Our first stop in Swazliand was Ezulwini. The minibus from Johannesburg airport dropped us at the gates. We were welcomed by friendly faces who knew the ins and outs of swaziland, some of them locals. The hostel, Lidwala, was very comfortable and "luxurious" and it was strategically positioned so all the most important tourist attractions of the area were close enough to walk to them. In the backyard there are beautiful gardens and trees of all kinds (especially avocado and mango). A gate at the back opened the door to an intense hike to Sheba's breasts, a rock formation that makes part of Mlilwane nature reserve next to Lidwalas. Beautiful walk of 2 h return if you go slowly.
There is another backpackers, Legends, with walls of every colour of the rainbow. A dorm bed is 150 Rand a night, great considering our dorm was empty. This is a beautiful hostel, where it's roofless corridors are a breath of fresh air! It boasts free internet, hot showers and a kitchen with adequate facilities. Amazing place to stay at.
Mantenga, very close by, is home to a beautiful waterfall which you can swim to if you cross the river, which is home to a freshwater crocodile. Assuming that freshwater crocodiles were small and kind of okay... We swam across. Later at Mlilwane, we learned they could grow up to 4 meters long, so swim at your own risk! Access to this will cost you 50 Rand. There is a replica traditional village before you get to the waterfall, we did not want to pay 50 Rand to see the show as we were unsure how ethical this was, having heard stories of similar shows.
When we passed by the show, we stopped off and changed our mind. The dancers wore beautiful clothes and played great music and we discovered there were all employed to dance in a very ethical way, supporting the local culture. Laura was asked to join them on stage and dance their last song with them. A nice way to get involved as they were incredibly friendly and gave a really true insight into the Swazi culture. We paid on the way out, but we encourage you to leave a tip for the dancers as this money goes straight to them!
It is a very beautiful area to explore; full of culture and facilities for travellers. But don't get stuck here, there is so much more to see and explore in this beautiful country. Natural reserves, markets and so much more.
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