns. T
Try the local beer called Sibebe (a light lager), or some of the craft beers from Thunderbolt Brewery in Malandela’s vibrant bar (one craft beer included in tonight’s dinner). Thunderbolt craft brewery is a small scale brewery that specialises in traditional ales made in small batches to ensure quality and aid innovation. Thunderbolt’s flagship beer is the ‘Swazi Pale Ale’; an easy drinking pale ale that is full of character and improves with every sip. (Total distance: 380 km; Approx. travel time: 7 hours). Dinner included.
After breakfast served on the Malandela’s patio, we drive the short distance to the Swazi Trails head quarters for our full day river rafting adventure on the Usutu River. The Great Usutu is Swaziland's largest river. It flows from the South African highveld through central Swaziland and exits the Kingdom near Big Bend. Thereafter it winds past Nduma in KwaZulu-Natal and up to the Bay of Maputo in Mozambique.
Trips are run on the Bulungapoort section of the Usutu River, between Sidvokodvo and Siphofaneni, in the centre of Swaziland. This is a remote and inspiring stretch of river. Its brown waters thunder through clefts and gorges, alternating with calmer stretches of bush and grazing land. You can expect fine views of rural Swaziland, with imposing rock formations, riverbank community life and a fair amount of wildlife. For most of the year this is generally a Grade III (medium difficulty) rafting river. In peak flow, however, it rises to Grade IV, and even has Grade V and VI sections, which the rafting trips avoid. As the trips use two-person inflatable rafts, with no guide on board, there is more to do than when simply floating downstream on a ten-man raft, where you need only hold on. That said, it is perfectly suited to first-timers.
We meet our river guides and crew at 8:30. We then take a one hour transfer to the Great Usutu River at Sidvokodvo. There is approximately 19-21km of river (4 – 6 hours on the river) to negotiate, depending on which take-out is used. The route includes rapids both before and after lunch (30 minutes - chicken mayo & cheese & tomato filled rolls, fruit, chocolates, juice) at the Holomi Falls, with some relaxed and scenic stretches between. The trip ends with sundowner drinks and light snacks on the river bank. The return journey takes 1,5 hours.
Back at Malandela’s we enjoy dinner in the Farmhouse Restaurant and share our fun stories of the day. Full board.
After a good night’s rest and breakfast, we continue our journey discovery of this beautiful country. First we visit Gone Rural, Zogg’s Boutique and Baobab Batik to view some wonderful artwork. Swaziland has a fine artisanal culture: grass weaving, woodcarving and beadwork (local tradition) and glass blowing and candle making (imported but expertly produced with a Swazi flavour).
Lunch will be enjoyed at one of the local restaurants. Our next destination is Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Mlilwane is the original home of nature conservation in Swaziland. Mlilwane, or “little fire” in the local siSwati language, lies in the Ezulwine Valley (Valley of the Heavens).
Today, we have the afternoon at leisure. We will conduct a late afternoon walk in the reserve to view the dramatic scenery and enjoy a sundowner drink. Mlilwane offers great walking and hiking trails in this scenic wilderness environment. Optional activities that you can partake in this afternoon include:
If all of this sound like too much action, soak in the atmoshpere at the pool in the rest camp. (Total distance:100 km; Total travel time: 2 hours). Full board.
Once again we start the day with a breakfast feast. We check out of our accommodation and at 9:00 we meet our guide for a hands-on experience of the neighbouring lady chief 'Inkhosikati' in her homestead 'Umphakatsi' - a very real glimpse of Swaziland's culture that will leave you with a newfound respect and basic understanding of the Swazi way of life.
Your guide, who will hand the ladies in your party traditional Swazi cloths 'Emahiya' to wrap around their waists, greets you at Mlilwane's main gate. The homestead is a short drive from the main gate and a short walk from Mlilwane's boundary fence.
Before entering the Inkhosikati's homestead 'Liguma', you are requested to remove your shoes. On entry, the Inkhosikati and the village children, often wearing traditional clothing, will warmly welcome you. The standard Swazi greeting to the Inkosikati is 'Nkosi'.
The Inkhosikati has a vibrant, energetic and infectious mannerism and not only talks you through how the huts and traditional items are made but also teaches you the siSwati words for them. She encourages interaction; so ladies try your hand at grinding maize and plaiting mountain grass or gents, join the children in Swazi song and dance.
From here we head to Mdzimba View Shisa Nyama Restaurant for a taste of traditional Swazi cuisine (braaivleis or meat prepared on the fire with traditional maize meal porridge). After lunch we take the road home. Just before we leave Swaziland, we stop at the famous Ngwenya Glass Factory for a quick tour of the facilities. Arrive back in Pretoria at 18:00. (Total distance: 380 km; Total travel time: 7 hours). Breakfast and lunch included.
Group size 4-20.
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