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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Central Eswatini

Cultural Heartland

Central Eswatini (Swaziland) offers a remarkably varied collection of experiences that any visitor to the region can indulge in.  Although the smallest of the tourism regions, this is where the country’s capital city Mbabane, second largest city Manzini and main industrial area Matsapha are found. The two cities lie just 25 miles (40km) apart and are connected by a valley that has become Eswatini’s tourism hub – Ezulwini Valley, also known as the Valley of Heaven. Close by is the traditional Royal heartland Lobamba, also home to the country’s parliament building.

Eswatini’s most easily accessible wildlife reserve – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is also in this region,  alongside the Mantenga Nature Reserve, home to one of the country’s most popular attractions, the Mantenga Cultural Village. The fertile and pretty Malkerns Valley with its arts and crafts attractions is also very close by.

Perched on the edge of the escarpment, just a short drive from the South Africa border, Mbabane is both an attractive town, with all the amenities a visitor might require, and a convenient gateway to the Kingdom’s main visitor attractions beyond. The city’s hilly streets offer accommodation, shopping and eating out, while alongside the modern malls are traditional markets, colourful street traders and art galleries. And just a few miles out of town lies the scenic grandeur of Pine Valley and the mighty Sibebe Rock.

Ezulwini means ‘place of heaven’, and the panoramic valley that bears this name certainly offers its share of hedonistic delights. This is where tourism in Eswatini began, and today its attractions include hotels, restaurants, hot springs, casinos, craft markets, art galleries, riding stables and a golf course. Mantenga Lifestyle & Craft Centre is a great place for a spot of lunch and to do some shopping at the same time, with various food and arts & crafts outlets.

Overlooking the Valley and providing some stunning views are two well known mountains, both of which have trails to reach their pinnacles –  Sheba’s Breasts &  Execution Rock (Nyonyane Mountain).

Immediately adjacent to the Ezulwini Valley, midway between Mbabane and Manzini, are two small, adjoining nature reserves. Mlilwane is effectively where conservation in Ezulwini began. It has a good selection of wildlife, plenty of outdoor activities, and is popular with locals and visitors alike. Mantenga is an Eswatini National Trust Commission property. It centres upon the picturesque Mantenga Falls and incorporates a cultural village, where Swazi history, culture and tradition are brought alive for visitors. Nearby to the reserve is Mantenga Lifestyle & Craft Centre, a great place for a spot of lunch and to do some shopping at the same time, with various food and arts & crafts outlets.

Eswatini’s spiritual, cultural and political heart lies at Lobamba, just east of the Ezulwini Valley. This area has been playing host to the country’s royalty for over 200 years and it is where the nation still gathers for the annual Incwala and Umhlanga ceremonies, against the imposing backdrop of the sacred Mdzimba mountains. To the north of the main road the visitor will find Parliament, the National Museum, National Stadium and King Sobhuza II Memorial Park. To the south, beyond the cluster of Lobamba village, lies Ludzidzini and the royal kraal.

The Malkerns Valley lies at the heart of the middleveld, midway between Ezulwini and Manzini. This large, fertile expanse of farmland, bristling with the spiky grey-green leaves of the pineapple estates, is Eswatini’s breadbasket. Among the fields are some excellent craft markets and workshops, guest houses and a riding stables. The Malandela’s complex is one of the country’s premier tourist spots and the Swazi Candles Centre is one of the best places to find Eswatini’s famed arts & crafts. Manzini is the country’s busiest city, with plenty of hustle & bustle, including a lively market. Nearby Matsapha is Eswatini’s industrial heartland and between the two lies the beautiful Summerfield Botanical Gardens.

At the western edge of Central Eswatini lies Mhlambanyatsi, a sleepy forestry town surrounded by beautiful scenery and home to the renowned Foresters Arms Hotel.

