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Road Trips in Eswatini

Swaziland, officially known as the Kingdom of Eswatini, is a small country located in southern Africa that offers plenty of opportunities for an unforgettable road trip. This beautiful country is known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant culture, making it a great destination for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences.

One of the top reasons to visit Swaziland is its stunning natural beauty. The country is home to a range of stunning landscapes, including rolling hills, lush forests, and scenic waterfalls. A road trip in Swaziland allows you to take in all these sights at your own pace, allowing you to stop and take in the scenery as often as you like.

Swaziland is also home to several national parks and game reserves, including Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Hlane Royal National Park, and Mkhaya Game Reserve. These protected areas offer the chance to spot a range of African wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and more. A road trip through these parks is a great way to get up close and personal with these incredible animals and experience the beauty of the African wilderness.

In addition to its natural beauty, Swaziland is also home to a rich and vibrant culture. The country's indigenous people, the Swazi, have a proud and ancient history that is reflected in their traditions, music, and art. A road trip in Swaziland provides the opportunity to experience this culture firsthand, with plenty of opportunities to visit local markets, attend traditional festivals, and learn about the country's fascinating history.

When it comes to road tripping in Swaziland, there are several routes worth considering. The Ezulwini Valley, located in the center of the country, is a popular destination for its stunning scenery, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. The Lubombo Scenic Route, which runs along the eastern border of the country, offers incredible views of the Lubombo Mountains and a chance to visit traditional Swazi communities. And the Piggs Peak Route, which runs through the country's northern highlands, offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.

Overall, Swaziland is a hidden gem of a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you're interested in natural beauty, wildlife, culture, or adventure, a road trip through this small but mighty country is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

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Road Trip Highlights in Eswatini

Eswatini is a true paradise for those who are into safari. Visit the Hlane Royal National Park to admire the diversity of animal and plant species. Its rich biodiversity and scenic landscapes will stay in travelers’ memories for a long time. The nature reserve offers well-maintained game paths.

For a fuller immersion in the culture of Eswatini travel to Lobamba, which is the country’s capital. The capital offers an interesting insight into the more well-known landmarks, including Lozitha Palace and the Eswatini Parliament. The National Museum of Eswatini will be also worth your attention.

Mbabane is yet another jewel of Eswatini. It is full of low-rise traditional housing and beautiful palm-lined paths. It is an ideal place to lose yourself and distance from the stresses and commotion of everyday life. The central place of this village is the popular Swazi Market.

One of the most beautiful places in Eswatini is, of course, Malkerns, located at a stone’s throw away from the Mlilwane Reserve. Surrounded by arid fields of corn, Malekrns will bring you closer to the local culture and everyday habits of Eswatini’s residents.

Suggested Road Trips in Eswatini

Taking a road trip through Eswatini is a fantastic way to explore and discover all that it has to offer. Here are three of the best and recommended road trips for first-timers in Eswatini:

No matter which road trip you choose in Eswatini, you are sure to encounter beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and cultural experiences that will make your journey unforgettable.

Car Rentals in Eswatini

While travelling around Swaziland, you’ll have minibuses, local buses, and shared taxis at your disposal. Most of them travel between major cities. However, if you are interested in deeper exploration of more distant locations, it’s best to opt for a rental car. Car rental companies are available at international airports and in larger cities.

Surprisingly, Swaziland offers a well-maintained network of roads. However, there are a number of unpaved sections. That’s why it’s best to rent a 4x4 off-road vehicle to make your journey as pleasant as possible.

The most important thing to remember is the fact that Swaziland follows left-hand traffic. You need to have your seatbelts fastened at all times. Whenever you see a royal motorcade approaching, you need to pull over and stop your vehicle.

The speed limits that you are supposed to follow are 60 km/h in built-up areas, 80 km/h in rural areas, and 120 km/h on highways. You can use either your own driver’s licence or an International Driving Permit.

If you face a car breakdown, be wary of local residents and strangers who would like to help you. In such a way, you’ll avoid the risk of theft and hijacking. What’s more, avoid unlit areas and driving at night.

When taking a Road Trip in Eswatini

When taking a road trip in Eswatini, there are a few things to be aware of:

By being aware of these factors, you can have a safe and enjoyable road trip in Eswatini.

Best Time for taking a Road Trip in Eswatini

The best time of year to take a road trip in Eswatini is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. During this time, the weather is generally mild, and there is less risk of encountering heavy rains or flooding, which can make some roads impassable.

In addition to the favorable weather conditions, the dry season also offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Many animals congregate around watering holes during this time, making it easier to spot them while driving through game reserves.

However, it's important to note that the dry season is also peak tourist season, and popular attractions can be crowded. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April/May or September/October.

It's also worth noting that Eswatini experiences a subtropical climate, and temperatures can vary greatly depending on the region and altitude. Be sure to pack appropriately for the climate and check weather conditions before setting out on your road trip.

How expensive is a Road Trip in Eswatini

The cost of a road trip in Eswatini will depend on various factors such as your mode of transport, accommodation, activities, and food expenses. However, generally speaking, Eswatini is an affordable destination, and you can enjoy a comfortable road trip without breaking the bank.

Renting a car in Eswatini can cost anywhere between 200-700 SZL (Swazi Lilangeni) per day, depending on the type of vehicle and rental company. If you plan to travel extensively, a 4x4 vehicle may be necessary, particularly if you plan to visit some of the more remote areas of the country.

Accommodation options in Eswatini range from camping and backpacker hostels to luxury lodges and hotels. Prices can vary greatly depending on your preferences and location, but generally speaking, you can expect to pay around 300-800 SZL per night for mid-range accommodation.

Food in Eswatini is generally affordable, particularly if you stick to local eateries and street food stalls. A basic meal can cost as little as 30 SZL, while a more substantial meal at a mid-range restaurant may cost around 100-200 SZL.

Overall, a daily budget of around 800-1200 SZL per person should be sufficient to cover most expenses, including accommodation, food, and transportation. This equates to around 5,600-8,400 SZL per week and 22,400-33,600 SZL per month, per person.

Of course, the actual cost of your road trip will depend on your specific itinerary and travel style, so it's a good idea to plan and budget accordingly. It's also worth noting that Eswatini uses both the Swazi Lilangeni and the South African Rand, so it's a good idea to have both currencies on hand.

Guidebooks and Road Maps for Road Trip in Eswatini

There are several guidebooks and road maps that can be useful for a road trip in Eswatini, also known as Swaziland. Here are some recommendations:

Overall, these guidebooks and road maps can help travelers plan and navigate a road trip in Eswatini, ensuring a fun and safe adventure in this beautiful country.

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