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Swaziland Culture And History Tours

Swaziland Culture And History Tours Packages
Country: Swaziland
City: Guided Tours
Duration: 10 Day(s) - 9 Night(s)
Tour Category: Game Viewing

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USD 2,800 / Per Person

Package Itinerary

Swaziland Overland Tour- 9 Nights / 10 Days

Day1: Enter Swaziland- All meals-Included!

Depart Durban Aiport-King Shaka or St Lucia after breakfast and drive to Swaziland Golela Border Post, and we enter the Kingdom of Swaziland and visit the small rural village of Maplotini situated at a very small town called Lavumisa. Get a chance to interact with the locals and also visit the Pre-School that was built by the Donations received from the tourist and we can also donate to them!

Then we drive to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The huts have the feel of traditional Swazi homesteads with grass dome-shaped huts arranged in semicircles, central log fires and seating areas, all semi-enclosed by traditional Swazi kraal fencing. Huts are en suite and in keeping with the surrounding area. One of the attractive features of the Rest Camp is the Hippo Haunt Restaurant which overlooks the Hippo Pool providing good, wholesome meals including venison.

The restaurant consists of a cosy inside area with a fireplace and comfortable couches as well as two outside wooden deck areas where one can enjoy meals and drinks from the bar. There will probably be traditional dancing this night or at least on the other nights that you are at Mlilwane.

This is great to watch and it is certainly worth having your cameras ready for it. The dancers will ask for a tip at the end, about R20 is fine. The dancing is done by the local staff and is initiated by them a few years back, so they organise everything and none of the management has anything to do with it. They start traditional dancing, immediately after supper, so around 7:30 PM.

Overnight in Beehive Huts.

Day 2: Mlilwane Reserve- All meals-Included!

After breakfast, we depart Lodge and go for Game Drive. 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 a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middle veld 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 and 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 hippos and crocodiles to sun themselves. Seldom seen, but present in the reserve is 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, by 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. History Mlilwane is Swaziland's oldest protected area owned and managed by a non-profit-making trust. Formerly a productive mixed farming operation, with extensive tin mining in the low foothills of the Nyonyane Mountains, the Sanctuary has been rehabilitated and is now Swaziland's most frequently visited reserve where one can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the abundant wildlife that grace the plains.

Mlilwane gave birth to the concept of nature conservation in the Kingdom but is also the root of virtually all that is nature conservation in Swaziland today. Ted Reilly, having witnessed the disappearance of wildlife in the years he was growing up, turned his 450 ha family farm, Mlilwane, into the Sanctuary as we know it today. Mlilwane has since grown to 10 times its original size, through the support of the Monarchy, international support and true individual dedication.

Overnight in Beehive Huts.

Day 3: Mantenga Reserve, Mantenga Village and Mantenga Waterfalls-All meals-Included!

Another leisurely start to the day, maybe a bit of bird watching by the waterhole or a stroll to see if the hippos are out sunning themselves. We then leave the park to go to Mantenga Reserve, only a short drive away. Mantenga is located behind the mountains of Mlilwane where there is a stunning waterfall and a traditional village where you can learn about the Swazi culture and how a traditional village is set you.

Local villagers will show you around, explaining the roles of the head man and his wives, their first born and son and daughter and the traditional healer. It gives valuable insight into Swazi Life...

You will be greeted here and when there are enough people they will be a guided tour around a traditional village. Here you will learn about Swazi traditional life and what the roles and responsibilities of each family member are. After this there is also another opportunity to see traditional dancing – this is really good as it is excellent for photographic opportunities because it is done during the daytime.

This is performed twice daily once at 11.15 AM and the other at 15.15 PM. So it is always a good idea to try and tie in your educational tour with the traditional dancing after this you can drive to Mantenga falls, which is quite a pretty spot to look at as well.

After your guided explanation of a Swazi village, there is time to watch more dancing, the singing is also extraordinary, harmoniously blended to provide a wonderful spectacle. And this is a brilliant opportunity for photos too.