Where to Go in Central Eswatini
Eswatini's tourism hub with an abundance of hotels, lodges and activities
The spiritual, cultural and political heart of Eswatini.
A tourist hotspot comprising of live music, arts & crafts and home to the Bushfire Festival.
A fertile valley with a number of craft outlets and tourist hotspots
Vibrant tourist attraction home to swazi crafts and food outlets
Unspoilt woodlands with a traditional cultural village experience
Eswatini's second biggest city with a busy market and amenities.
A western suburb of Manzini and the country's primary industrial area.
The attractive capital of Eswatini with hotels, shopping centres and traditional markets.
A town set among the Usuthu forestry plantations with beautiful scenery.
Best known nature reserve and Eswatini's birthplace of conservation.
One of Eswatini's highest peaks with a notorious history.
One of southern Africa's most impressive geological features.
A National Conservancy holding swaziland's largest collection of plants.
Popular tourist spot and home to a cluster of handicraft outlets.
Accommodation in Central Eswatini
Mogi Boutique Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Elegant guest house in a stunning setting.
Legends Backpacker Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Comfortable backpacker accommodation conveniently located in the Ezulwini Valley.
Damicha Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
A luxury guesthouse with self catering facilities located in the Ezulwini Valley.
Nestled on the Swazi-Lizkhar Estate in Ezulwini Valley, offering tranquillity & stunning views.
Timbali Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
SibaneSami Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Luxurious and rustic hotel set in the heart of Eswatini, the Ezulwini Valley.
Royal Villas
Ezulwini Valley
Spacious and elegant villas with private lounges, dining rooms and beautiful gardens.
Royal Swazi Spa
Ezulwini Valley
Mvubu Falls Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Secluded peaceful lodge, yet only minutes from tourism hub Ezulwini Valley.
Mantenga Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Relaxing accommodation at the foot of Sheba's Breasts with beautiful views.
Lugogo Sun Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Lidwala Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Safari tents & camping spots in rustic and wild surroundings.
Happy Valley Hotel & Casino
Ezulwini Valley
Luxury hotel in the centre of Ezwulini Valley
Buhleni Farm Chalets
Ezulwini Valley
Rustic wooden chalets right by the Ezulwini Valley.
Modern boutique hotel in the culture town of Lobamba
Malandela's Guest House
Malandela's Lifestyle Centre
Stunning converted farmhouse in the thriving Malandela's Complex.
Willows Lodge
Comfortable chalet accommodation in the rural malkerns farming area.
Luxurious and unique accommodation set amongst indigenous forests and gardens.
Peaceful cottage accommodation with it's own farmyard and riding school.
Brookside Lodge
Tranquil lodge set amongst extensive and beautiful gardens in Malkerns.
Spacious hotel with beautiful gardens and onsite activities
Modernised Guesthouse in Manzini with 34 rooms
Comforting accommodation with self catering facilities or onsite restaurant.
Large hotel in the busy town of Manzini with conference facilities available.
Manzini Lodge
Accommodation conveniently located in the busy town of Manzini
Gibela Getaway
Tranquil & Scenic setting only 10km from the busy town of Manzini.
Popular & Comfortable Guest House
B&B lodge in a picturesque natural setting with delightful gardens.
Esibayeni Lodge
Various accommodation types set amongst lush gardens.
Mbabane Lodge with delightful view of Nkoyoyo Mountains
Delightful guesthouse conveniently close to the capital city of Mbabane
Self catering apartments conveniently located in Mbabane.
Brand new state of the art hotel in the heart of Mbabane perfect for leisure and business travellers.
Small and intimate lodge set on Malagwane Hill with stunning surrounding views.
Sibebe Resort
Traditional African chalets set high upon the hills of Mbabane close to Sibebe Rock.
Luxurious cottages with self catering facilities surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The Place
Small guesthouse with all the amenities and facilities of home right by the capital.
Modern and peaceful lodge with stunning views across the Pine Valley.
Beautifully presented hotel with unbeatable views of Ezulwini Valley.
Conveniently located guesthouse perfect for tourists and business travellers
Luxury Guest House with breathtaking views
Pleasent guest house close to the capital city
Esquisite guest house set in a beautiful garden.
Guest House with a fantastic view of Mbabane
Foresters Arms Hotel
Country rustic hotel set high in the mountains with beautiful food
Sondzela Backpackers
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Well presented and scenic backpacker accommodation with camping ground.
Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Luxurious and reclusive lodge set on the hills of Mlilwane Game Sanctuary.
Mlilwane Rest Camp
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Traditional beehive huts, cottages & rondavels with rustic features set in the charming Mlilwane Game Sanctuary.
Mlilwane Campsite
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Campsite overlooking Mhlambanyatsi River under a mature Eucalyptus forest canopy.
Summerfield Resort
Summerfield Botanical Garden
Luxury 5 star hotel and resort in the pure bliss and elegant Summerfield Botanical Gardens.
Eswatini's Other Regions
Conservation & Community
HIghland Adventures
Wildlife Up Close
Scenic Splendour