Exploring Tourism in Swaziland
icon Worldwideicon
Places to Visit Details

Lebombo Mountains.

Manzini, Swaziland

In northwest Swaziland, the 18,000-hectare Malolotja Nature Reserve is the largest protected area in the country. The name means "river with many rapids and waterfalls" for the reserve is sliced by the Malolotja River, which forms a series of waterfalls, including the country's highest cascades, the Malolotja Falls. Habitats range from wetlands and grasslands to thick riverine forest, and wildflowers brighten the beautiful landscapes in spring and summer. One of the best features of the reserve for visitors is its network of hiking trails and many backpacker camps allowing multi-day wilderness treks. The fauna is particularly notable for the abundance of reptiles and birds, including breeding groups of endangered species such as blue crane and bald ibis. Resident mammals include rock hydrates, eland, and zebra, among others. A fun way to experience the reserve is by soaring through the forest on the Treetop Canopy Tour zip line.

About a 40-minute drive northeast from here, Phophonyane Falls Eco Lodge and Nature Reserve claims the motto: "Peace, Privacy, and Paradise." The reserve protects an astounding diversity of habitats in a relatively small area with lush forests, rivers, waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails. A visit here offers a tranquil escape into the beautiful Swazi countryside. Guests can choose from safari tents, beehive huts, or self-catering cottages.

The Lebombo Mountains, also called Lubombo Mountains (Portuguese: Montes Libombos), are an 800 km-long (500 mi), narrow range of mountains in Southern Africa. They stretch from Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal in the south to Punda Maria in the Limpopo Province in South Africa in the north. Parts of the mountain range are also found in Mozambique and Eswatini.

Geologically, the range is considered a monocline; part of a rifted volcanic margin.[1] The Lebombo monocline was aligned with the Explora Escarpment off-shore Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, before the break-up of Gondwana.[2] The Lebombo monocline strikes N-S and dips to the east. It is composed of a sequence of Jurassic age volcanic rock, both basaltic lavas and rhyolitic flows and tuffs. The sequence rests on essentially horizontal Karoo Supergroup sedimentary rocks of the Kalahari Craton to the west and is overlain by Cretaceous to recent sediments to the east. The alternating resistant rhyolite and easily eroded basalts produce a series of parallel sharp cuesta ridges separated by savanna plains.[3]

The range is relatively low with heights between 400 m (1,300 ft) and less than 800 m (2,600 ft). The highest peak is the 776 m-high (2,546 ft) Mount Mananga. The 480 m-high (1,570 ft) Longwe is the highest point in the Lebombo Range north of the Letaba River.[4]

The mountains dominate Lubombo District in Eswatini. Towns in the area include Siteki in the centre, Lubhuku in the west and Mayaluka and Big Bend in the south with the Lusutfu River running past the southern region of the mountain range. At the north lie the towns of Simunye, Tambankulu and Namaacha, and the Mlawula Nature Reserve as well as the Mbuluzi River.

A number of rivers, including the Pongola, Mkuze, and Lusutfu, cross the mountains from west to east.

The name of the mountains is derived from the Zulu word ubombo meaning "big nose ie trunk".

Check out more Places to Visit