The Kingdom of Eswatini Tour – a 12 day Small Group Tour.
Despite being the smallest country in the Southern hemisphere, Swaziland (now renamed as Eswatini) more than makes up for its lack of size with a hugely diverse range of attractions and activities.
As one of the few remaining executive monarchies in Africa, culture and heritage are deeply engrained in all aspects of Swazi life, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all who visit. You will find Eswatini is a welcoming Kingdom with wonderfully stunning landscapes, friendly people and up close and personal wildlife sightings.
On this small group tour of Eswatini (also known as Swaziland) we take in the best that this small but feature packed country has to offer. For those wanting an alternative to the South African game parks or anyone wanting to explore a little further afield, then Eswatini is the perfect choice.
The Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo) are all possible sightings as we visit a number of excellent nature reserves. A variety of other game such as giraffe, hippo, crocodile, roan and sable antelope, tsessebe, eland, kudu, ostrich and vervet monkey are also seen regularly.
In addition to the wildlife, this tour of Eswatini also explores the cultural highlights of the country. We will meet the Shewula community, a friendly agricultural people, with traditional thatch and stone houses dotted neatly among fields of maize cotton and vegetables. They encourage visitors to their area to enjoy the incredible view and to gain an insight into the traditional Swazi lifestyles.
Day 1 – Arrive in Eswatini
(Approximate driving time today is 4.5 hours)
You will be met on arrival at 10:00 am OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg and transfer by road to Eswatini and Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary. On arrival there is the chance to stretch your legs and walk in the reserve and see wildlife on foot. The walk can be as long or as short as you want as there are a number of trails in different aspects of the reserve. This is dependent on your arrival time. This evening we have a group evening meal and welcome as you start your amazing holiday in Eswatini. Overnight at Mlilwane Rest Camp where you will be staying in traditional beehive accommodation. (D)
Day 2 – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Umphakatsi
This morning there is a gentle walk through the reserve on the Crocodile Trail. This is a trail around the main pool and the central plains. Be prepared to see wildlife on foot including wildebeest, impala and zebra. This is a gentle stroll with lots of options to cut short or lengthen. It will be a slow walk as we will be stopping to see wildlife all the time. There is also time to learn about the reserve and visit the education boards dotted around the camp. Later we travel a short distance to a traditional Swazi village and learn about local culture and traditions through the medium of song and dance. Overnight at Mlilwane Rest Camp. (BLD)
Note – if the group is 2 pax or less, a Lobamba Walking Tour will be done instead of Umphakatsi.
Day 3 – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary at leisure
Today is at leisure to enjoy Milwane Sanctuary. Optional activities paid locally include horse-riding, mountain biking, or the 3 – 4 hour hike to execution rock. Or you can choose just to wander in the reserve close to the camp. Overnight at Mlilwane Rest Camp. (BLD)
Day 4 - Malolotja Nature Reserve – Gone Rural – Swazi Candles
Drive to Malandela’s and have a quick tour of eSwatini’ s number 1 performance venue. Continue to Gone Rural for a community development tour run by an NGO empowering local women through weaving. Here, learn about Swazi handicrafts in the workshop and the women behind these striking products that are loved all over the world. At lunchtime drive to Swazi Candles Complex where you will have lunch and later see other items produced by local artisans. Later this afternoon we return to Malolotja Nature Reserve in time for the sunset over the mountains. Overnight Malolotja Nature Reserve Cabins. (BLD)
Day 5 - Malolotja Nature Reserve and Ngwenya Glass Factory
After an early breakfast at Malolotja, meet the hiking guide at 8am. Transfer to Logwaja view point to start the hike. Hike to the highest waterfalls in Eswatini (100m). The hike is about 4 hours in duration. On our return, there will be time to freshen up before a visit to Ngwenya Glass Complex where you will enjoy a light lunch. Spend time visiting the Ngwenya Glass Factory and observe the amazing glass blowing process as well as exploring the beautiful products produced by Eswatini’s artisans from bags,chocolate to gin! Return to Malolotja in time for sunset and dinner. Overnight Malolotja Nature Reserve Cabins. (BLD)
Note – If you prefer to stay at the nature reserve instead of embarking on the hike then please let us know.
