Mbabane is the biggest city in the country and houses both the classic markets as well as modern looking shopping centres. The city doesn't offer any special sightings but when exploring by foot we found at least some spots worth taking some shots, among them some Swazi street art as seen below. Apart from the commerce at the market and the busy scene at the taxi station, there is not that much more to see. Anyhow it still deserves a stop when passing by and for us it was a perfect timing for a lunch before continuing south in the country.
Street art in Mbabane with truly Swazi inspiration
After leaving Mbabane behind it was time to make the short drive to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of several parks within the Big Game Parks and the oldest protected area of the country. At Mlilwane, we were advised to stay in the Beehive Village which is a typical Swazi accomondation in the shape of a hive. Be sure to book well in advance though as they seemed to be very popular way to stay the night within the park. I have never slept or even seen something like this before so it was a nice and exciting experience, especially to hear the wildlife just outside during the night.
Entrance to the Mliliwane Wildlife Sanctuary
The Beehive Village
Inside the Beehive with comfortable beds and even electricity
The 4x4 safari jeep
The beautiful sunset view from the top of the mountain at Mlilwane
Local beer to enjoy in the sunset
Back at the camp, it was time for dinner which was served at the main building in connection of a small lake. Not that easy to get a view since when it's get dark in Africa, it's really dark! But the sound of the awakening wildlife could not be missed, a powerful flashlight would be great to spot some of the action. The walk back to beehive in the dark was quite interesting as well as of now the impalas and gazelles had dared to enter the camp area in shelter of the darkness.
Next morning and breakfast at the same place as the dinner last night, this time with a great view of the birdlife around the lake. The camera was as always ready and I managed to get some great shots of an hunting heron and some other smaller birds flying around. Since the camp area was located in the middle of the park we had the chance to go on our own game drive while checking out from the facitlity and leaving the park. We could ceratinly have stayed one or two more nights at this place to try some more of the acitivities offered, it's not everywhere you can go game driving on a bike!
Warthog with two small suckling piglets during our own game drive
To summarize, 24 hours pass by quite fast but in the same time you are able to do quite a lot anyway if planned ahead. I can really recommend a visit to Swaziland even if it's short. We managed to experience both the capital, a great game drive with an memorable stay in a beehive all without rushing. Just click the link below if you want to see more photos from our stop in Swaziland!
A typical Swazi road sign on our way south to the border