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Top 5: Things to do in Swaziland

Nestled between South Africa and Mozambique, the kingdom of Swaziland may be overlooked — but it shouldn’t be. Lucy Maddox highlights some top things to see and do

 

Emlembe Mountain
In the east of Swaziland lies the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range, and at 6,109ft, Emlembe is the country’s highest peak. By far the best place to begin trekking this majestic mountain is the town of Bulembu, an area that’s becoming increasingly popular with European tourists. Hiring a guide is recommended, and much of the income generated from outdoor pursuits goes towards funding the town, including running the local school and orphanage. At the end of the day, Bulembu Country Lodge is the perfect place to put your feet up.

Ngwenya Glass Factory
Situated northwest of the capital, Mbabane, Ngwenya Glass prides itself on functionality, beauty and sustainability, with all products made from 100% recycled glass. The factory is open to the public so it’s possible to watch the talented craftsmen create stunning glassware from a viewing gallery in the blowing room. There’s also a selection of shops on the Ngwenya Glass complex, ideal for a dose of retail therapy with a wide range of artisan gifts to take home, from clothing to chutney to chocolate.

Mantenga Cultural Village. Credit: Brian Negin

Mantenga Cultural Village
A living, breathing museum, visitors to the Mantenga Cultural Village can explore the traditional Swazi way of life as they walk around interacting with the people who undertake tasks in the village on a day-to-day basis. Visitors can help to grind maize, plait mountain grass, or even join in with a traditional Swazi song and dance.

Swazi candle makers
Beautifully handmade candles are crafted in a vibrant workshop located in the Malkerns Valley. Guests can visit the workshop and speak to the artists while they’re busy making candles that are exported to over 20 countries. Much like Ngwenya Glass, there are other market sellers around, making it another great spot for some souvenir shopping.

White water rafting
The Great Usutu River has excellent rapids for a large portion of the year: white water rafting is Swaziland’s top adventure sport. There are a number of rafting companies that operate on the river from mid-October to August, all of whom promise a fun and exhilarating ride.

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