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With an area of just over 17,000 sq km (smaller than the Kruger National Park), Swaziland may be the smallest country in the southern hemisphere but it has myriad African landscapes – all of which can be seen from the top of Mlembe (1862 m), a mountain on the country’s western border. Before independence in 1968, Swaziland was plundered by European gold prospectors in the 19th century but, unlike South Africa, huge fortunes were never really made here and even throughout the colonial period, the government was more or less left in the hands of the royal family. Today Swaziland remains one of only three monarchies left in Africa.
On the whole, Swaziland is an accessible country to visit; it has moderate temperatures all year round, you can travel between highveld and lowveld in a day, and none of the major sights are more than a two-hour drive away. Â Thanks to some pioneering conservationists, effective anti-poaching initiatives and animal restocking, Swaziland’s game parks have improved dramatically in recent years..ÂRead more
The game reserves in Swaziland are rather over-shadowed by Kruger which is only a short drive away. However, the private game reserve at Mkhaya is one of the best places in Africa to see black rhino and Malolotja offers some challenging opportunities for hikers. The amazing mountain scenery is a relatively undiscovered, top hiking area, where a good network of trails has been developed in recent years. The Mbuluzi Gorge in Mlawula Nature Reserve is a little-visited region with over 300 recorded species of birds and a new network of hiking trails.Â
The Swazi people are friendly and expert craft makers, producing a wealth of high-quality African curios. Compared to South Africa, Swaziland is a country where tribal values, craftsmanship and royal loyalty have withstood the test of encroaching modernization.Â