Eswatini has a incredibly diverse terrain with breathtaking views
With the exception of desert and sea, every geographical feature of Africa’s terrain is found within Eswatini (Swaziland). This is a country of 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. From west to east, Eswatini moves from mountainous Highveld, through Middleveld to Lowveld, and then rises again to the Lubombo mountains. Altitudes vary from 21m to 1800m (70ft to 6000 ft) – yet the country’s east and west borders are less than 200 km (125 miles) apart.
The highveld is a land of hills, waterfalls and great buttresses of ancient rock – providing the country’s most dramatic and impressive landscapes. A temperate climate means some rainfall all year round and regular mists in summer, so the scenery is generally reasonably lush. The middleveld is generally less striking – an area of undulating bush and moist savannah lying at an average 700m above sea level. It is home to the bulk of Eswatini’s population and the tourist hub of the Ezulwini Valley. The lowveld is hot, bush country sitting as low as 21m above sea level. Although much drier than the other areas, it is home to vast, heavily irrigated sugar estates which are impressive in their own right. The remaining tracts of wild bush here harbour Eswatini’s major game reserves and offer easy access to areas of genuine wilderness.
With such a remarkable and varied ‘natural playground’, there is a wide choice of activities available in Eswatini for visitors to explore and enjoy the scenic landscapes. Hiking trials can be found all around the country but particularly in the highlands and mountains, and there are two championship-standard 18-hole golf courses in scenic settings and a smattering of 9-hole course around the country. For those who prefer to remain seated, both cycling and horse riding offer alternative ways to explore a variety of locations, at levels from beginners upwards, and there is even a chance to go quad biking through areas of wilderness. For keen cyclists, Eswatini has a series of Mountain Bike Races through the year open to a range of ages and abilities.
The country’s mountains and gorges also provide opportunities for climbing and abseiling as well as a thrilling tree-top canopy tour of zip-wires, bridges and platforms in the Malolotja Nature Reserve. And from the highest peaks, to underground, Eswatini is home to the only major granite cave system in southern Africa, which can be explored even by visitors with no prior experience of caving.
When it comes to water, boat trips are available on a few of Eswatini’s dams, and the Great Usuthu River offers thrilling white water rafting, whilst fishing is possible on a number of the dams and rivers.