While we were on a four-week holiday in South Africa, we had the opportunity to visit another country, the landlocked country of Swaziland. Departing from the amazing Kruger National Park, the shortest route driving to our next destination St Lucia on the coast fortunately passed right through Swaziland.
Not only was it an opportunity to get another stamp on our passport, but also after a busy first week in South Africa, we welcomed four nights to chill out in this quiet country.
We based ourselves in the Ezulini Valley just south of the capital Mbabane. We found a great place to stay, the Buhlini Farm Chalets, which were only a few minutes from the main road, but in a quiet bush setting making it feel like we were in the middle of the countryside.
Swaziland is great for handicraft shopping. A popular tourist stop was Swazi Candles, which was interesting mainly for the animal-shaped candles. The other craft shops in the same complex were more appealing. For a more traditional craft market, the one on the main road was better, though all the markets sold mostly the same things. At each different market shop, we kept adding to our quirky collection of animals made from metal and beads.
The House of Fire in the Merkins Valley was a surprise. The adults sat back with a beer enjoying the views across the surrounding fields, while the kids played on the grass among the funky sculptures.
At the Mantenga Cultural Village, we were taken on a tour of a model Swazi village and learnt fascinating things about their culture such as the women never ate the brain, tongue or feet of the animal, to ensure they did not get too smart, chatty or run away. The Swazi men also had to give 11 cows to their future wife’s family. Afterwards, we were treated to Swazi dance and singing, and we even got up to join in.
At the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, we were allowed to alight from our car and walk among the animals, as there were no dangerous animals (except for crocodiles and hippos if you decided to go for a swim). It felt like we were doing something wrong after our time in Kruger where we were constantly warned to stay in our cars with the windows up. At the rest camp we hung out with zebras at the petrol station and warthogs wandering around. Only in Africa.
Our short visit to Swaziland was a wonderful experience and highly recommended if you are passing close by. It has a very different feel from South Africa and can provide some unique experiences.
See more photos from Swaziland
Buy our Swaziland designs on Red Bubble