Nhlangano & The Grand Valley
The MR9 highway from Manzini to Nhlangano winds south alongside the Mkondvo River before climbing dramatically onto the exposed plateau of the highveld. Much of this route is known as the Grand Valley. It is a glorious drive, with stunning scenery and picturesque rural communities on either side. As the road winds up the escarpment, it offers stupendous views in both directions. Up on the plateau the bush gives way to undulating grasslands. Here you will find Nhlangano, amid its apron of forestry. Nhlangano is the region’s largest town and in winter its highveld climate makes it reputedly the coldest in Swaziland. Founded in 1921 as the farm supply centre of Goedgegun, in 1947 it was renamed Nhlangano, which means ‘meeting place’, when King George VI met King Sobhuza II here in order to thank his Swazi counterpart for the kingdom’s help during World War II. This occasion remains the only ever visit by a British monarch to Swaziland. Today the town is best known for its casino, at the out-of-town Nhlangano Hotel, which also offers rooms, activities and a fine view.