In short: big things come in small packages. The intriguing Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly 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 colorful local culture, with celebrations and ceremonies still common practice? Tick. Plus there are superb walking trails, stunning mountain and flatland scenery, varied accommodation options and excellent, high-quality handicrafts.
Unlike South Africa, eSwatini has managed to hold on to that slow-down-this-is-Africa feeling and that’s why it’s gaining in popularity. Everything remains small and personable and the atmosphere is remarkably relaxed. Instead of making a flying visit here on your way to Kruger National Park, KwaZulu-Natal or Mozambique, consider staying at least a week to do the country justice. If you plan a visit during the winter months, try to make it coincide with the Umhlanga (reed) festival, one of Africa's biggest cultural events.