Must See

Mbabane

The Swazi capital is a small, relaxed town situated at the northern end of the peaks and dips that make up the Ezulwini Valley and the Dlangeni hills. One of the highlights of the city is the main street, Allister Miller, named after the first European born there.

Ezulwini Valley

The lush Ezulwini Valley is Swaziland's major tourist attractions, home to the magnificent Royal Swazi golf course, a casino, a hot mineral spring (known affectionately as the 'Cuddle Puddle') and a cluster of good hotels forming the Holiday Valley complex.

Lobamba, the royal valley known as the 'valley of heaven' by locals, lies at the heart of Ezulwini and is the spiritual and legislative capital of the kingdom. It has several monuments and museums (including the National Museum), craft stalls and a traditional beehive hut village.

Alternatively, visitors can take a tour of the lovely Sondzela Nature Reserve, to get up-close-and-personal with the relaxed wildlife and see the daily hippo-feeding.

Manzini

East across the Ezulwini Valley is Swaziland's commercial hub and largest town, Manzini. On the way, visitors will pass the country's most famous waterfall, the Mantenga Falls, the Mlilwane Game Sanctuary (see below) and the thriving Mantenga Arts and Crafts Centre.

There is an excellent market in Manzini every day except Sunday; it is particularly worth a visit at dawn on Thursdays and Fridays when the rural people bring in their handicrafts to sell to retailers. Another point of interest is Manzini's original Catholic mission, an elegant stone building opposite the new cathedral; however, it is not open to casual visitors.

Grand Valley

Visitors taking the road from Manzini to Mahamba will pass through the amazingly scenic Grand Valley. The route also passes close to some historic sights of the Swazi royal house.

Parks

Excellent hiking can be had in the Hlane Royal National Park and the Mkhaya Game Reserve, the latter famed for housing black rhino and white rhino. The Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary, near Lobamba, offers a unique opportunity to see wildlife such as antelope, giraffe and zebra from the comfort of your own bicycle seat. Guided walks and drives can also be arranged through the park office.

The Mkhaya Nature Reserve was originally set up to save the long-horned Nguni cattle when white beef-farmers regarded them as too scrawny and unproductive for their industry. Today, the cattle graze alongside antelope, wildebeest and zebra, just as they always used to. Among the other endangered species at Mkhaya are the near-extinct roan antelope and the rare black rhino.

The Lubombo Mountains that run along the eastern border of Mlawula Nature Reserve provide some wonderful views of Swaziland and the western fringes of Mozambique. There are well-organised trails through the reserve, where unique species of cycads and ironwood trees grow on the slopes. The Mbuluzi River and the Mlawula stream both flow through some stunning valleys in this reserve, and early Stone Age tools over one million years old have been found along their beds.

Rafting

The Great Usutu River offers a ride-of-your-life opportunity to tackle its whitewater rapids. The fast-running river also has a dizzying 10-metre waterfall.