INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the Kingdom of Swaziland - a Royal Experience.

Swaziland - a tiny country with a big heart and warm, friendly people: a kingdom which embraces and upholds its unique and ancient traditions, carefully guarding and proudly celebrating them. Wild animals roaming free in protected nature reserves. Prolific birdlife and incredible scenery. These are just some of the qualities that make this such a special place to visit.

The Swazi people comprise a single ethnic group of several clans (similar to the Scots) who are united under one monarch. They are peaceful, friendly and kind, and visitors are ensured of a warm welcome that they will always remember. Good manners, taking time to greet each other correctly and enquiring after their wellbeing are an integral part of the Swazi character. If, as a tourist, you learn a few basic phrases, you will be rewarded with appreciative smiles and great respect. (See phrases on page 53). You may find that some Swazi people do not make eye contact but this is a sign of respect, not bad manners.
Swaziland Discovery is designed to present you with diverse ideas of how you can enjoy the many special features and attractions of our country, which within this guide, is divided into its four regions, each with its own chapter and map. These regions are clearly defined on the centre spread map, which will help you to find your way around.

We want you to enjoy a wonderful and memorable time as you explore our kingdom, within whose small area a wealth of experiences await your discovery. We have so much to offer and invite you to share the beauty and rich heritage of our country and people, who are justifiably proud of their unique legacy.

The many Nature Reserves throughout Swaziland protect a vast variety of animals, birds and flora. From the magnificent "Big Five" to comical warthogs, gentle antelope and many reptiles, Swaziland is home to virtually all the wild animals of Africa.

Our bird life is second to none with hundreds of species to thrill ornithologists, while our varied indigenous trees and flora will fascinate any nature lover.

The tour options within our nature reserves include self-drive, sometimes with a mandatory guide, tours in the reserves' own 4x4 vehicles and guided horse, mountain biking and walking trails. All are undertaken with deference to ecological issues and conservation.

With the exception of desert and sea, every geographical feature of Africa's terrain is found within Swaziland: magnificent mountain scenery with rivers, waterfalls and gorges; unique rock formations which are among the world's most ancient; lush and fertile valleys; typical African bush. All these make up the unique beauty that is Swaziland.

Throughout the country, people are creating the fine handcrafts that are so popular with our visitors. Select from basket-ware made from natural fibres in lovely colours, wood and stone carvings, hand-made glassware, exquisite candles, batik items, jewellery and much more. Our exclusive handcrafts will ensure lasting memories of your visit to Swaziland while providing lovely décor or practical items that will be a talking point for your home.

Accommodation is as diverse as our spectacular scenery. We have bush camps, traditional huts and luxury lodges in the nature reserves; inviting B&Bs and guest houses in the towns and villages, affordable hotels and lodges of international standards plus backpacking facilities. And for those who want the top of the spectrum, there are the luxurious Royal Swazi Spa and Royal Villas in the Ezulwini Valley and the Pigg's Peak Hotel in the north, with all the amenities one could want.
Read on to learn more!