Loosely translated as the place of heaven, the Ezulwini valley which is located in the western part of the country was the first city in the southern African country of Swaziland to become a tourist hub. The Ezulwini valley is located right next to Mbabane and if you are wondering how it came to be the top tourist Centre in Swaziland then this is the right article for you. It started being a tourist attraction Centre in the 1960’s due to the many tourist attractions in the valley and by the end of 1963, it was one place you wouldn’t want to miss out on while on a safari to Southern Africa. Although the Ezulwini valley has seen a lot of transformation over the years, there is still some under development when it comes to infrastructure and the lighting around the city but despite all this, you can still enjoy a night out in the valley and day tours that will leave you wanting to actually come back for another Safari in Swaziland.
There are a few reasons besides the tourist attractions as to why you should actually check out the Ezulwini valley while on as safari to Swaziland and these include the following:
Accommodation facilities, the Ezulwini valley has some of the best accommodation facilities in the country and that is why you should not miss out on visiting it. The accommodation facilities are family friendly, couple friendly and affordable to each tourist who visits the country.
There is definite development, since the Ezulwini valley is known to be a top tourist destination in Swaziland, the government has done a lot to improve the facilities that are found within the city so that tourists are comfortable as compared to other parts of the country.
Transportation, it is really easier to travel and explore the whole country if you are residing within the valley due to the improved transport system here as compared to other places within Swaziland and since it is considered to be one of the best tourist attractions, many of the tour operators find it easy to pick their clients from the numerous accommodation facilities.
Location of the Ezulwini valley, it is strategically located making it easy for tourists to go and come into the valley easily that is it is just a few minutes away from Mbabane where the king stays and also a few minutes away from the capital city of Swaziland.
Ezulwini is majorly known as a good destination for all those that are interested in culture as there are a lot of places in the valley that showcase the unique culture of the Swaziland people. It is also a home to different tourist attractions and there are a lot tourist activities that you can also engage in while here and some of these have been listed below so that you get to know what to expect when you get to the Ezulwini valley.
The Ezulwini craft market
The Ezulwini craft market is the one place to be for all those that have love for art and craft. While here you will be able to see crafts that have been made from the different materials that are scattered all over the country like fiber, beads, clay, papyrus and so many more others. There are several craft shops all over where you will be able to get all these materials at an affordable price. There are also clothes with different Swazi designs, pottery works, jewelry and books that you can get yourself as a souvenir while in the crafts market.
Caving in Ezulwini
If you have a love for adventure and adrenaline activities then caving is the perfect exercise for you to engage in when you get to the Ezulwini valley. The cave system here is considered to be the best in the whole of southern Africa and it connects almost the whole country from underneath and the whole cave system is known as the best cave trails. A few things that you need t be aware of before going caving include:
- You do not need experience to go caving as there will be experienced tour guides to take you through the necessary steps.
- You will need to be 8 years and above in order to be allowed to go for caving in Ezulwini.
- There are several chambers that were created due to the constant erosion and each one of these has a name that you will get to know while there.
- You will also need to get all the proper gear before you head down to the caves.
When you get there, expect to find a lot of bats and other surprising things but all these will just add on to the adventure.
Birding in Ezulwini
Swaziland as a country is known to be a good birding destination and has over 500 different birding species. Birding is one of the best activities that you can carry out while in Ezulwini valley and there are many birding spots from where you can get to see lots of bird species and these include:
The Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary
The Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary is was the first sanctuary to be opened up in in Swaziland and it is one of the many birding spots where you can get to see the different bird species that are found within the valley. The sanctuary covers an extremely large area and some of the birds that you will get to see include the purple crested Turaco, the black crowned, the purple crested Lourie, the fish eagle and many more other species.
The Matenga Nature Reserve
The Matenga Nature Reserve which was opened up in 1991 is also located within the Ezulwini valley and a good birding spot. Some of the bird species that you will get to see while here include the black winged lapwing, the white breasted cormorant, the Shelley’s Francolin, the orange breasted waxbill, the African fish eagle, the streaky headed seedeater and the white faced duck among others.
Hiking in the Ezulwini Valley
You might think that since it is known as a valley no hiking is done here but there are actually some pretty good hike trails in the region. One of them is found in Lobamba and the other in the Mdzimba Mountains and before you head out to the trails, you will at least need a tour guide to take you around while explaining the various things that you will see along the way.
- Hiking in the Mdzimba mountain, the Mdzimba Mountain is considered to be sacred because it is where the burial grounds of all the royals and kings of the Swazi empire and it is also the perfect place to get a good view of the valley and the Sangoma (the traditional healer) as he goes about his business and you will only get to see all these after hiking up the Mountain using the Mdzimba trail.
- The Lobamba trail, Lobamba is located in the eastern part of the Ezulwini valley and unlike the Mdzimba trail, this one will take you on a historical tour around the valley. The trail will take you to the Lobamba royal village, the Museum which was constructed in the year 1972, past craft markets and not forgetting the Memorial park of King Sobhuza II. The tour guide who will take you around will explain more about these places but all you need to know is that by the end of the hike, you will have more knowledge about Swaziland’s cultural history.
Quad biking in Ezulwini valley
There are a lot of places within the valley that are best explored using a quad bike and it is an experience that every tourist to try out. Quad biking is normally organized by the different resorts and this is one of the easiest ways in which you can enjoy quad biking but there are also some tour operators that organize this activity and all you need to do is to find out which resorts and tour operators have quad biking on their list and book in time so that you get to enjoy moving around the valley on a quad bike. Note that you do not really need to have prior knowledge about the activity as there will be an experienced tour guide to help with you with a few steps and do not also forget to put on protective gears before getting onto the bike.
Horse riding in Ezulwini Valley
This is another way of exploring the valley and a fresh way to look at it from a different perspective. There is a freedom that you will feel when you get try horse riding and although the galloping is mostly left for those that are more experienced, even beginners can still try out but with the help off an experienced tour guide. Horse riding in Ezulwini is done at the Hoofbeat safari and you will be able to go to the different corners of the valley on a horse back.
There is a lot that the Ezulwini valley has to offer and the best way to get to know all this is by getting there and experiencing all this firsthand. When you get there you will not need to worry about accommodation facilities within the valley as they are many and considered to be some of the best in the whole country. For all those wondering whether it is actually safe to travel to the valley, the answer is yes it is safe but you will also need to be cautious with all property to be on the safe side.