Have your parents started asking about visiting you in eSwatini? Or maybe you have started asking them?
Have no fear!
I judiciously planned the use of all my vacation days, including for when my parents visited me in eSwatini. I know, though, that not everyone is like me and did not spend hours at site reading guidebooks for Southern Africa, South Africa, Lesotho, and eSwatini.
I started planning my parents’ trip by researching options I was interested in and by suggesting Bradt’s guide to Swaziland for my parents to read.
While my parents found the book enlightening and interesting, no specific activity stood out to them. This led to me planning a trip that specifically involved sights and locations not easily accessible by public transportation.
We spent a lot of time in the car looking for animals, and my parents would have been ok with less. They were pleased with all of our destinations (we also spent a week in KwaZulu Natal traveling to uMkhuze Game Reserve, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, St. Lucia, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park).
No matter who is coming to visit eSwatini, there are a few sites that I recommend to everyone.
Specific sites to see in eSwatini
- Your community, homestead, and hut
- Mantenga Cultural Village tour and dance performance
- Hlane Royal National Park for a game drive in the lion enclosure and an overnight
The camp is beautiful, the lions are extremely chatty at night, and you are nearly guaranteed to see the lions there. Hlane is nothing like Kruger or any other big game park, but getting so close to the lions and the possibility of getting close to a rhino and elephant will create a lasting memory.
What about Kruger?
Kruger is amazing. I have visited the park three times, and I am planning a fourth now. You can either book everything yourself, with a private hotel outside the park or inside the park, or you can work with All Out Africa here in eSwatini. All Out offers fully catered trips to Kruger from Swaziland that depart monthly and can schedule other trips too. They also have a hotel outside the Crocodile Bridge entrance, from where they run day tours. If you want more info from All Out, I can connect you, or if you reach out to them, let them know you heard about All Out from me.
Should I book game drives?
Wherever you go on a game drive, I recommend doing at least one drive with a guide. I am pretty good at spotting and naming animals now, but driving while doing that is a skill that is difficult. If you aren’t good at spotting or naming, then it is even more of a challenge. My parents really enjoyed the professional drives we took: one at uMkhuze, one at iSimangaliso in St. Lucia, one at Hlane, and one at Kruger.
Information about hotels
- There aren’t really chain hotels like in the US
- Most places are family run and well cared for
- There are all types and kinds of places to spend the night
- Bed configurations vary
- Often include kitchens
- Toiletries not provided, except hand soap
Other vacation locations
- Cape Town
- The Garden Route in South Africa
- Chobe National Park in Botswana
- Victoria Falls
Alison planned a great trip for us. We had very interesting lodging, meals, and the animals were exciting to see up close.