I’m preparing myself to be most surprised by the Kingdom of Swaziland… For being a country inside the borders and surrounded by South Africa, I know precious little about it. I mean, I know that it’s still a kingdom and I expect that the fauna & flora probably wouldn’t differ too much from our own (after all it’s not a large country…). Other than that I’ve only seen tourist brochures touting the life-changing experiences people have had visiting traditional hut-villages.
Websites like Tripadvisor weren’t much help in telling me what I wanted to know, having asked completely the wrong questions. My absolute disinterest in shopping malls and luxury spas left me with limited inspiration for this part of the trip. However, social inquiry rapidly put me on the right track: there are three major wildlife reserves in the kingdom, all managed by the same non-profit wildlife trust to promote environmental education, preserving wildlife and giving people the opportunity to get closer to nature. These parks are Hlane, Mkhaya and Mlilwane, this last being home to Sondizela Backpackers, where you can set up your own tent for R80 /night. 🙂
Other than wildlife viewing (which in its own right is awesome here), other things which caught my attention are exhilirating outdoor activities: abseiling and white water rafting are booming businesses. Similarly popular are multi-day hikes or the challenging but none-the-less attractive Ngwempisi Day hike. The Ngwempisi trails cover 33km, from the rim of the gorge, to the bottom and out the other side.
Still another experience up for offer is an outing of evening caving that includes a walk through the forest, a serious & strenuous trek/climb/scoot/squeeze through the Gobholo caves, topped by dinner and a dip in ‘hot springs’. o.O I don’t know about you, but this seems like the perfect balance between exertion and leisure! 🙂 The whole affair lasts 5 hours and the two of us would pay R1700 total.
Now it seems like there is too much to do for the time we will be spending in Swaziland We will be spending one night here, and if Ngwempisi really does take the whole day, we may need to come back to do the caving/hot spring-ing another day.
 Big Game Parks/a> Accessed 10 September 2014
The Kingdom of Swaziland – Hiking accessed 10 September 2014
Visit Swazi Accessed 10 September 2014
Swazi travel: Adventure Caving Accessed 10 September 2014