After this, there is the chance to swim in Mantenga Waterfalls or simply watch others do it! The water is refreshing and it is a wonderful place to take a dip. As we return there is the chance to spend a bit of time in the Interpretation centre at the Mlilwane entrance gate, where you can view sculls and other interesting pieces and read about rhino salvage operations, Swaziland’s heritage, poaching and anti-poaching efforts.

There is a great piece about how the reserve was set up and the importance of the Mlilwane in preserving Swaziland's wildlife. A sundowner drive is a must for the end of the day.

A short walk to the top of Execution Rocks gives a stunning view of the surrounding area, giving you a perspective of Mlilwane that not many see. But do be careful, in the olden days, if there had been an unlawful act, the culprits were thrown off the top!

Overnight at Mantenga Reserve.

Day 4: Lobamba Cultural Tour- All meals-Included!

Cost! After breakfast with a view over the Ezulwini Valley — also known as the Valley of Heaven — we head to the urban village of Lobamba, which is also known as the cultural capital of Swaziland. A local guide will take us on a walk through the community and tell us about life in an urban village in Swaziland. History, local culture, and world influence will be visible on this informative tour. After the village tour, we take off towards the Lowveld of Swaziland. The visit to the historical museum and the parliament. Lunch at a local restaurant.

Overnight Mantenga Reserve.

Day 5: City Tour and Ngwenya Glass Factory – All Meals-Included!

After a leisurely breakfast overlooking the hippo pool, it is time to pack bags and move on to discover more about Swaziland. Driving through Mlilwane one last time, make sure you say goodbye to the fish eagles, hippos and crocs. Your journey takes you to the highlands of Swaziland, passing by the capital city Mbabane. On the way to Hawane, there is an opportunity to stop at the famous Ngwenya Glass Making factory.

Here you can see glass being blown and shaped into glassware such as wine glasses, sculptured animals like lion and giraffe and extraordinary vases. Ngwenya also has a number of other shops and traditional artefacts which you can buy as gifts or for yourself. Here we can also stop for lunch before moving on to Hawane. Make sure you go upstairs to the glass factory to have a look at the workers working below.

The breath-taking beauty of the area and its spectacular views transport visitors into a multi-dimensional experience which offers as much adventure, solitude, adrenaline or tranquillity as desired. And if the stunning views aren't enough to keep you entertained, we have a fully equipped games room and toys for indoor and out that will amuse all ages. There is also a swimming pool too. Spend the afternoon exploring the local area, maybe a walk or cycle ride to see some of the local homesteads. In the evening there is a treat in store for you.

Our renowned restaurant, The Taste of Africa, is run by the well-known Ugandan chef, Richard Wangoolo is not only a culinary delight, and it is part of the Hawane experience. Thatch, intertwined wood and our huge central fireplace provide the warmth while our step-down glass porch with seating brings in the light. African-fusion cuisine from across the continent graces the menu with a wide selection of vegetarian and spiced dishes to suit all palettes. The beautiful thatched chalets are an inspired mix of materials providing sophisticated comfort with a traditional African flair.

They are en-suite with a blend of traditional Swazi materials and glass panelled front walls creating a beautiful combination of warmth and light. The feather pillows, down duvets, sheets, and linen mixed with hessian and printed cloth complete the cultural/contemporary synthesis unique to our style.

Overnight Hawane Chalets.

Day 6: Malolotja Reserve- All meals-Included!

Today is an opportunity to explore Malolotja. Malolotja Nature Reserve is one of the most impressive mountain parks in Southern Africa and is the largest proclaimed protected area in the Kingdom and the only reserve in Swaziland that offers Canopy Tours! The spectacular scenery and the variety of fauna and flora make it a prime highveld conservation area. It is the last unspoilt mountain wilderness left in Swaziland. This is where you can do the canopy tour if you choose to do so or just hiking.

