The Great Usutu River or locally known as the Lusutfu River is the largest and longest River in Eswatini. The water levels in the River are greatly determined by the different seasons that are experienced in the country that is the dry and rainy season. During the rainy season, the water levels increase greatly and this is the perfect time to visit this great river. The River has a lot of hydro plants that are used to generate power and when these are used in full gear, the water levels greatly reduce and it is during this time that the Usutu River is deemed unavailable for the tourists to use. And this is why it is advisable that you first find out whether it is available or not.
The Big bend name came from the great Usutu River itself. The Usutu River flows across the country and before it flows into the Indian Ocean, there is a big corner or call it a bend that it makes and this is how the big bend name came about. The big Bend is a town that is located in the Lowveld s and is surrounded by a large plantation of sugarcanes. It is located about 80 or more kilometers away from the Manzini town and it was created so as to act as an irrigation place for the numerous sugarcane plantations that are found in the area.
The Big bend and the Usutu River are safe places to visit and you should not worry about staying there. However if you are planning on spending a few nights in the area you should know that it is a malaria infested region and you should take anti-malarial drugs before you go or try out other means that will help you avoid malaria while o your trip.
There aren’t many activities around this area but the few that you can engage in include:
These are located at the banks of the river in the Big bend town and they are known to be the largest sugar processing plants in the country. The plantations get their irrigation from the River and with the help of an experienced tour guide, you can enjoy the trip around the plantations and also get to meet the locals that work there and interact with them.
There are different policies that govern the white water rafting activity on the Great Usutu River and before book for the activity, it is better if you know some of these policies to actually see whether they are conducive for you.
As you prepare for the white water rafting experience along the Usutu and the big bend, you will need to know that sometimes the crocs that are used capsize and therefore as the tour guides are giving you instructions on what to do exactly when it capsizes.
This is one of the few activities that are carried out along the Great Usutu River and this is offered by the Swazi trails and sometimes the accommodation facilities in the area. The boats that are used for canoeing are provided at a certain fee that is agreeable to both you and the owner of the canoe, life jackets are given out before you are taken around the River where you get to see different aqua life and the surrounding area while on water. Take a camera with you so that you capture these great memories of the Usutu River and the Big Bend.
Fishing on the Usutu River is done at the different dams that were constructed along the River and some of the most commonly caught fish species include the Tilapia and the catfish. There are boats for hire at a small price and the method that is commonly used to catch the fish is the fly fish method. And just like in any other part of Eswatini, the catch and release method is greatly encouraged so that the fish are preserved.
There are not so many accommodation facilities around the big bend and this might be due to the fact that it is a malaria infestation area. However some of the few accommodation facilities that you can try out include the following:
The Nisela safaris, This is found in the Nisela conservation area and offers good quality services from the self-contained rooms, restaurant that provides meals to tourists all throughout their stay and many more others. The Nisela hotel offers tourists activities like boat rides, a walk through the Nisela conservation where you get to meet locals and a hike to the river banks.
Note that the other accommodations that you can stay in are found in the nearby towns of Mbabane and Manzini. These are located in a malaria free zone and therefore are a very safe place for one to stay in. As you head out to the Big bend, make sure that you also carry your own bottle water because even though this is a water body, the tap water in the country is still not safe for drinking.