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Eco Travel Guide to Swaziland : Southern Africa

 
Swaziland Travel Guide
Travel Writer: EcoTravel Africa  
 

The landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland is surrounded on the north and south by provinces of South Africa, and on the east is bordered by Mozambique. The Kingdom provides eco travellers the ideal gateway between South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal Province and the Kruger National Park, as well as Johannesburg and Maputo - no better route is available with added advantage of discovering a whole new country filled with bygone African traditions and culture.

 
 
Photographer: EcoTravel Africa 

With an area of just over 17,000 square kilometres, Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere (comparable to the size of Wales in the United Kingdom, and the stae of New Jersey in America). Swaziland covers an area of approximately 193 kilometres from north to south, and 145 kilometres from east to west.

Small as it may be, Swaziland is an exciting tourist destination with its many art and craft outlets and traditional markets and wildlife reserves. At the Mlilwane Game Reserve, tame birds and animals are free to come and go and wander through the camp grounds. Mkhaya Game Reserve offers visitors the opportunity of game viewing by open Landrover with guides.

A major attraction for the visit to Swaziland is the casinos. These are located at the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel complex, in the heart of the Ezulwini Valley, between Mbabane and Manzini, at the Nhlangano Sun in the South, and at the Protea Piggs Peak Hotel and Casino in the North.

Swaziland offers many scenic drives. North of Mbabane, the road to Luve is known as Pine Valley with a series of waterfalls on the Black Umbeluzi River and the granite heights of "Bald Rock". The drive to Piggs Peak, in the north is one of the most scenic in the country. The Malolotja Nature Reserve lies to the west of the road and here, after a stiff walk, you can view the Malolotja Falls, the highest in Swaziland.

Swaziland also hosts a large number of internationally renowned private safari game, hotels and a number of thermal springs where visitors can relax and unwind, Fore example: the Spa at the Royal Swazi Sun.

Swaziland also has many private country lodges with accommodation of an excellent standard which are more affordable if you are on a tight budget. National parks offer self-catering accommodation as well as camping. Some towns have smaller hotels, but are not always of good standard. Accommodation should be booked in advance. Outside the national parks, there are not many campsites.

RAIL & BUS
A train service runs from Durban, through Swaziland, to Maputo in Mozambique. The more luxurious Royal Swazi Express operates a four-day rail tour from Johannesburg five times a year. Bookings should be made well in advance. There are good bus services including express coaches that connect the Swaziland's major towns. Minibus taxis operate more often, and generally cover shorter distances.

AIRPORTS
Swaziland's national airline and airlines from neighbouring countries fly in to the international airport Matsapha (MTS), north of Manzini. There are a total of 18 runways in Swaziland, but only the international airport has a paved runway.

ROADS
There are over 4,000 km of roads in Swaziland. The main roads are all tarred, and all other major roads are well-maintained gravel roads. Vehicles drive on the left. The speed limit in Swaziland's urban areas is 60 km/h and on the open road is 80 km/h. Car hire is available in Mbabane. Swaziland has a high road accident rate so be very aware of erratic drivers and animals on the road. Most feul stations are open 24 hours.

 

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