13 Days from$3,562 p/p in USD
Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) welcomes families with its friendly attitude, safe and secure environment and range of activities ideal for families; mountain biking, self-guided or guided hiking, horse riding in the reserves, the opportunity to visit schools and the local traditional healer. For the truly adventurous there are opportunities for the family to camp out under the African starlit sky. Short driving distances mean it is not too exhausting for younger members and with its up close and personal game viewing opportunities, you can be sure of unique and educational family holiday to Swaziland.
Safari types:Family Safari, Wildlife Safari
You will visit:Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Hlane Royal National Park, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Lubombo Plateau, Mbuluzi Game Reserve
Wildlife:Birds, Zebra, Giraffe, Antelope, Lion, Leopard, White Rhino, Black Rhino, Hippo, Crocodile, Waterbuck, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest, Warthog, Hyena
Activities:Game Drive, Walking Safari, Horse , Nature Walk, Sightseeing Tour, Optional Activities, Village Visit, Birding
Getting around:4x4 Safari Vehicle
Start/end:Start in Johannesburg, self-drive to Swaziland, end in Johannesburg
- Traditional Dancing
- Adventurous Activities
- Community Stay
- Lion Safari
- Search for Black Rhino
At a Glance
- Price: from £2,200 per person
- Group size: 3 to 5 persons
- Duration: 13 nights in Swaziland, 2 nights of air travel
- Accommodation: Traditional, comfortable and unique accommodation
- Transport: Self-drive 4×4 between reserves and open land rovers within reserves
- Weather: Temperature range of 12-26
Rates – Per Person GBP
From £2,200 per person
- International flights to and from Johannesburg
- Car hire
- Back up
- Park fees
- Safari activities
- Insurance to cover for cancellation and curtailment, medical, baggage, emergency evacuation
- Additional meals, drinks, optional activities
- Visas and requirements where necessary
- Tips and items of a personal nature (curios, gifts, etc)
Day by Day Overview
Mlilwane is Swaziland’s oldest protected area and gave birth to the concept of nature conservation in the Kingdom. Enjoy the unique opportunity to walk amongst zebra and antelope or sip a gin and tonic and watch the hippo. See traditional dancing and visit local markets to watch curios being created by hand.
Arriving early in the morning in Johannesburg you can collect your car and drive to Swaziland which will take about 4.5 hrs. The roads are easy to follow and drive on, a detailed map will be given. Driving to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is an easy journey and before arriving at your accommodation you will see that this is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Mlilwane is Swaziland’s pioneer conservation area, a beautiful, secluded sanctuary situated in Swaziland’s ‘Valley of Heaven’, the Ezulwini Valley, with the huge Usutu Forest providing a dramatic backdrop stretching into the distant hills. The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares and comprises of a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto the striking Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the ‘Rock of Execution’. Nyonyane is where ancient San once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated giving historical significance.
As you drive through the reserve you will realise that you are already on your first game drive. Keep an eye out for the abundant bird life, nesting water birds and animal species such as hippo, crocodile, zebra, blue wildebeest, kudu, nyala, impala, warthog, waterbuck and a host of antelope. Driving across the dam, make sure that you look on the island, on the far right, as this is a popular place for hippo and crocodile to sun themselves. Seldom seen, but present in the reserve are the ever elusive leopard and a variety of smaller mammals like bushbaby, mongoose, aardwolf, genet, porcupine and civet. If you see one of these then you are exceptionally lucky!
On arrival there is time to check into your accommodation and then discover Mlilwane at your own pace. You can explore the Sanctuary by foot, vehicle, on horseback and on mountain bikes. Those who simply want to relax can sit back in camp and enjoy the tranquillity of nature. The choice is yours.
Accommodation: The huts have the feel of traditional Swazi huts overlooking the bushveld. They are tastefully designed with en-suite bathroom and in keeping with the surrounding area. It is a tranquil and relaxing place with a continual stream of animals such as impala, warthog and nyala walking outside your room.