The restaurant and information centre are located near to where all the log cabins are, very obvious to find. Again on your left-hand side the range in altitude from the top of Ngwenya Mountain, Swaziland's second-highest mountain (1829 m), to the deep Nkomati River Valley (640 m) accounts both for the mild temperate climate and a great variety of habitats; from short grassland to thick riverine scrub, bushveld and moist Afro-montane forest. The extensive grassy hillsides and rocky ridges lend themselves to some excellent game viewing with backdrops unrivalled in southern Africa.

The views in Malolotja are stunning, something similar to bring Tolkien’s book 'Lord of the Rings. And if a dragon rose up from behind the mountain range, you probably wouldn't be too surprised! Here there is an opportunity to do a morning hike in the hills keeping an eye out for the unique flora and fauna in the area. Game Drive to be seen includes Eland, Blesbok, Black Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Common Reedbuck, Grey Rhebok, Red Hartebeest, Oribi, Klipspringer and Zebra. The rare Aardwolf and the elusive Antbear also occur in the reserve. Predators include Leopard, Serval, Caracal and Black-backed Jackal.

Overnight Hawane Chalets.

Day 7: Bushman’s Paintings - All meals-Included!

This is a full-day excursion guided hiking to see Bushman Paintings Called Nsangwini Rock Painting. The Komati Valley has also sustained human life for many centuries and its many caves and rock overhangs bear testimony to this in the San Rock Art that adorns them.

The Nsangwini Rock Paintings are the only rock paintings that are open for visitors to see, the remaining British paintings in the country are nationally preserved and fully protected. The amazing paintings that the San have left are all that remains of their history in Swaziland and depict lifestyles which remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

They are painted on flat rock walls of exposed grey to light yellow sandstone and the rock art found in Swaziland has not been dated but is thought to be more than 4000 years old! Return to Hawane after yet another wonderfully inspiring day.

Overnight Hawane Chalets.

Day 8: Shewula Community- All meals-Included!

This is probably your longest day for driving, about 2-3 hours travelling through the northern part of Swaziland. Here you will see lots of communities living in a sustainable way and truly experiencing life in Swaziland. There will always be people to greet you as you travel along the dusty roads. This becomes dirt, but do not worry about it. The road carries on winding through small communities and make sure that you feel at home. 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 and Mlawula, and Hlane game parks. Maputo can be seen on a clear day at 100km away view. Arriving in the afternoon, there is a chance to meet the camp staff and settle into accommodation.

There will be a chance to sit down and drink tea with the local Swazis and really get to learn about the local way of life. There may even be a chance to learn a bit of the local language. Enjoy a mouth-watering BBQ-barbeque-braai or a meal of your choice cooked in a traditional style. Here you can truly appreciate the wonders of the night sky, stargazing is a must here.

Set on the magnificent Lebombos Plateau, Shewula Mountain Camp provides you with an opportunity to experience the traditional Swazi lifestyle in a beautiful natural setting. Comfortably rested in a rustic yet modern rondavel. Each rondavel has a number of beds in it, some of which are en suite.

Overnight in Shewula Mountain Camp.

Day 9: Hlane Royal National Park- All meals-Included!

After breakfast, we depart Shewula Camp and we head to Hlane Royal National Park. On arrival, you kick off with a 1 or 2.5-hour guided walk to see the game up close on foot. This is undertaken under the guidance of a Hlane park ranger or optional game- viewing with an open vehicle tour of the big game where again regular close game viewing and photographic opportunities.

This tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours. Then Lunch at the Ndlovu Hlane at the Hlane Park, the Ndlovu has an amazing open-air restaurant and a game-viewing deck where you can gaze at the African animals enjoying the waterhole.

Overnight in Ndlovu Camp.

Day 10: Breakfast- Included!

After breakfast, we depart for Manzini Airport.

END OF SWAZILAND TOUR!

Included:

All Accommodations
Breakfasts
2 x Airport or Hotel Transfers
All entry Fees
Driver Guide
All Activities
Bottled Water 2x per day

Excluded:

Personal Expenses + Insurances
All Alcoholic + Soft Drinks
Tips to Guides

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