Execution Rock is another unique rock that overlooks the Ezulwini Valley.
The rock derives its name from the custom of a century ago, when wrongdoers accused of crimes such as witchcraft and murder were made to walk to the summit and plunge to their deaths (How awful) But I suppose it fits the crime.
This venture inevitably required some assistance from the Swazi warriors on the ascent and, understandably, a prod from a spear to fascilitate the downward journey.
Happliy, this custom was done away with some time ago.
Visit the Mantenga Craft Centre with its fascinating shops that offer a wide variety of local art and craft items, or books for an adventure adrenalin sport or a safari at Swazi Trails. There is a tourism information office in the centre and nearby is Backpacker Lodge, a popular stopover with the young.
Within the Mantenga Nature Reserve is the Cultural Village, which is operated by the Swziland National Trust Commission, and where visitors may learn about the day-to-day life in a traditional Swazi homestead and enjoy vibrant dance shows. There is also tented accomodation, restaurants and of course the breathtaking Mantenga Falls.
Unfortunately the Main Lodge was closed on the day we visited, but I managed to take some photographs.
It is worth a visit even when the shops are shut.
Plenty of Mango trees and cycads.
The restaurant has a beautiful setting over a lake.
One of the best places for white water rafting is the Usutu River, and it is a major highlight of Swaziland. The rapids are Class IV, so not that calm...but alot of fun. Most of the river is calm, but the area where you do the rafting is in a gorge between the Mabukabuka and Bulunga Mountains, so it is swift and scenic. If you do the whole day excursion there you'll also get to pass through some calmer areas where you can see alot of crocodiles.
Contact Swazi Trails for more info.
This place was simply amazing. Used glass is collected from all over the country and is used here to make all kinds of incredible glass products. We got stuck here for about 2 hours because we just could not leave (we liked it so much). The selection is incredible and we did, in fact, buy quite a few little hand blown glass animals like rhinos, etc, which make great, typical gifts from Swaziland. There's also a cafe here where you can just sit and have snack, a meal, or a drink. The glass factory os located right along the road when you enter Swaziland from the west in Oshoek.
What a terrific park. We actually ended up liking this park ore than the Kruger! It was so isolated and rustic! We stayed in the park in a hut that had no electricity, was within a stones throw to a water hole. In this waterhole we were treated to a rhino and her baby and several elephants!! It was one of my favorite places that we stayed. Although I did sweat off about 10 pounds during the night. No electricity=no a.c. A very restless night....but it was worth it!
The Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a nice private reserve. The reserve has several trails, where you can walk or cycle. The reserve has a nice scenery with a river and a lake. Animals to be seen in the reserve are antelopes, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles and hippos.
You can stay overnight in the reserve. We stayed in the lovely beehives in the Beehive Village.
Picture: look at the hippo mother with kid.
In Swaziland you have nice beehives, the traditional Zulu-huts. These huts are plaited of grass and look really beautiful with their round forms and low entrances.
It's possible to sleep in these huts, like we did in the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary. From our beehive we had a marvellous view at a plain where we saw nyalas and impalas. What could we wish more ....
Manzini is the industrial centre of Swaziland.
Manzini isn't large. The centre is a bit less easygoing than the rural part of Swaziland, but still is not very busy.
We visited the friday morning market. At that timer there are many cars, buses and pickups in town.
People from the rural areas come to Manzini at market days to sell their handicrafts.
We bought some local made utensiles for the kitchen at the market.
In a large supermarket we did the shopping for the day.
The market of Manzini is very colourful.
There are not many tourists around. And the products are made for the local people.
I bought a large wooden scale, in Swaziland used for meat, in our house for fruits and nuts, and a primitive funny mixer of wood.
The vendors were very friendly and helpful.
The women, who plaited the colourful shopping baskets, liked to explain us their work.
At the market we saw a lot of curious things like skins as loin cloth.
We also smell and saw peculiar herbs, roots and bark.
A woman tried to explain me the meaning of the goods, while her husband was trying and choosing his small new loin cloth of skin.
The dance is called umhlanga (reed) dance. Its original meaning was to draw the nation together and remind people of their relationship to the king. Young Swazi women came to Lobamba to help and repair queen mother’s home. The reed dance is also a showcase of potential wives for the king. A Swazi man can have more than one wife you see. At the time of our stay there were articles in the local newspapers about a young Swazi woman of 18 years old, who was taken to the custody of the king against her will and now the mother of the girl is trying to save her daughter. She had attended the reed dance earlier this year. Swazi dancers wore red, black and white and the dances were fast and loud. Swazi women were bit plump while the men were slim and fit and both managed to throw their leg up to the air without any difficulty.
This is the best park in Swaziland if you want to see leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant, and lots of other animals. It's a very large area (the largest in Swaziland) and you can do wildlife viewing by vehicle or by foot. I think that doing it on foot is a rather nique experience! There are also a couple of places to stay in the national park, but these are basically not much more than thatched huts.
This was the very first such sanctuary in all of Swaziland. It's a very small place so is easy to cover in a short amount of time. Within the game reserve there are zebra, antelope, giraffe, hippopotomus, crocodiles, and many different types of birds. You won't find any predatory type animals like lions or leopards. There are a lot of different ways to enjoy the game reserve, as there are guided walks, night safaris, horse riding, and bicycle rentals.
There is an entrance fee that you have to pay to get in the park, which is payable at the entrance. They will provide you with a little map. This is a great place to stay for a couple of days. We stayed at the wonderful Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge, but there is also the Beehive Village, Shonalanga Cottage, Nyonyane Camp, and Sondzela Backpackers Lodge.
It's really neat once you leave the city of Mbabane and get into the countryside where you can see some typical villages filled with the so-called "beehive houses". The name comes from the incredible similarity between the Swazi houses and the beehives.
There are 900,000 inhabitants living in Swaziland, most of who are actual Swazi. Swaziland is considered to be the smallest country in the southern hemisphere, so seeing the houses and how the locals live is interesting part of any trip to this country.