Exploring Tourism in Swaziland
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Mantenga Nature Reserve

Ezulwini Valley,, Swaziland

In the picturesque Ezulwini Valley, Mantenga Nature Reserve offers a fun taste of Swazi nature and culture. This compact 725-hectare reserve is home to the Mantenga Cultural Village, a recreation of Swazi life in the 1850s. Here, visitors can take guided tours to learn about Swazi culture and customs, participate in activities such as plaiting mountain grass and grinding grains, and watch impressive performances of traditional song and dance.

A highlight of the reserve is the stunning Mantenga Falls, Swaziland's most famous falls with the biggest volume of water. The reserve also protects wildlife such as baboons, vervet monkeys, bush babies, porcupines, rock hyraxes, servals, leopards, and various species of antelope, as well as an abundance of birds. Visitors can explore the reserve on foot, in their own vehicles, or on mountain bike.

he Mantenga Falls are Eswatini’s best-known falls, and the largest in terms of volume of water (95m high).

his is despite the construction of the Luphohlo Dam some 15 km upstream, where water was diverted for electricity generation. Visitors can explore the reserve by foot, on mountain bikes or by car, and there is also a shady picnic site adjacent to the river below the falls. Conservation Despite Mantenga’s small size, a large number of medium-sized mammals are flourishing there. There are Vervet monkey, baboon, Bushpig, porcupine, otter, rock dassie and bushbaby. One predator that has been sighted is the serval; leopards are possibly present. Buck include kudu, nyala, klipspringer, grey and red duiker.

Mantenga is an Eswatini National Trust Commission property and one of Eswatini’s (Swaziland’s) top tourist attractions. It centres upon the picturesque Mantenga Falls and incorporates a cultural village, where Swazi history, culture and tradition are brought alive for visitors.

Set against the scenic backdrop of Nyonyane mountain, this replica mid-19th Century Swazi village, constructed using authentic materials and techniques, is one of the country’s most popular attractions. For a modest fee, visitors may wander the village at leisure. A guided tour will reveal much more, from how the huts are built and what each is used for, to the role played by the sangoma, or traditional healer. Among the huts you will meet the villagers, including women preparing food, plaiting grass and making traditional beadwork, all for sale. At a small showground behind the village a dance troop performs traditional sibhaca routines twice daily. It’s a lively show, comprising vigorous high-kicking, pulsating drumming and some rousing singing. After a couple of hours wandering around the village and watching the dancing, the drinks and refreshments at the Swazi River Café are very welcome.

This small reserve protects a tract of unspoilt woodland along the Lushushwane river. As well as the Cultural Village at its entrance, the reserve’s prime attraction is Mantenga Falls, Swaziland’s largest waterfall by volume. The river tumbles over a rock shelf before cascading via a series of pools along the reserve’s southern boundary with Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

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