Overview – Swaziland

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Swaziland section of their 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Swaziland section of their 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan has authored the Swaziland section of Lonely Planet's 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan researched and wrote about Swaziland for Lonely Planet.

Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini) is easily incorporated in a South African holiday. It offers some outstanding wildlife viewing in low-key parks, stunning scenery and traditional cultures. Mkhaya Game Reserve and Hlane Royal National Park are excellent places to see many flagship animals.

Rates (USD) $94 to $370 pp/day
Best Time to Go May to September (Dry season)
High Season December to January and July to August (It never gets very busy)
Size 17,364km² / 6,704mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Easily accessible wildlife viewing
  • Self-drive package or custom safaris
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Traditional cultures
  • Family friendly and many affordable accommodation options
  • Small parks with fenced animal enclosures lack wilderness appeal
  • Not many upmarket accommodation options in the parks

Swaziland Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Swaziland has a good variety of wildlife with all of the Big Five present. The parks are quite small but well managed. Some animals are kept in large drive-through enclosures which makes viewing easy. Lion, white rhino and elephant are all easily seen in Hlane. A good variety of antelope species can be seen in different environments, including tsessebe, eland and sable.

Weather & Climate

Swaziland has a distinct summer and winter but at opposite times as in Europe and North America. Summer, from October to April, corresponds with the Wet season and winter, from May to September, corresponds with the Dry season. The summer rains usually manifest in the form of afternoon storms and rarely interfere with daily activities. Summer tends to be quite hot with temperatures up to 32°C/90°F and high humidity.

Best Time to Visit

Swaziland can be visited throughout the year. Wildlife viewing tends to be a bit better during the Dry winter months when vegetation is thin and animals come to drink at predictable sources. However, the parks are quite small and many animals are kept in large enclosures which makes viewing easy at any time. April to May and September to October are transition months and offer lovely weather conditions with mild temperatures but little rain.

Premier Parks & Reserves

Want to Visit Swaziland?

Swaziland Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
A scenic country of emerald peaks, valleys and waterfalls and easy wildlife reserves to visit
3/5

Covering just over 17,000-sq-km (smaller than Kruger National Park), Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere, and Africa’s last absolute monarchy. King Mswati III recently renamed it the Kingdom of eSwatini (‘place...

Latest User Review
cosmo45  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Feb 17, 2020
Sensational
5/5

I spent four nights in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in January 2020, staying in Mbabane, the small capital. The country is roughly the same size as Wales. The roads are not as good as those in neighbouring South Africa: there are many...

Full Review