eSwatini’s mountains, valleys, rivers and other natural wonders make it the ideal choice for those seeking an adrenaline rush. It has built a reputation for a variety of activities that belies its small size.
1. Canopy tours
Malolotaja Nature Reserve is home to eSwatini’s first and only Tree Top Canopy Tour. This is located in the Sihlotswane Gorge, where one 50m suspension bridge and 11 wooden platforms have been ingeniously affixed to the steep sides. Participants descend the gorge by ziplining down a steel cable from platform to platform, high above over the forest canopy and Majolomba River. Some lines are more than 300m long.
A great way to explore eSwatini’s stunning landscape is on a mountain bike. You can set out on your own, or follow trails in a number of locations, including some of the reserves. Mhlambanyatsi, Hawane, Hlane, Malolotja, Mbuluzi and Shewula all offer great trails. eSwatini is also known for its mountain bike races, organised through the year, including the INYATSI Swazi Frontier and the Imevelo MTB Classic.
READ MORE: Follow Mandela’s route
3. White-water rafting
Trips are run by Swazi Trails on the Bulungapoort section of the Usutu River, between Sidvokodvo and Siphofaneni, in the centre of eSwatini. This is a remote and inspiring stretch of river. Its brown waters thunder through clefts and gorges, alternating with calmer stretches of bush and grazing land. You can expect fine views of rural eSwatini, with imposing rock formations, riverbank community life and a fair amount of wildlife. For most of the year, this is generally a Grade III (medium difficulty) rafting river. Tubing is also a wonderful way to experience the beautiful remote area of Ngwempisi Gorge, while you float downstream in large adapted inner tubes, kitted out with safety helmets.
Going on horseback offers perhaps even greater freedom than on foot or on bike and the views always seem to be more spectacular when seen from atop a horse! eSwatini offers visitors the opportunity to discover its beauty along a number of horse-riding trails over anything from a couple of hours to a number of days, depending on experience and ability. The main stables all have good facilities and cater to all levels – they are found at: Mlilwane (Chubeka Trails), Ezulwini Valley (Hoofbeat Safaris), Mhlambanyatsi (Foresters Arms Hotel), Hawane Resort and Malkerns (Nyanza Stables).
Those who want to go beneath the surface of eSwatini – literally – can try this innovative activity run by Swazi Trails. You can explore a unique cave system formed by the Kophola River that flows underground between the Msunduza and Kophola mountains, just off the Malagwane hill between Mbabane and the Ezulwini Valley. There is an 800m course of subterranean passages some 90m below ground. This is the only major granite cave system in Southern Africa.
– Kamageo/The Kingdom of eSwatini