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07ab6577796d81393f3a82a7dadf267d mantenga nature reserve

Introducing Swaziland

In short: big things come in small packages. The intriguing kingdom of Swaziland is diminutive, but boasts a huge checklist for any visitor. Rewarding wildlife watching? Tick. Adrenaline-boosting activities such as rafting and mountain biking? Tick. Lively and colourful local culture, with celebrations and ceremonies still common practice? Tick. Plus there’s superb walking trails, stunning mountain and flatland scenery, and excellent, high-quality handicrafts.

Presiding over this is King Mswati III, the last remaining absolute monarch in Africa, who, despite his critics, is the source of great national pride. Swaziland is remarkably relaxed, with friendly people and a lack of racial animosities.

The excellent road system makes Swaziland a pleasure to navigate. Accommodation ranges from hostels to family-friendly hotels, wilderness lodges and upmarket retreats. Many travellers make a flying visit here on their way to Kruger National Park but it’s worth staying at least a week.