Southern Africa is one of the most affordable long haul destinations to visit, but it’s the region’s hidden treasures which make it a ‘go to’ destination.
The Kingdom of Swaziland and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho are contained within the Rainbow Nation’s borders and with tourism about to take off in these less well travelled enclaves, they should definitely be on your bucket list.
Lesotho and Swaziland
Lesotho has remained largely off the radar as there are only a few entry points including, the Sani Pass. Famed for being one of the most stunning and treacherous drives in the world, its twists, hairpin bends, plunging drops and breathtaking scenery make it a 'must drive' for any adrenaline junkie. Swaziland is also difficult to reach, as the roadways are particularly hard to navigate and they are often in poor condition. In that sense, it’s wise to book yourself on an organised tour.
What to See in Lesotho
Known as the Mountain Kingdom or Kingdom in the Sky, Lesotho plays host to a wealth of different experiences.
Follow in the ‘hoof-steps’ of the famous Basotho herdsmen and trek across the landlocked kingdom by pony.
The only way to travel, these small sturdy horses handle the narrow trails better than any 4X4, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. From late September to early January, you might be able to watch, and even have a go at sheep shearing enroute (one of Southern Africa’s extreme sports), the excursion including a village visit and the chance to meet with local herdsmen.
Mountain biking, abseiling, homestays and hiking to view ancient bushman paintings are also on the list of optional pursuits in Lesotho.
What to See in Swaziland
Swaziland may be the smallest country in the southern hemisphere, but experts are suggesting it could become Southern Africa’s next adventure capital.
Head for Mlilwane National Park where you can enjoy a more intimate safari and view the wildlife by mountain bike or on foot.
Composed of grassland plains and granite peaks, you can also take an optional overnight hack on horseback and sleep in a cave complete with San Bushman paintings. Home to many exotic species, this conservation hotspot is inhabited by the honey badger, dwarf mongoose, aardwolf and striped polecat, and the more common hippo, ostrich, kudu, zebra and baboon.
A destination which is sure to inspire culture vultures, why not take a guided village walk? Along the way you will be given the opportunity to witness performances of traditional song and dance and even meet a Sangoma. A very powerful person in Swazi culture, the Sangoma are thought to have healing powers and they are often asked to predict the future. Who knows, they might well tell you where you'll be heading on your next adventure...