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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Great Usutu River & Big Bend

The Great Usuthu is the largest river in Eswatini (Swaziland). It enters the country on the western border with South Africa and leaves through the Lubombo mountains east of Big Bend for its final journey to the Indian Ocean. Its lower reaches are home to hippos, crocodiles and tiger fish, while its waters are the lifeline for Eswatini’s sugar estates. Swazi Trails in the Ezulwini Valley offers full-day and half-day river rafting trips on a remote stretch of the Usuthu, where the river thunders through wild gorges and meanders through rural communities. Rafters will see impressive rock stacks, riverbank life and a fair amount of wildlife – including the odd small crocodile. They will also get drenched: for most of the year this is a Grade III (medium difficulty) rafting river, but in full flow some sections can rise to Grade V and even VI.

Big Bend lies 80km south east of Manzini on the MR8. Built to serve the sugar industry, it is a regional centre for south east Swaziland. Emerald-green cane fields have supplanted the dusty bush, and visitors will find shops, services and a handful of places to stay. From Big Bend the road continues south over the Lavumisa border into South Africa and joins the main highway south to Durban.

Accommodation in or near Big Bend
KaMsholo Bushveld Accommodation
KaMsholo Bushveld Safaris
Various types of accommodation in this south east game reserve.
Mkhaya Stone Camp
Mkhaya Game Reserve
Luxury safari lodge set in Eswatini's primary game reserve.
Places nearby
A picturesque and privately owned nature reserve.
Eswatini's most exclusive safari retreat. Home to 4 of the big 5 including Black Rhino.
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Museum located in North East Eswatini focused on the country's history of sugarcane production
A picturesque and privately owned nature reserve.
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Eswatini's second biggest city with a busy market and amenities.
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A town set among the Usuthu forestry plantations with beautiful scenery.
Best known nature reserve and Eswatini's birthplace of conservation.
The attractive capital of Eswatini with hotels, shopping centres and traditional markets.
Unspoilt woodlands with a traditional cultural village experience
The spiritual, cultural and political heart of Eswatini.
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The oldest mine in the world.
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Eswatini's tourism hub with an abundance of hotels, lodges and activities
Nestled at the foot of a mountain. A rejuvenated mining town.
Great Usutu River & Big Bend