"Along the banks of Mbabane River you will find the Kingdom of Swaziland’s largest city and its capital as well; Mbabane. The modest city, which in not at all that big, is Swaziland’s commercial centre depending largely on tourism and its agricultural exports. Culture and tradition is at the heart of all Swazi citizens, so be sure to visit the Swaziland Cultural Village found in the Ezulwini River Valley, located between Mbabane and Manzini.
The Cultural Village is a living museum aimed at preserving traditional life dating back to the 1850’s.There you will get a chance to see Swazis dressed in colourful traditional costume-like togas, and an added bonus to all who visit the village is the experiences gained after witnessing the village men dance the vigorous sibhaca dance.
Also found in the Ezulwini Valley is Swaziland’s oldest protected area, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The area was nearly deprived of wildlife in the 1970’s due to hunting; fortunately it is now one of Swaziland’s success stories. The sanctuary is home to hippos, rhinos, crocs and giraffes to name but a few inhabitants. The
Ezulwini Valley offers plenty of activities form cultural and historical landmarks, to the physical explorative activities such as cultural hiking safaris."
The main airport is Manzini International. South African Airways connects Manzini to Johannesburg. You can easily travel to Mbabane from South Africa and Mozambique.
If you drive your own car you will find good tarred roads and several petrol stations/shops on the main roads.
Suggested Stay Details
We suggest spending at least 3 - 7 days exploring Swaziland in particular the diverse cultural and wildlife areas near Mbabane.
Type of Experience
"ART, CRAFT AND CULTURAL: The Ezulwini Valley, also known as the Valley of Heaven, is the country’s entertainment centre. Blending culture, history and commercialism together, the Ezulwini Valley is perfect for souvenir hunting. You most likely to find unique works of art such as pottery, wooden and glass sculptures beaded crafts, hand-woven baskets and more.
Festivities such as the Incwana and Reed Dance are gaining international popularity, which takes place between August and December, depending on astrological alignment. You can also visit the National Museum and King Sobuza II memorial park. If history intrigues you, then visit the Nyonyane Mountains; the granite peaks are referred to as the “Rock of Execution” where the San people once roamed and where it is believed that criminals were supposedly punished to death.
EXPLORE THE LAND: Enjoy a horse ride along the Usutu River. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary allows you to follow in the footsteps of ancient hunters by exploring the land through self guided walking safari. Open drives safaris, horse trails, mountain biking are all on offer for you to explore the lands from different perspectives."
Mbabane and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is ideal for those wishing to get off the beaten track and gain a sense of rural Africa.
Colonial themed lodges are popular options to accommodate visitors. On the other hand, if elegance and pampering is what you are after, you will not be disappointed because a five star luxury hotel room is not out of reach. Family and royal suites are all on offered, including treatments at the spa.
The terrain from Mbabane to Mlilwane Wilflife Sanctuary consists of mountain high veld to middle veld; which is dominated predominantly by open grass plains.
"After the British won the Anglo-Boer war, Swaziland became its protectorate, and as a result, Mbabane became the administrative capital. The history of Mlilwane, on the other hand, is not as straightforward. Previously, Mlilwane belonged to Mickey Reilly and his family. After the near disappearance of wildlife in the area, the Reilly family decided to donate the land to the Swaziland in 1969, in the aim of conserving the country’s wildlife.
As such, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary was born and became the first conservation area within the borders of Swaziland. Mickey Reilly son, Ted, became the sanctuary’s first warden, whom with the help of the monarch and international support, transformed the thriving sanctuary into what it is today. "