A Swaziland self drive safari trip is probably one of the best ways to experience this tiny country because the distances between locations are small which means you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
And the country's close location to South Africa means you can easily combine a Swaziland self drive with a trip to the Kruger National Park to the north or the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and other parks to the south.
Learn more about how to guide your own safari in Swaziland.
The road network is in reasonably good condition especially closer to the larger urban centers like Mbabane and Manzini but even in the rural areas the gravel roads are navigable with a normal two wheel drive vehicle.
The total road network in the country extends for about 3 400 km (2 112 mi) and about a third of that is tarred, providing links to both South Africa and Mozambique.
There are roadworks on the main highway from the Oshoek/Ngwenya border post through Ezulwini but that has been ongoing for several years now (and will continue for several years more) and is not very disruptive.
To get an idea of what a Swaziland self drive trip to the Mlilwane and Malolotja game reserves will set you back, I've designed a spreadsheet below containing the major expenses you will incur on such a trip.
Simply add the relevant costs (find these by clicking on the links or from the spreadsheet itself) in the space provided where it says "add the total cost to this block" and the spreadsheet will calculate the cost per person per day in four currencies namely Rand, Pound, Euro and US Dollar.
|Because Swaziland is so small you can cover the full distance from north to south in a matter of hours. The distance calculator on the right displays distances between game parks, urban areas and border posts and the time it will take to get there. It's based on an average travelling speed of 80km/h (50mi/h) because you have to slow down when passing through towns and near livestock.|
Sibebe Rock - The second largest exposed rock in the world (only Ayers rock in Australia is bigger). Hike to the top for some spectacular views.
Ngwenya Glass - Observe the mysterious art of glassblowing first hand from an observation platform above the workshop and purchase the finished handmade glass articles in the showroom as a memento of your Swaziland self drive visit.
Swazi Candles - Located in a farmhouse, this workshop houses Swazi craftsmen and women who mould each candle into a unique and individual product. You can watch the entire process as it takes shape before your eyes.
House on Fire - This spectacularly decorated performance arena and art gallery has to be seen to be believed. Filled with enough statues, sculptures, mosaic reliefs and soapstone slates to make even Gaudi do a double take, this is a piece of architecture unique to Swaziland.
Also in the Malandela's complex where House on Fire is situated, is Gone Rural where you can buy quality decorative products made by the rural Swazi people from dyed mountain grass.