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Mbabane is the capital city of the Eswatini and the largest in the whole country. It became the capital city during the colonial era and continued being one even after Eswatini gained their independence. Mbabane which is pronounced as Um-ba-ba-neh by the locals is found in the Highveld area of the country on a hill that is believed to be at an elevation of about 1443 meters and history has it that the colonialists chose it to be the capital city due to its location and the cool weather experienced in the area.

Although Mbabane has been a capital city for a long time, it only started getting developed after Eswatini’s independence and ever since then the city has seen steady development till to date. Although Mbabane is a developed city, truth is there are very few attractions within it which means that even the activities to be carried out here are quite few but you can still make it a fun trip by trying to engage in at least all the activities and visit the tourist attractions in the city.

Things to see and do while in Mbabane

Mbabane is filled with a lot good sights that will make your visit to Eswatini and below is a list of the few things you should look out for and the activities that you can carry out while in Mbabane.

 The Ngwenya Mine

The Ngwenya mine is the oldest mine in Eswatini and it was used for mining the red iron ore also known as Ochre. You can easily explore the mine with the help of an experienced tour guide and after head out to the information Centre nearby where you will get more information about the mine during the colonial era and after. The locals who live around the area still use the red iron ore as a way of communicating to the spirits and their deceased ancestors and it is also used for traditional wedding ceremonies.

The Sibebe rock

The Sibebe rock is the largest granite rock in the whole world and it is located just 10 kilometers away from the city Centre of Mbabane. The rock is hard to miss due to its height of over 1488 meters above sea level and hike trips can be organized for all those that love hiking. It is also a good destination for tourists who love rock climbing although both activities are best carried out during the dry season because the hike routes can be very slippery during the wet season. The hike up the Sibebe rock is just roughly 30 minutes only but the great reward is at the peak from where to get a great view of the surrounding area and the waterfall that you will find along the way as you hike up.

The Ngwenya glass factory

The Ngwenya glass factory was set up to help in recycling all the broken glasses that are found in the city Centre of Mbabane. The people living in the community are encouraged to collect all the broken glasses around the city and when they are brought to the factory, they are in turn paid. When you visit the glass factory, you will get to see the steps taken in the factory that is crushing of the glass, melting it and finally molding different art pieces out of the melted glass and then selling it in the different shops across the country.

Go shopping around Mbabane

After the country gaining her independence, Mbabane was the first city to expand and with it came shopping malls, markets and plazas from where shopping can easily be done. Some of the shopping Centres that you should try out include the Mbabane mall, the Swazi plaza and many more others. While shopping for souvenirs and essentials that you will need for your trip here, you get to taste some great local food that is sold in the restaurants surrounding the plaza.

The Mbabane market is the other place that you should also check out as you head down for shopping. there are various things that are sold in the Mbabane market some of which include clothes, woven handicrafts, tie and dye clothes, all types of food like fruits, vegetables and many more others.

Explore the Malolotja Nature reserve

Malolotja Nature reserve is located 30 minutes away from Mbabane and one of the places for tourists who love nature should check out while in Mbabane. The reserve is a home to many animal and bird species that can be viewed almost all throughout the year depending on the season and the rare tree species that are found within the reserve are also worth exploring. Other activities that you can engage in while in Malolotja include hiking, horse riding and Mountain biking.

Malolotja Nature reserve is also the only place where you will be able to enjoy the canopy tour while in Eswatini. The canopy tour involves 11 platforms and a 50 meter bridge that is suspended in air and the good thing about the tour is that it can be done by people of all ages and you do not need experience to engage in it.

Things to consider or note while in Mbabane

In order for you to keep safe while in Mbabane you will need to do the following:

  1. Do not drink the tap water because it is not safe at all.
  2. The whole country has a high rate for HIV/Aids infections so you will need to be careful.
  3. Before taking photos of anything, at least first make sure that it is not prohibited.
  4. Walk with all your travel documents while in Mbabane.

When most tourists visit Eswatini especially in Mbabane, they tend to spend a lot of money while shopping but it is better if you at least try to save while on your trip and some of the things that you should try out in order to save are

  1. Try to at least bargain for the items that you are purchasing. There is no shame in that because most locals hike the prices the moment they realize you are a tourist.
  2. There are quite a number of affordable and comfortable accommodation facilities that you should try out instead of going for the luxury ones.
  3. Instead of getting a private taxi to take you around the town which is expensive, you can try sharing taxis or getting tourist minibuses to save on the transportation.
  4. Making calls with your international sim card will be expensive and it is better if you buy a local sim card since it is a cheaper option.

 

Getting Around Mbabane Swaziland

Getting around Mbabane is a little bit easy but also dangerous especially if you are driving on a rainy day. You can hire out a car at the airport to take you around or drive yourself around the town but if you are driving yourself around note that driving is done on the left side as you head to the city Centre but on rainy days the roads tend to be slippery so you will need to drive carefully. The driving speed limit in Mbabane is 60km/h and besides driving yourself around, you can also get a bus or minibus to take you around the city.

Where to stay in Mbabane

Mbabane has a lot of accommodation facilities ranging from 2 star hotels to 5 star hotels and these are found in the different corners of the city. Note that before booking a hotel room at your desired facility that there are low and high seasons when it comes to accommodation and during the low season, prices are a bit fair whereas during the peak season, the prices practically double. The low season is experienced in May with a drop of at least 10%off the original price and the high/peak season comes in around November with a 24% increase on the original price. Some of the accommodation facilities that you can book while in Mbabane include the Mantenga lodge, the Mountain inn, the Royal Swazi spa, the Emafini country lodge and many more others.

Best time to visit Mbabane

The best time for tourists to visit Mbabane is between the months of June to September when the cool temperatures set in although you can also visit during the months when most of the cultural festivals take place that is around November to February.

The rains come in heavy during the months of October and March in Mbabane and this is considered to be the summer season. The temperatures always range between 21 degrees Celsius during the winter season and 27 degrees Celsius during the summer season.

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