THE KING­DOM OF SWAZILAND

SOUTH­ERN AFRICA'S LAND­LOCKED MONARCHY

Nomad Africa Magazine - - Nature & Wildlife | Encouraging Conservation - Words: KRISTIE OMAR

The King­dom of Swaziland, also known for be­ing South­ern Africa's land­locked monarchy, is home to a thriv­ing cul­ture, wildlife and na­ture re­serves. One of the ma­jor draw­cards for tourists through­out the year has to be the un­sur­passed splen­dor of Swaziland's scenery. I vis­ited this re­mark­able coun­try and took some time to ap­pre­ci­ate some of the won­ders un­veiled from a cou­ple of Swaziland's pres­ti­gious locations.

ien­tered the Mlil­wane Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary and took a hike up to the sum­mit of the il­lus­tri­ous Ex­e­cu­tion Rock, also known as Ny­onyane Moun­tain. My group on our 3-4 hour hik­ing trail, stopped at the Nyakato view­point, where we took a few min­utes to revel in the beauty of the Man­tenga wa­ter­fall, Usush­wana Val­ley and Sheba's breasts. This 110m high gran­ite rock ex­poses some of na­ture's golden gems. We delved into some Swazi his­tory by spend­ing time at one of the largest San art dis­plays hosted in the Nsang­wini Rock Shel­ter. This his­tor­i­cal site com­prises of spir­i­tual record­ings and iconic mo­ments dat­ing back as long as 4000 years ago. Ac­com­pa­nied by the Nsang­wini com­mu­nity mem­bers who man­age and main­tain the site, you will not only gain more his­tor­i­cal in­sights, but also en­joy pris­tine views as you walk through the com­mu­nity. For vis­i­tors in­trigued by abun­dant wildlife and in­cred­i­ble views, you can travel 10km out­side Swaziland's cap­i­tal city, Mba­bane to the world's largest gran­ite rock dome, Sibebe Rock. We em­barked on a 1.5hrs – 2.5hrs guided walk to ex­plore the vast birdlife, plant life, caves and pres­ti­gious wa­ter­falls adorn­ing the King­dom of Swaziland. This unique piece of art, an es­ti­mated 3 bil­lion years old of­fers a sense of com­plete seren­ity. Lo­cated a bit fur­ther from Mba­bane, roughly 65km north is Pigg's Peak. Pigg's Peak is prom­i­nent for its first record­ing of gold de­posits in 1872. To­day, this area is recog­nised for its breath-tak­ing moun­tain view, best ex­pe­ri­enced from the Maguga View­point restau­rant. The restau­rant over­looks the im­mac­u­late Maguga Dam, pro­vid­ing a panoramic view of the dam. Vis­i­tors can also ven­ture on a scenic loop road that leads to the dam, which hosts a com­mu­nity-ini­ti­ated view site of the spill­way and the Maguga Dam craft out­let. For those look­ing to pair ad­ven­ture and scenic ex­plo­ration, gear-up for some hik­ing, river raft­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, and 4x4 routes lo­cated in the Lubombo Moun­tains. Whilst em­brac­ing the thrill of these par­al­lel ridges and gorges, take a minute to be­hold Lubombo Moun­tains' unique aes­thetic of rugged vol­canic hills, which ex­pose flora and fauna found nowhere else in the coun­try. From the minute you en­ter the King­dom of Swaziland to your day of de­par­ture, you are guar­an­teed to ex­pe­ri­ence many unique and mag­i­cal scenic mo­ments. Swaziland, one of the last ab­so­lute monar­chies in the world, is one of the small­est coun­tries in Africa and has a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion in South­ern Africa for friend­li­ness. It is also home to sev­eral large sa­faris, which are popular tourist des­ti­na­tions. Swaziland pro­vides a wide va­ri­ety of sa­fari op­tions de­signed to fill your days with phe­nom­e­nal en­coun­ters with some of Africa's renowned species, per­fectly suited for guests who long for re­mark­able na­ture ex­pe­ri­ences. The King­dom of Swaziland def­i­nitely de­liv­ers one of the best African Sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ences and vis­i­tors will leave want­ing so much more!

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