Africa Tour Operators

Nsangwini, Eswatini (Swaziland)

Nsangwini in Eswatini is located in Piggs peak that is the Hhohho region. It was named after a man named William Piggs during the colonial era and a top tourist attraction in Eswatini. Nsangwini is majorly known for being a home to the San who settled in the country way before the colonialists came into the country and their rock paintings that are still evident to this day. a place that can be visited all throughout the year, Nsangwini offers tourists a step back in time as they get to experience the rudimentary ways in which the San lived and also a chance to try and find out what most of the paintings on the rocks say. It is always advisable that you go with an experienced tour guide so that they can help with the interpretation of some of the paintings that are not self-explanatory.

Getting to Nsangwini is quite easy and you cannot get lost due to the signpost that was put along the road from Mbabane the capital city of Eswatini as you head to Piggs’ peak and there is also another sign post along the Maguga Dam road. You can drive from Mbabane but it will be better if you have a four wheel drive car because the roads can get a little slippery during the rainy season.

The Nsangwini Rock

The Nsangwini rock is one of the historical sites that are located with the Eswatini kingdom. It is one of the largest places from where tourists who visit the country can have a great look at the art that was portrayed by the San people who are believed to be the first people who settled in the southern part of the African continent. The Nsangwini rock has been in place for more than 4000 years and it is where the san used to carry out their spiritual trances and this is visible in the paintings that they did on the rocks.

The rock paintings that are found in the Nsangwini Rock were painted using the red ochre and blood from animals and although they have been in existence for a very long time, they are still clear and informative. The paintings are of different things that include the tools that they used in their homesteads and those used for hunting, the different animals like giraffes, elephants, lions and of the different families that lived in the area.

The paintings are believed to have been done by mostly the chief priests and these were done while they were dressed in their traditional wear. The ochre was used by the San not only to do paintings but to also communicate with the dead ancestors and the spirits who gave them blessings. It was also used during the different ceremonies done by the San especially the traditional weddings.

There is a Nsangwini Rock shelter that is found not far away from the rock and this is used to take care of the locals who live in the area and also to care for the rock so that tourists find the place accommodating and the paintings still in shape.

Exploring the Nsangwini rock is like stepping back in time because you will get to see how the San used to live and how Eswatini was before all the modernization was brought into the country and this is because this is one place where humans lived with a variety of wildlife in the same area and the rudimentary tools they used. All this is documented in the paintings and it is like re-living the ancient times through the paintings on the rocks.

Hiking in Nsangwini

Hiking in Nsangwini is done along the Nsangwini Rock art and with an experienced tour guide. The hike route around the Nsangwini rock will take you about 25 minutes and although it might look like an easy route to take, it has some of the loose rocks that might cause to slip if you are not careful. You will be rewarded with some of the best views of the rock painting and also get to mix with the locals. The hike will take you around the rock art, the mini caves around and then back to the Nsangwini community where you can get to buy some souvenirs for yourself and your family back home.

While at the Nsangwini rock art you can as well check out the following places that are nearby to make your trip to the area more interesting.

The Maguga Dam

Maguga Dam is just a few minutes away from the Maguga Dam and one of the many places that you can check out while in Nsangwini. The Maguga dam has the tallest dam wall in the southern part of the African continent and some of the major activities that are carried out here include boat trips and fishing. Its location towards the border of South Africa and Eswatini makes it the perfect stop for all tourists who are heading to South Africa. There are a lot of fish species that you can fish from here especially the Mozambique Tilapia and during your boat ride, you will be able to get a clear tour of the dam and the aqua life that lives in the area.

The Phophonyane nature reserve

Also located near the rock paintings, the Phophonyane nature reserve is also worth visiting. It is a home to the Phophonyane waterfalls that are can be reached just after a few minutes of hiking. The waterfalls provide a good place for tourists to have a picnic, photo safari and also enjoy a swim in the water as they watch the birds and few animals that are found in the reserve.

The Ngweya glass factory

The Ngweya glass factory can easily be visited once you decide to explore the rock paintings that are found in Nsangwini. The glass factory was set up so as to provide an easy way of recycling glass in Eswatini. The locals are paid for all the broken glasses that they bring to the factory and once there the glass is crushed and melted to created new and better crafts that are sold in the different parts of Eswatini.

The Ngwenya mine

This is the oldest mine in the whole world and red iron ore used to be mined from it. The red iron ore also known as the ochre was used by the natives to communicate with the dead and also for blessings during traditional ceremonies. A tour to the mine and the nearby museum where you can learn more about the mine can be arranged with a tour guide at your convenient time and within the mine you will learn more about the red iron ore and the people who used to live around the mine.