The landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland is the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere but don’t let it’s size fool you. It’s popular as a stop on the way to the Kruger National Park, KwaZulu Natal or Mozambique but this country has so much to offer the inquisitive and adventurous heart. It’s one of the few remaining Executive Monarchies in Africa, meaning culture and heritage are deeply rooted in all elements of Swazi life. But this blog is for highlighting some of the more wild side activities for the thrill seekers. This is Perfect Africa’s top 5 adventure activities list for Swaziland:
1. White River Rafting
Trips are run on the Usutu River, through the centre of Swaziland, often described as the most remote and inspiring section. The water runs through clefts and gorges and then through calmer sections of bush and grazing lands, which makes for an interesting contrast. When rafting down the river, you will be get a glimpse of rural Swaziland, including a decent amount of wildlife, beautiful rock formations and riverbank community life. For most of the year, the river is a grade 3, which translates to medium difficulty. It’s perfectly suitable for first timers as well and is the best from the months of May to October.
2. Cave Exploration
Have you experienced a country beneath the surface? This innovative and very famous Swaziland activity takes you though a very unique cave system formed by the Kophola River that flows underground. The Gobholo Cave System is an 800m course of subterranean passages approximately 90m below the ground. It is the only major granite cave system in Southern Africa and has water eroded chambers with some quirky names, the ‘Key Hole’, ‘French Connection’ and for the Harry Potter Fanatics, ‘Platform Nine and Three-Quarters’. You can expect belly crawls, body jams and the odd bat sighting but no experience is necessary for this cave adventure, you do however have to be reasonably fit.
3. Mountain Biking with Wildlife
It may sound like something out of the movies but Swaziland plays host to the annual Imvelo MTB Classic which tickets usually sell out for faster than you can say “wildlife”. It’s a safe and once-in-a-lifetime experience. This scenic game reserve is one of the only game parks in Swaziland that is safe to hike or ride through the landscape because there aren’t dangerous game around, except for hippos but they tend to stay in the lake. This single track is in Swaziland’s pioneer nature reserve Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is open to riders and you can choose if you want to ride unguided amongst the plains game or hire a guide to accompany you. All levels of riders are catered for and facilities within the reserve include the Hippo Haunt Restaurant, Braai/BBQ areas, swimming pool, activity centre and of course, some exceptional accommodation options.
4. Zip-Lining Through Wilderness
If you’d like to get the adrenaline pumping, the Canopy Tour in the Malolotja Nature Reserve is 3 to 4 hours of zipping between platforms near the tops of trees and criss crossing a gorge from cliff-face to cliff-face. It’s a vista delight and lets you see one of Swaziland’s most enchanting wilderness areas from a bird’s eye perspective. Everything is under the careful guidance of canopy tour guides.
5. Tubing the Ngwempisi
On this Swaziland adventure, the Ngwempisi River and Gorge is explored for 3 hours from the comfort of a river tube. Combine it with a stay at the famous Rock Lodge and you can spend two days tubing and the evenings reminiscing near a roaring fire. The lodge is an adventure in itself. This rustic tree house structure is built into clusters of giant boulders high up on a ridge overlooking the majestic gorge.