On the way to Malolotja we suggest you visit Ngwenya Glass factory where you can watch recycled glass being blown and shaped into unique glassware such as wine glasses, sculptured animals and extraordinary vases. Ngwenya also has a number of local shops where it is possible to buy traditional artefacts and visit a lovely cafe. Malolotja Nature Reserve is one of the most impressive mountain parks in Southern Africa and is the largest protected area in the Kingdom. The spectacular scenery and variety of fauna and flora makes it a prime highveld conservation area. The views in Malolotja are stunning, something similar to settings described in Tolkein’s book ‘Lord of the Rings’. Enjoy the peace and solitude of the location, a truly undiscovered gem.
In Malolotja you can hike the well-marked trails by yourself, using the maps provided, or walk to one of the incredible view-points to watch the wildlife. There is also the chance to participate in the unique Canopy Tour®, the only zip wire in the Kingdom, which offers dramatic scenery of striking rock formations, towering cliff faces and views across the lush forest canopy towards the Malolotja mountain peaks. It’s an experience not to be missed! From Malolotja there is also the opportunity to see the Nsangwini Rock Paintings, the only rock paintings that are open to visitors, as the other remaining bushman paintings in the country are fully protected. They are painted on flat rock walls of exposed grey to light yellow sandstone and are thought to be more than 4,000 years old! Be prepared, the walk down to see them is quite steep. In the evening light your own fire under the starlit sky and braai (BBQ) your supper in the wilderness, there is nothing quite like it.
Accommodation: The log cabins are cosy and delightful with two bedrooms, five beds, one bathroom, an indoor fireplace, a kitchen and private outdoor braai pit. A single bed is on a mezzanine platform accessed by a ladder. The views from the cabins are stunning and overlook the mountain range. Dining under the stars here is an absolute treat. Firewood is provided, and the tranquility of the area is mind blowing.
Shewula Mountain Camp is the first community eco-tourism project in Swaziland 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. The camp is a vital source of income and employment for the community and is a proud achievement for all. Shewula Mountain Camp straddles the 500 metre high Lubombo Mountains with a 100 km panoramic view of Swaziland encompassing nearby Mbuluzi, Mlawula and Hlane game parks.
Allow the local camp staff to take you to their own homes, and walk you through the community, learning about a traditional way of life. The Shewula community are 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 and appreciate the natural splendour of the Lubombo conservancy. Shewula is there to make your stay as interesting and diverse as possible. You will be welcomed into homesteads where you chat with the locals and truly immerse yourselves into Swazi life.
The camp staff can arrange visits to schools, time with local children, siSwati lessons, dancing, football matches, visits to local clinics, participating in a church service (if you are there on a Sunday) and also the rare opportunity to meet the local sangoma. The sangoma is a very powerful person in the Swazi culture and possess healing powers as well as being able to read into the future. Shewula has carefully organized this visit in a manner that is both respectful to the traditional Swazi way of life as well as informative to the visitors. This experience will certainly open your eyes and possibly leave you wondering…
Shewula is a catered or self-catered stay. We recommend that you have at least one supper cooked by the ladies of the camp so that you can taste a scrumptious meal created using nothing but local produce; mouth watering. Afterwards there is time for you to truly appreciate the wonders of the night sky, stargazing is a must here. Drink tea with the local Swazis and really get to learn about the local way, a genuine experience is awaiting you at Shewula.
Accommodation: Set on the magnificent Lubombo Plateau, Shewula Mountain Camp provides you with an opportunity to experience the traditional Swazi lifestyle in a beautiful natural setting. Comfortably nestled in a rustic yet modern rondavel (round hut), you will find your worries and stresses slipping away and replaced with a sense of serenity. Each rondavel has either 2, 3 or 4 beds. Some are en-suite while the ablution block has inspiring views stretching over the Lubombo Conservancy.
Mbuluzi Game Reserve is a bushveld paradise in the north eastern lowveld of Swaziland, named after the majestic Mbuluzi River. It lies in the foothills of the Lubombo Mountains forming part of the 60,000 hectare Lubombo Conservancy. It is beautiful driving around Mbuluzi with its great self-drive roads (just check which ones you can use) as well as a number of river crossings, which are not deep and are easy to cross with the vehicle. Yoy can stop any time, get out of your vehicle and walk if you want to. One of the main attractions are the giraffes, the largest herds found in the Kingdom. It’s possible to walk within these herds without disturbing them; getting up close to these magnificent animals is certainly something to remember.
