Trip summary

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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?

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This tour and vacation includes:

And the following highlights:


Detailed itinerary

  • 1
    Malkerns Valley
    Day 1
    Malkerns Valley

    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.


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  • 2
    Malkerns Valley
    Day 2
    Malkerns Valley

    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.

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  • 3
    Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
    Day 3
    Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

    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:

    • Adventure Caving. If done in the afternoon, a swim in a hot pool as well as dinner and drinks are included.
    • Canopy Tour at Mololotja Nature Reserve
    • Rent mountain bikes at Mlilwane and take on the multitude of tracks in the reserve

    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.


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  • 4
    End of tour
    Day 4
    End of tour

    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.


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  • Prices and conditions

    Price includes

    • All meals (except when indicated otherwise in the program)
    • Comfortable camping with bedding provided
    • All transport (including vehicle, fuel, toll and driver/guide)
    • All activities (except when indicated otherwise in the program)
    • Qualified and experienced English speaking driver/guide
    • Two bottles of water per client per day
    • All entrance fees where applicable
    • Support of one welfare/social/sustainable projects

    Price does not include

    • Other meals, excursions, transport or services or activities not mentioned or mentioned as optional
    • Personal expenses
    • Personal insurance
    • Any item not listed in the itinerary
    • Flights
    • Bring along: towels, personal toiletries, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, hat, suncream, swimwear, comfortable clothing, rain coat, torch and a valid passport (must have at least five open pages and be valid for another 6 months from the time of the tour).

    Group size 4-20.