What an interesting December it has been, with weather that’s been a tropical somersault, adventures that have been exhilarating and experiences that are totally worth writing home about. If you visited Eswatini this festive season, we have absolutely enjoyed hosting you in our pristine little country and although the post-Christmas days mark a looming end to your holiday, let me reassure you that the fun isn’t entirely over yet. Summer is only in its prime and because we understand how much you enjoy creating memories for your hearts and socials too; we have put together a list of six must see places you cannot end your holidays without.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
I am super outdoorsy and a self-proclaimed nature freak too so there was no way I could have a list that didn’t have a nature reserve in it. Just think horse riding through rugged bush, hiking up scenic trails, cycling through the veld, visiting watering holes or simply enjoying a sunset game drive; That’s Mlilwane for you. Take a short right off the MR103 just before the Mahlanya Market and open yourself up to one of the country’s most beloved reserves. Although you won’t spot the big five there, as they only have small game, you will still undeniably find a tranquillity that is indescribably unmatched.
Malolotja Tree top canopy
Look, I’m no adrenaline junkie or anything like that, but I know a good thrill when I see it and the canopy tour might as well be considered synonymous. Forget bungee jumping off the Soweto towers and open yourself up to zip lining through one of our most picturesque reserves. Whizzing through tree tops and above rivers and wildlife that lie below. Try something you’ve never done before at least once in your life. Or twice, depending on how much you enjoy it.
The next best thing after our iconic valley view is the Sibebe one. Second largest monolith in the world and one of the most gruelling yet satisfying summits ever (Ask our locals who participate in the annual Sibebe Survivor) this place is a must see. Recently, the Sibebe resort opened its doors to the public, with a gorgeous landscape, stunning fauna and flora and a world class cuisine restaurant. I don’t know about you but the thought of dining while overlooking the gorgeous pine valley road and white watered rivers sounds pretty amazing to me. Your bucket list will remain incomplete without this one particular stop.
I honestly don’t know what summer would be without losing your heart on a dance floor and swaying against the heat of a waning evening and thumping music. Solani’s shisanyama is a mood you want to be in 24/7. Think kasi vibes, colourful drinks and old-school flame grilled meat. Don’t leave Mbabane without partying up a storm with the locals.
Mantenga Craft and lifestyle centre
I went on a date just the other week and I still cannot describe the excitement I felt when Mantenga turned out to be our destination. Located in the touristic hub, the Ezulwini Valley, this centre is a wonderland of different experiences; from jewellery shops to art and craft stores. Restaurants and cafés. It even has a wine boutique with an excellent collection for all us enthusiasts and if you’re still in the summer vibe of barbeques and delicious food, then you’re going to enjoy the umgcwembe platter from the Smoke & Grill. This space is all things bohemian and hippie, so if that’s your kinda party, I encourage you to be sure to swing by and explore.
If you’ve never attended the iconic music fest Bushfire or if you happened to miss the Merry Malandela’s Christmas market earlier this month, then this would be a perfect time for you to finally visit this legendary place. Take a drive down to Malkerns and discover why it remains an undisputed tourist haven. Enjoy the eye-catching artsy themed décor or sip on cocktails in their restaurant. Stretch out on their lawn or buy beautiful batiks at Baobab. Do it all if you must.
Wanderlust is the most wonderful thing that could ever grab hold of you. Trust me, I should know. I have days when I feel like packing a bag and catching buses that lead to places I didn’t even know existed. May our dirt paths and highways be the stories of tomorrow that you’ll never tire of telling long after you’ve made your way home.