Africa’s smallest country is perhaps one of the most beautiful. The Kingdom of Swaziland boasts magnificent scenery from rivers, waterfalls and gorges, unique rock formations, which are among the world’s most ancient, lush and fertile valleys, plus typical African bush.
Made up of the Highveld, Middleveld and Lowveld, Swaziland’s terrain changes dramatically. The Highveld is comprised of hills, waterfalls and great buttresses of ancient rock, giving the country a dramatic and impressive landscape. The Middleveld is made up of the bush and the savanna. The Lowveld is bush country sitting as low as 21m above sea level. Although much drier than the other areas, it is home to vast, heavily irrigated sugar estates.
There is so much scenery to discover and enjoy in Swaziland. The striking Nyonyane Mountain, where ancient Bushmen once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated, has an exposed granite peak known as the Execution Rock, due to the graves.
Along the eastern border, forming a natural barrier between Swaziland and Mozambique, is a line of rugged volcanic hills known as the Lubombos, which rise abruptly from the Lowveld to about 600meters. These hills are made up of a number of ridges broken by deep gorges where the Usutu, Ngwavuma and Mbuluzi rivers carve through to the Indian Ocean.
The Mahamba Gorge, which lies west of Nhlangano, offers excellent photographic opportunities, and no wonder. Giant hamerkop nests are found in the forest on the short, easy trail to the “beach” on the river banks.
Another beauty of Swaziland, just one hour south of Mbabane through the fertile and beautiful Malkerns Valley to Mankayane, one of Swaziland’s oldest towns, one will reach the most ruggedly striking areas of Swaziland. The Ngwempisi River has sliced its way through the sandstone and shale of the Ntfungulu Hills to create the Ngwempisi Gorge. Here flatlands and undulating hills range from a mere 50 meters to 800 meters above sea level.
One of Swaziland’s most amazing natural phenomenons is Sibebe Rock, the largest exposed granite pluton in the world. Although different in their geology, Sibebe Rock is second only to Ayers Rock in Australia as the largest freestanding rock in the world.
Swaziland is a strikingly beautiful country and visitors to this African gem will always have a memorable and satisfying experience. The stunning landscapes of mountains and valleys, forests and plains, plus wildlife reserves across the country that are home to The Big Five, this nation is all that’s best about Africa in one small but perfectly formed and welcoming country.