Day 6 – Malolotja Nature Reserve - Mbabane – Ezulwini
Enjoy the morning skies before breakfast at Malolotja where you will see beautiful views over the mountains. Drive to Maguga Dam – eSwatini’s largest reservoir where you will be able to take pictures and enjoy the views whilst learning about the history and impact of the dam. Pass by imposing Sibebe Rock, the second largest exposed granite rock in the World and on to Ezulwini to Mantenga Lodge for lunch with impressive views. After lunch head to the cultural village and visit the water fall before visiting the cultural village, observing male and female dances key to Swazi culture and a walk around the homestead to learn about local traditions. Overnight Malandela’s Guest House. (BLD)
Day 7 – Mbabane - Mkhaya Game Reserve
We start early today at 8am. Today we travel to Mkhaya Game Reserve, named after the Acacia nigrescens tree. The reserve comprises of acacia dominated thornveld in the south and broadleaf sandveld in the north. Unique, intimate encounters with Mkhaya’s wildlife are exceptional and all travel within the reserve is by open Land Rovers or on foot. The reserve is criss-crossed with dry riverbeds, dotted with waterholes and has a network of intertwined game-viewing roads. Mkhaya currently supports three of the Big Five; with leopard, buffalo and rhino being present on the reserve – there are no lions or elephants at Mkhaya, but it is most famous for its rhino conservation. You should be able to see rhino up close and personal. A host of other game such as giraffe, hippo, crocodile, roan and sable antelope, tsessebe, eland, kudu, ostrich and vervet monkey are also seen regularly.
The birdlife is also abundant and the rare Narina Trogan can sometimes be seen in camp along with the more common species such as the crested guinea fowl. Mkhaya was set up as a breeding program for endangered species such as the black rhino, roan and sable – a sighting of the elusive black rhino is normally very high up most visitors list, so keep your eyes peeled on those game drives. We will be at the gate of the this reserve by 10am and then on arrival you will have some time at leisure to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the camp before embarking on an afternoon sundowner drive. Overnight at Stone Camp. (BLD)
Day 8 - Mkhaya Game Reserve
A full day to enjoy the Mkhaya Game Reserve. There will be an early morning sunrise safari before breakfast and also another sundowner safari. In between there will be an option to do a walking safari late morning and also you can sit and patiently wait and watch for animals and birds at the hide. Mkhaya is staffed and patrolled entirely by Swazis from neighbouring communities and has what is arguably Africa’s most effective anti-poaching unit. The reserve is totally self-financing through visitor revenues. Overnight at Stone Camp. (BLD)
Day 9 – Mkhaya Game Reserve - Hlane Royal National Park
We depart the park at around 10am and head to Hlane. Check in at Hlane and then enjoy some time at leisure before later this afternoon we will go on a sun downer safari in the park to hopefully obtain sightings of, rhino and lion amongst others, so have your cameras ready. Overnight Hlane Royal National Park. (BLD)
Day 10 – Hlane Royal National Park - Mbuluzi Game Reserve
After breakfast we take a rhino drive to see these wonderful animals up close and maybe even on foot. After lunch we travel the short distance to Mbuluzi Game Reserve which encompasses some of Eswatini’s most pristine bush-veld with a variety of landscapes and excellent biodiversity. Here there are many kilometres of well-marked and maintained trails offering short strolls to explore the area at your own time and pace. Common species include zebra, kudu, impala and warthog although the main attraction is the giraffe as it is possible to walk within these herds without disturbing them, a unique way to see giraffe. We will spend the rest of the day here exploring the bush before later returning to Hlane and the watering hole for sundowners. Overnight Hlane Royal National Park. (BLD)
Day 11 - Hlane Royal National Park - Shewula Mountain Camp
At around 9am after a leisurely breakfast we take a short but slow journey to Shewula Mountain Camp (the roads are fairly bumpy but it is worth the tri), which is the first community eco-tourism project in Eswatini and one of the most successful in the whole of southern Africa. The camp is fully owned and run by the community, meaning that all profits are shared by the community in an effort to continually develop and improve this traditionally impoverished area. Arrive in time for an educational walk amongst the community where you will learn about life in Shewula and be shown into people’s homes. The Shewula community is a friendly agricultural people, with traditional thatch and stone houses dotted neatly among fields of maize cotton and vegetables. They encourage visitors to their area to enjoy the incredible view, gain an insight into traditional Swazi lifestyles. Have lunch on the escarpment looking over the Lubumbo Conservancy and the view here is incredible. This is a traditional lunch cooked by the ladies of the camp and you can taste delicious, genuine Swazi food. After lunch there will be the chance for an optional hike but if you prefer just relax at camp and enjoy the stunning views. Overnight at Shewula Mountain Camp. (BLD)
Day 12 – Depart Eswatini for Johannesburg
(Approximate driving time is 4.5 hours)
Depart at around 8am for the journey back to South Africa for your onward journey or perhaps you may wish to extend your trip with some tailored arrangements in South Africa. (B)
Dates & Price.
2024 dates are provisional and may be subject to change.
Minimum Group Size
This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers. Please contact us to check on group numbers if a tour is not guaranteed as your reservation may be enough to guarantee the tour departs.
Single Supplement from £235.
Return flights from London to Johannesburg start from around £500 per person. Please contact us for a quotation.
We can also arrange extensions to this tour into South Africa on a request basis.
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Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
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+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers on Day 1 and Day 12 of the tour from and to Johannesburg airport
- All accommodation as per the itinerary
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Drinks and snacks not included in the itinerary
- Optional excursions
- Tips for guides