The reserve is very well managed and you will probably find that you are the only people here – so definitely make the most of this exclusivity and enjoy the spectacular surroundings. Mbuluzi is a unique game reserve encompassing some of Swaziland’s most pristine bush veld with its variety of landscapes and excellent bio-diversity. Mbuluzi offers a very diverse habitat of rocky ridges, knobthorn savannah and riparian forest. There are many kilometres of well-marked and maintained trails offering visitors a choice of short strolls or all day hikes, and hikers are free to explore the area at their own time and pace. Bird and game watching along the walking trails can be very rewarding and with its diverse topography, in a single morning’s walk you can move from the riparian foliage along the river to boulder-strewn hill tops with lovely views over the conservancy.
Common species include giraffe, zebra, kudu, blue wildebeest, nyala, impala, warthog amongst others. Leopard, hyena and of course crocodiles make up the major predator population.
Accommodation: The camp has unique luxury tents each with an en suite bathroom and fantastic outdoor showers. The thatched kitchen/lounge area is well equipped with a huge veranda area. An inviting swimming pool adds to the picture. The Tented Lodge has been designed and built with the natural environment in mind; the Lodge is sensitively positioned on the banks of the Mlawula River, overlooking steep cliffs where baboons, bushbuck and kudu can be watched from the comfort of a deck chair.
In the vast bushveld expanse of eastern Swaziland where the hot, still sun of Africa beats on the dry but life-giving soil lies Swaziland’s largest protected area, Hlane Royal National Park. Hlane is home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom and at night you go to sleep listening to the rumbling roars of lion. Upon entering the park drive to Ndlovu Camp, which is named after the elephants that are often seen drinking from the nearby waterhole. The first thing you should do is to walk to the water hole, as you never know what is there; often there are white rhino and maybe hippo, crocs and a host of antelope too.
Hlane Royal covers 30,000 hectares of Swazi bushveld, dominated by ancient hardwood vegetation, and is one of the best places in Swaziland to see wildlife on a regular basis. It offers fantastic sightings of white rhino – Swaziland claims to be the best place to see white rhino in the world – as well as lion, elephant, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, hyena and large populations of zebra, wildebeest and impala. There’s an abundant and diverse bird life, including the highest density of nesting white backed vultures in Africa.
There is a network of self-drive game viewing roads that criss-cross the park’s flat terrain, weaving between the 1,000 year old hardwood vegetation and shallow pans which attract great herds of animals during the dry winter months. Guided walking safaris, mountain biking and game drives in Hlane’s open Land Rovers are available. Head for the bush and experience the sights and sounds of Hlane against the roar of its magnificent lions – the symbol of royalty and the pride of Swaziland. Pedal amongst wildlife (not where the lions are!) and in between giant trees. The mountain bikes can be hired on an hourly basis and are accompanied by a Swazi field guide.
A visit to Mahlindza Waterhole is highly recommended where there is a bird hide overlooking the water where enormous herds of impala and other ungulates congregate. Spot the resident crocodiles along with maribu storks and fish eagles. We advise taking a picnic here; you could spend the whole day here and not realise it! Nearby to Hlane is Mbuluzi Game Reserve which encompasses some of Swaziland’s most pristine bush-veld with a variety of landscapes and excellent bio-diversity. Here there are many kilometres of well-marked and maintained trails offering visitors a choice of short strolls or all day hikes and hikers are free to explore the area at their 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.
Simunye Country Club is recommended for lunch, the food here is excellent, and a dip in the swimming pool to cool off from the heat of the day is a brilliant idea! At Ndlovu Camp, there is an open-air restaurant and a game-viewing deck where you can sit back and enjoy the view of the waterhole – a perfect place for sundowners, tasty meals and relaxation. The food in the evenings is diverse and often game meat is available. The camp is open, has no electricity and is reminiscent of the old Kruger National Park rest camps, with abundant bird life and a relaxed communal atmosphere. Sundowners here are a must!
Accommodation: Ndlovu Camp has delightful en-suite twin rondavels near to Ndlovu waterhole. The twin rooms are beautifully designed and set in the bush away from the main part of the camp. There are often impala wandering through the area and each rondavel has its own veranda. There is no electricity in the camp and paraffin lights are provided giving a wonderful atmosphere to your room. Be lulled to sleep by the distant roar of lion.