Trekking in the wildlife reserves of Africa is a truly memorable experience. The Kingdom of Swaziland encourages exploration of its game parks, with the exception of those with the Big 5 - elephants, rhinoceros, buffalos, lions, and leopards.
Escape mass tourism and discover the real Africa on foot!
The Kingdom of Swaziland
Swaziland is ideal for hiking as there are numerous reserves without the dangerous ‘Big 5’ where you can walk safely amongst wildlife. The reserves are as exotic as getaways come and give a real sense of adventure whilst allowing you to truly connect with nature.
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small country and is often referred to as “Africa in a nutshell”. It has a little bit of everything that Africa has to offer, and the scenery ranges from mountains to savanna, from the Big 5 to a host of smaller game. Swaziland is a little-known country with a very big heart, and whose culture is woven into everyday life.
Wildlife of Swaziland
Swaziland is the ideal destination for the first-time visitor to Africa who would like to catch the Big 5 in action in their natural habitat. You can find them in the game reserves of Hlane and Mkhaya. The Kingdom is famous for its rhino conservation and chances are that you will definitely see a few in both game reserves.
You may even explore some of the reserves on foot. These reserves tend to host a variety of wildlife all around so don’t be surprised if you encounter a row of hoglets sleeping at your door, a zebra looking in your window, or even a nyala eyeing your breakfast! Enjoy waking up to the songs of Mother Nature and she entertains you with her best avian performers – it really is restoration for the soul.
The people of Swaziland
The ‘Swazis’ welcome you with open arms, and this is an incredibly friendly nation. As you journey through Swaziland, you will experience local culture, from people in traditional dress, to children dancing on the side of the road, and even listening to locals singing around the campfires. Take the opportunity to spend time with the guides on your safari trip, chat with the locals, and play with the children. A simple “sawbona” (hello) will create an engaging and rewarding experience.
Exploring Swaziland on foot
One of the best places in Swaziland for serious hikers is Malolotja, which is where we will spend our first two days. Malolotja is as beautiful as it is surreal and looks straight out of a Tolkien fantasy. Don’t forget your warm clothes as it can get chilly up on the mountains.
Our next stop is Sibebe Rock. This is the largest exposed granite pluton in the world and the second largest freestanding rock in the world. There are several hiking trails to the top, all of which will take us up 800 metres and average 2.5 hours for ascent and 1.5 hours for descent. There on the top of the rock you will get your best view.
The next few days will be spent at Mlilwane Nature Sanctuary, an outdoor lover’s paradise. With its well marked by trails, you can really get away from everything. The wildlife here has grown accustomed to people walking nearby which makes discovering Africa an absolute pleasure. Tread past a dazzle of zebra, a herd of wildebeest, or a host of antelope, all whilst listening to the plethora of birds in the bush as they watch their natural predators from far. Seeing wildlife on foot has never been so exhilarating in such a safe and secure environment.
Lastly, is the lowveld is Mbuluzi. Here we will find the best-cut walking trails in the area, which are more extensive than challenging. Did you know that Mbuluzi has the largest population of giraffe in the kingdom? Watch these magnificent animals chew on their leaves as you trek by, and who can say that they have walked with giraffes? Remember to bring your camera so you can capture this magnificent sight!
Fall in love with this unassuming yet genuine Kingdom. Discover a different Africa on foot.
ATC MOUNTAIN LEADER & ECOLOGIST
The teams behind both The Amazing Trekkers Club (“ATC”) and PAUSE Magazine (“PAUSE”) came together in the evening of Thursday, 23rd November at The Co. @ Duxton, to offer their audience a space that combined both dialogue and discussion with the opportunity to collectively slow down, reflect and reconnect with the self.