Arrive in Pretoria, meet your guide and drive in convoy to Malolotja
You meet your guide in Pretoria. The location of the meeting place and the time will be arranged before the start of the tour. You drive in your own vehicle in convoy behind your guide to the Malolotja Nature Reserve. You enter Eswatini via the Waverley/Lundzi Border Post. Entering Eswatini via one of the smaller border posts just gives you that more personalized and relaxed experience. The convoy follows small gravel roads winding through some of the rural villages in Eswatini. This is your first exposure to the Swazi rural lifestyle.
A 4x4 vehicle or a vehicle with a high ground clearance is best suited for the road and trail conditions you will experience on this tour. Rest assured, your guide is fully qualified to assist you with any 4x4 challenges that you might encounter.
Please note: Refer to our company profile for a summary of the benefits of driving your own vehicle. A quotation for the rental of your vehicle will be provided separately.
Visit the Ngwenya Mine and the Glass Factory
We visit the Ngwenya Glass Factory where you will see how a small group of Swazi craftsmen and women – with age old artistry – breathe life into enchanting interpretations of the animals and birds of Africa, imbuing each with its irresistible personality. You will witness first-hand the magical art of glassblowing from an overhead balcony.
The Ngwenya Mine is considered to be the world's oldest mine. The haematite ore deposit was used in the Middle Stone Age to extract red ochre, while in later times the deposit was mined for iron smelting and iron ore export. Ngwenya means "crocodile" in siSwati. This name comes from the fact that the mountains containing the mine were crocodile-shaped, before heavy-mining began in the 1960s and defaced this ancestral shape. Radiocarbon dating yielded the age of the oldest mining activities as 41,000 to 43,000 years.
Visit The Gap Where The Nkomati River Disappears Below Ground
The gap is where the Nkomati River disappears underground and then reappears a few metres away. This makes it look like a gap in the river. There are some carved amazing potholes between the gap and the bridge.
Explore the Malolotja Nature Reserve. A few shy leopards roam the hills and gorges, while serval and aardwolf stalk the grasslands and baboons patrol the ridges. Look out for aardvark diggings and the scattered quills of porcupines. Malolotja has many treats for birders. The main drawcard is the endangered blue swallow. Other specials include Gurney’s sugarbird, ground woodpecker, Denham’s bustard and southern bald ibis – the last of these breeding on the cliffs above the falls. Malolotja is also home to localised reptiles, such as the Swazi thick-tailed rock gecko.
Drive to the Bulembu Country Lodge Via The Maguga Dam and The Nsangwini Rock Art Site
North of Malolotja, the MR1 highway from Mbabane winds steeply down into a spectacular valley, where the Nkomati River – Swaziland’s second largest – carves its winding way east across the top corner of the country towards the Indian Ocean.
The Maguga Dam, an impressive expanse of blue water, can be viewed along the way. It is Swaziland’s largest reservoir and its wall, which stands 115m high, is the fourth largest in southern Africa. We will have views of the dam at various points.
The Nsangwini Rock Art Site, an atmospheric site, preserves Swaziland’s best bushman paintings. The paintings, which
lie beneath a rock overhang down a rocky trail, are the work of the hunter-gatherer San people and could be up to 4,000 years old.
Bulembu was once a thriving asbestos mining community of about 10,000 people. Due to the health risks associated with asbestos, the mine was closed. Today it is home to about 1,000 orphans and a country lodge. We visit the Bulembu Mining Museum.
- Main Destination:
- Bulembu (Town, Eswatini)
- Bulembu Country Lodge
- Meals & Drinks:
Drive to Pretoria via the Josefsdal/Bulembu Border Post
The pass between the Josefsdal Border Post and Barberton is the drive's highlight. The incredibly scenic mountain pass is regarded as, arguably, one of the most spectacularly scenic drives in southern Africa. People describe it as "jaw-droppingly
We drive in convoy back to Pretoria.
As our time together draws to a close, we say goodbye to our new friends and head back home. You will continue your journey to your next destination on your own, whenever you feel ready to leave. We hope that you will cherish the unforgettable memories you have made during your time with us and that you will have plenty of beautiful photos to share with your loved ones and friends.
- Main Destination:
- Pretoria (City, South Africa)
- No accommodation (End of tour)
- Meals & Drinks:
Your request will be sent directly to the operator
If preferred, you can contact the operator directly