An Introduction to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
The Kingdom of Eswatini is located in the heart of Southern Africa and is bordered by Mozambique and South Africa. It’s a small country that is still relatively unknown, with a population of just over 1.3 million people. It has a rich cultural heritage, with the majority of the population belonging to the Swazi ethnic group.
Eswatini is a very mountainous country, with the highest peak being the Emlembe which stands at 1,862 meters. The country also has a significant number of rivers, including the Great Usutu River which runs through the middle of the country.
The climate in Eswatini is generally temperate, with a dry winter season from May to August and a wet summer season from November to April. The country experiences hot temperatures during the summer months, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius.
What to Expect when Visiting Eswatini
When visiting Eswatini you can expect to find a warm, welcoming culture. The people of Eswatini are very friendly and they are always eager to share their culture with visitors.
The country also has a lot of stunning natural beauty, with lush green hills, flowing rivers and stunning waterfalls. There are also a number of national parks where you can go on safaris and spot some of the local wildlife.
The country is also home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, with rolling hills and valleys, and the iconic Table Mountain in the background.
Tips for Planning Your Eswatini Vacation
When planning your Eswatini vacation, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to make sure you have the necessary travel documents and visas before you arrive. You also need to be aware of the local laws and customs, and make sure to respect them at all times.
It’s also a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance, so you can make the most of your time in the country. It’s also important to make sure you have the right type of accommodation for your needs, as well as a reliable mode of transportation.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you have a good travel insurance policy, so you’re covered for any unexpected events.
Popular Attractions in Eswatini
Eswatini is home to a lot of stunning attractions, and here are some of the most popular ones:
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary: This wildlife sanctuary is home to a wide variety of animals, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes. It’s a great spot to go on safari and spot some of the local wildlife.
Mlawula Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is home to a wide variety of different habitats, including forests, grasslands, wetlands, and rivers. It’s a great spot to go on a nature walk or take a scenic drive.
Mbuluzi Game Reserve: This game reserve is home to a wide variety of animals, including rhinos, elephants, and lions. It’s also a great spot to go birdwatching.
Lubombo Mountains: These majestic mountains are the highest in the country, with the highest peak being the Emlembe which stands at 1,862 meters. It’s a great spot for hiking and taking in the stunning views.
Where to Stay in Eswatini
There are a variety of accommodation options in Eswatini, ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. In the capital city of Mbabane, you can find a wide range of hotels and guesthouses.
In the rural areas of the country, you can find a number of traditional Swazi homestays. These homestays offer a great opportunity to experience traditional Swazi culture and hospitality.
For those looking for a more luxurious experience, there are a number of luxury resorts located in the country. These resorts offer the ultimate in luxury, with private villas, swimming pools, and spas.
Transport Options in Eswatini
When it comes to getting around Eswatini, there are a few options available. The most popular option is to rent a car, as this gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the country at your own pace.
There are also a number of buses and minibuses available in the country, which can be a great option for those on a budget. Taxis are also available in the major cities, but they can be quite expensive.
Finally, if you’re looking for an authentic experience, you can always rent a traditional Swazi horse-drawn carriage. This is a great way to explore the country and experience the local culture.
Local Cuisine in Eswatini
Eswatini is home to a wide variety of delicious local dishes. The most popular dish is the “Sishwala” which is a stew made with beef, chicken, or mutton, and served with rice or couscous.
Another popular dish is “Umhlava”, which is a type of porridge made with maize meal and served with a variety of vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and spinach.
The country is also known for its seafood dishes, such as “Umgombothi” which is a spicy fish curry. There are also a variety of different fruits and vegetables available in the country, such as mangos, avocados, and papayas.
Shopping in Eswatini
Eswatini is a great place to go shopping, with a wide variety of local markets and shops. In the capital city of Mbabane, there are a number of shopping malls and markets where you can find a variety of local crafts and souvenirs.
The country is also known for its traditional Swazi art, which can be found in a number of galleries and shops. There are also a number of boutique shops where you can find unique, handmade items.
Finally, if you’re looking for a bargain, you can always visit the local flea markets. Here you can find a variety of items, from clothes to electronics, at a fraction of the cost.
Essential Safety Tips for Traveling to Eswatini
When traveling to Eswatini, it’s important to take some basic safety precautions. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:
Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Avoid walking alone at night, and be sure to stay in well-lit and populated areas.
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or clothing that may attract attention.
Be aware of local laws and customs and make sure to respect them at all times.
Make sure you have a reliable mode of transportation and a good travel insurance policy.
Make copies of your passport and other important documents, and keep them in a safe place.
Eswatini is a true gem, and I hope this guide has given you a better understanding of what to expect when visiting this beautiful country. From stunning landscapes to rich culture and delicious cuisine, Eswatini has something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Eswatini vacation today and unlock the magic of Eswatini!