Two experiences in one is hardly ever a bad thing, and for those travelling to Mozambique, the great news is they can easily double up on their experiences with a stop in eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland.
Approximately 175 kilometres from Mozambique, eSwatini is an ideal day trip.
The kingdom of eSwatini might be one of the smallest countries in southern Africa, but this easy-going destination has much to offer: colourful people, a lively atmosphere, traditional royal ceremonies, spectacular scenery and fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities.
Dana Tours offers a closer look at what to expect and see first.
Culture vultures rejoice
If your focus is eSwatini’s unique culture, Dana Tours’ full-day Cultural Day Trip promises this and more. Visit the Manzini Market and Mantenga Craft Centre, and the arts and craft attraction at Malandela’s Complex.
Mantenga Craft Centre features several small shops that stock various keepsakes, from weaving and tapestries to candles, woodcarvings and clothing. Try the Little Silver shop for something to add to your jewellery box.
At Malandela’s Complex, visit the arts and craft centre before making a stop to a Swazi Candle Factory, which gives visitors an overview of the art of decorative candle making.
Lunch at either Malandela’s or the Candle Factory is included in the price. Tours leave at dawn, with the return trip to Maputo scheduled for the early evening.
Into the wild
If you are more attuned to explore eSwatini’s wild side, a full-day trip to Hlane National Park will not disappoint.
Across the Lebombo Mountains leaving Maputo, Hlane Royal National Park is home to Swaziland’s largest herds of game. The reserve features lion, elephant, white rhino, giraffe and hippo, with good populations of kudu, zebra, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, duiker and impala, and a host of other lesser-spotted mammals.
The park is also home to a variety of snakes, lizards, two species of tortoise and the Nile crocodile.
More than 250 bird species live in the Swaziland lowveld, and the park sustains the highest density of tree-nesting vultures in southern Africa, including the White-Backed Vulture and including the endangered Cape vulture.
Game drives are operated in open safari vehicles; however, birding and game walks are not to be missed. Mountain bike rides through the park can also be arranged.
This day-trip option includes lunch, park entrance fees, safari activities and bottled water.
Departure is at dawn, returning to Maputo in the early evening. It is recommended that travellers pack a hat and warm jacket. Children under six years of age are not permitted on game drives.
Travel tip: On both outings, ensure you have all the necessary documentation (visas and passport) to enter eSwatini and for re-entry into Mozambique. Dana recommends that you take euro, US dollars or South African rand in small denominations to purchase souvenirs.