Swaziland wildlife and culture tour
Description of Swaziland wildlife and culture tour
Swaziland holidays are just like the country itself in as much as they cram a heck of a lot into a rather small package. There are just so many things to do that you’ll be spoiled for choice, and as this 12 day Swaziland holiday features a wide variety of wildlife-focused excursions you can rest assured that you’ll discover all the highlights plus a few more organic experiences to treasure for a lifetime.
Cultural heritage is at the beating heart of local lifestyles, and as this is one of Africa’s last executive monarchies you’ll find Swaziland holidays to be as culturally enlightening as openly exciting.
Swazi people are well-known for their warm and hospitable nature and visiting a local school, a craft workshop, and listening to harmonised choirs and watching traditional dancing, will leave you in no doubt as to just why Swaziland holidays are such a joy for culturally-aware travellers.
Wildlife reserves, such as Mlilwane, Malolotja and Mkhaya, allow you to walk with guides and learn how to track some of Southern Africa’s most amazing animals with the endless landscapes of the African bush alive with adventure and not to be missed by any stretch of the imagination.
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1 Reviews of Swaziland wildlife and culture tour
Reviewed on 06 Jan 2020 by Kitty Corrigan
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Having such a wonderful local Swazi guide. I was the only person on the trip so that was important.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Many tourists spend only one or two nights in Swaziland (Eswatini) between Kruger and Mozambique. It is a small country but you need a week at least.
Wildlife is superb and accommodation exceeded my expectations. I expected cold water and a long drop, but had hot showers and flushing toilet everywhere
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
All of the above.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Read the operator's response here:
PlanetThis tour is extremely wildlife focused, where we visit several wildlife sanctuaries and reserves. Our visit to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary includes visits to the education boards dotted around the camp. We visit Mkhaya Game Reserve, which was originally set up as a breeding program for endangered species. By visiting these places, clients are educated in the care and conservation of these animals and we contribute to crucial conservation and research projects designed to ensure the long term wellbeing of the wildlife that lives here.
Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and we make a point of ensuring we do not leave any permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us whilst visiting the reserves.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.
PeopleWe visit Shewula Mountain Camp, the first community eco-tourism project in Swaziland which is the most successful in the whole of Southern Africa. The camp is owned and ran by the local community, with all profits shared and kept within the local economy, helping to continually develop and improve this area.
On this tour we visit Mantenga’s traditional village as well as the Umphakatsi, the local chief, where you will learn about the local Swazi culture and traditional lifestyle. We also visit Nsangwini Rock Shelter, which is the largest example of San art in the country, and members of the Nsangwini community explain the interpretations to foreigners, giving an insight to the San people. We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. We use local guides, and clients are briefed on appropriate guidelines when meeting the local people.
In our pre-departure information we include guidelines about photography – this is particularly relevant if or when we are among the local people and the Umphakatsi, who are generally incredibly photogenic although sometimes not keen on having their photo taken. Although many people are happy to be photographed, others are not, and we emphasise to our travellers the importance of respecting people’s wishes.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. On this your we visit ‘Gone Rural’, a project set up to empower and support Swazi women through weaving. A project like this is vital in countries like Swaziland where woman had few rights and forced to rely on men. This project helps women earn a secure, independent income which supports themselves and their families. By visiting this project, we are raising awareness of this project and supporting the local crafts.
We get to see local crafts when visiting Swazi Candles and the Ngwenya glass factory where recycled glass is made into sculptures. Travellers have the opportunity to support local communities by purchasing local handicrafts.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
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