Eswatini (Swaziland) has a rich and historic culture and provides a chance to immerse yourself in the real culture of Africa in a safe and friendly environment. The community projects featured below are some of the best examples of community based tourism in Southern Africa and are a fantastic chance to experience the real Eswatini.
All of the community projects featured, whilst the product of seed funds from the European Commission and Eswatini Government, are maintained by community members. Communities are empowered through the development process to assume responsibility for sustainability.
Eswatini is proud of its many community projects that give visitors to the country an opportunity to have unique experiences such as exploring the peoples and customs of the bushveld and savannah or wondering at the great rock buttresses of the Sibebe and the Lubombo Mountains, among much, much more.
Shewula Mountain Camp
The Shewula Mountain Camp is a successful community venture, offering visitors a chance to stay among Swazi people in hutted accommodation and experience the local life and culture. Guests are encouraged to explore the community neighbourhood with local guides. Read more
Nsangwini Rock Art Centre
Nsangwini is a unique and historic site high above the Komati River, and the best preserved site of rock art by the ancient San people. The site is over 4,000 years old, and is run and maintained by the local Nsangwini community, with all profits from the site being reinvested in community projects. Read more
Maguga Craft Outlet and Viewsite
A community based panoramic viewsite has been established that overlooks the majestic Maguga Dam, one of the highest in the continent. Also at the site is the Maguga Craft Outlet, an area where talented crafters from the community can market their wares, and where you can buy a unique hand crafted memento. Read more
Sibebe Rock is the world’s largest exposed granite dome, often compared to Australia’s Uluru (Ayers Rock), and offers a breath-taking experience for those who venture along its’ trails. The rock is held as Swazi Nation land held in trust by the king for the people, but the surrounding areas are all freehold areas where local landowners are happy to show you the traditional rural lifestyle of Eswatini. The rock itself is known as one of the best walking destinations in the area, and has a spectacular array of wildlife, much of which is rarely seen anywhere else. All walking tours are run by the local community as part of Eswatini’s Community Tourism Project. Read more
Lonhlupheko Craft Market
The Lonhlupheko Craft Market is one of the jewels in the crown of Siteki. A fantastic community based craft market where vendors compete good-naturedly to bring the very best in Swazi craftsmanship to visitors has become a flagship project for joint community entrepreneurship. Lonhlupheko is also known for being one of the best places to learn about Eswatini’s culture, direct from the local community. Read more
Ngwempisi Hiking Trails and Khelekhele Horse Trails
The 33km Ngwempisi Trail provides endless vistas of plateaux, woodlands, riverine forest and mountainous terrain, and an opportunity to see numerous birds, interesting flora and fascinating geology. The lowveld eco-region contains a diversity of bird species, including two globally threatened species – Rudd’s Apalis and the Pinkthroated Twinspot. Khelekhele Horse Trails offers an amazing chance to explore the area on horseback, while staying at one of the most naturally friendly sites in the country. Both projects are run by the local community and are part of the Eswatini Tourism Authority’s plan to ensure that tourism benefits all sectors of the Swazi population. Read more
Mahamba Gorge Lodge
Mahamba Gorge Lodge perches on the edge of the Mkhondvo River gorge, and offers staggering views from its chalets across the gorge. The lodge has strong links to the community, including traditional Swazi breakfast every morning prepared by a local chef and the reception area also offers a selection of local crafts, including handmade models of the nearby historic Mahamba Church, as well as traditional beehive huts and candles. Read more
Though it is no longer updated, you can download a copy of our Tourism in the Community brochure (produced in 2013) here.
Lobamba Walking Tour
This half-day walking tour, organised by All Out Africa, takes you through one of the oldest and most famous villages in Eswatini, the traditional capital, Lobamba. Starting off with an introduction to Swazi history at the National Museum then on to the King’s royal residence, before exploring homes, small-scale unique businesses and a local art gallery before finishing the tour with a traditional Swazi braai. The tour is fronted by an experienced local guide meaning you’re guaranteed to learn something new about this beautiful country and its culture. Read more.
Bulembu is a historic mining village nestled at the foot of the Emlembe mountain, and is surrounded by the natural beauty of lush green hills and eucalyptus forests. Here you can also visit Bulembu Country Lodge which has been beautifully renovated and is full of character. It was once home to the managers of what use to be Havelock Mine. Today, they form part of the delightful resort, presenting a charming blend of history and nature, beauty and comfort. Bulembu has also launched a number of projects aimed to empower the local community. Read more
Maguga Lodge Hiking Trails
The hiking trails offered by Maguga Lodge, situated in the heart of the Hhohho Region, are allowing visitors to Eswatini the chance to see some of the country’s most fascinating and beautiful destinations. All three trails use guides from the local community, with the profits raised invested straight back into the Swazi community. These unique tours allow visitors to be fully immersed in Swazi culture and witness some of its awe inspiring history with visits to Nsangwini Rock Art and Esicancweni: the Gap.