INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the Kingdom of Swaziland - a Royal Experience.

A tiny country with a big heart and warm, friendly people aptly describes Swaziland - a country that, is the only absolute monarchy in Africa and which embraces and upholds its own unique and ancient traditions. These are carefully guarded and faithfully celebrated and are just one aspect of the Kingdom that makes it a very special place to visit. Swaziland merits a lot more time than a whistle-stop tour between her borders during a one or two night stay. The Swazi people are a single ethnic group that comprises several clans (similar to the Scots), who are united under the monarch. They are peaceful, friendly and kind, and visitors are ensured of a warm welcome that they will always remember. Good manners and taking time to greet people correctly and enquire after their wellbeing are an integral part of the Swazi character. If, as a tourist, you learn a few basic phrases, you will berewarded with appreciative smiles and great respect. (See phrases on page 48.) You may find that some Swazis will not make eye contact. Do not be perturbed: this is a sign of respect, not bad manners. In producing Swaziland Discovery we have attempted to provide you with diverse ideas of how you can enjoy the many special aspects of our country, which for the purposes of this guide, is divided into its four regions, each with a dedicated chapter and map. These regionsare clearly defined on the centre spread map, which will help you to find your way around. We hope you have a wonderful time as you explore our very special Kingdom, within whose small area a wealth of experiences awaits 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 rightly 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 cheeky warthogs, gentle antelope and reptiles, Swaziland is home to virtually all the wild animals of Africa. Our bird life is second to none with hundreds of species, while our diverse 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 4 x 4 vehicles and guided horse, mountain biking and walking trails, all with due deference to the ecology 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 plus typical African bush. All these make up the unique beauty that is Swaziland. Throughout the country, men and women are at work creating the fine Handcrafts that are so popular with our visitors. Select from creative basket ware in lovely colours, woodand stone carvings, 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 items for your home that are sure to be a talking point. The available accommodation is as diverse as our spectacular scenery. We have bush camps, traditional huts and luxury lodges in the nature reserves; homely B&Bs and guest houses in the towns and villages, affordable hotels and lodges offering high standards plus backpacking facilities. And for those who want the top of the spectrum, there are the luxurious Royal Swazi Sun and Royal Villas in the Ezulwini Valley and the Orion Hotel near Piggs Peak with all the amenities one could want. So much in such a small country!