Hear about traveling to Eswatini as the amateur traveler tells Sam and Theo about the small African country (formerly known as Swaziland) that they both called home.
Sam says: “I feel like Eswatini is, I wouldn’t even say, an underrated country, but I feel like when people think about going to the African continent, Eswatini is seen as a country that you can cross on your way. to perhaps a larger country and region. I hope for a day when people say, no, I want to travel the world just to go to Eswatini and then maybe take the time to go to different cities in South Africa or Mozambique. I think this country has so much to offer, beautiful people, good food, beautiful landscapes. Any type of excursion you are looking for, you can find it here. I really think this country is all good things in a small place.
Theo is originally from Eswatini and Sam worked with the Peace Corps in Eswatini for 3 years. So they bring their knowledge of places to go and things to do in Eswatini throughout this small country.
For the the best things to do in Eswatini, they start us off with two different safari experiences. Hlane Royal National Park in eastern Eswatini is more like a typical African safari experience. Go there if you want to see the big 5. But Sam actually prefers Hlane Royal National Park in the western part of the country, which has fewer predators, so you can explore the park by bike or on foot. There is also a zipline canopy tour experience in Malolotja.
Théo invites us to visit the markets and meet the inhabitants of his hometown (and capital of the country), Mbabane. Take the time to visit to Mbabanethen head south to some popular tourist attractions.
Sibebe Rock is the largest rock in Africa and the second largest monolith in the world. You can just watch it or take a hike in the surrounding area. Further south, you arrive at the Breasts of Sheba and the Rock of Execution. The Breasts of Sheba are apparently named after the Queen of Sheba and the legendary mine home of King Solomon. Execution Rock is, as its name suggests, a former site of public executions.
To learn more about the culture, stop by the Mantenga Swazi Cultural Village and Swazi Candles, or attend a festival at House on Fire.
Speaking of festivals, two of the biggest festivals are the Umhlanga Reed Dance (where the king might meet another new bride) and the Marula Festival, which celebrates the harvest and fermentation of the marula fruit.
Sam shows us around the 4 regions of Eswatini: Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini and Shiselweni. She describes other natural sites like the Mlawula Nature Reserve, the Mbuluzi Game Reserve and the Mahamba Gorge. She also recommends Nsangwini Rock Art with its ancient petroglyphs. Along the way, she tells us about accommodation for all budgets, from backpackers to guests of the king. If you have the budget, you can take a golf vacation, a spa or stay in a botanical garden.
Learn more about Eswatini in this episode and find out why Sam and Theo think it should be the focus of your next African adventure.
This episode is sponsored by the About the Travel Podcast. In season 2, travel journalist Oneika Raymond takes us on a journey across North America to find out. This time, she chose six cities and six completely unique experiences. From a Black-owned bookstore in Washington, DC, to the birthplace of the largest queer film festival.
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Sam in Swaziland
Malolotja National Park
Royal Hlane National Park
Malolotja Canopy Tour
Tandoori Restaurant, Mbabane
Rock of Sibébé
Mantenga Swazi Cultural Village
Sheba’s Tits and the Execution Rock
House on fire
Mlawula Nature Reserve
Mbuluzi Game Reserve
Nkonyeni Golf Estate
Rock art of Nsangwini
Phophonyane Falls Ecolodge and Nature Reserve
Mogi Boutique Hotel
Royal Swazi Spa
Summerfield Botanical Garden and Resort
Umhlanga Reed Dance
King Mswati III
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