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Best Route

Wellington NZ
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Best Route

Hi, We will be driving from St Lucia up to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary near Manzini. Which would be the best option?

1/ Enter at Golela Border Post and drive via Big Bend

2/ Enter at Golela and take MR11 to Nhlangano

3/ Enter at Onverwacht and take MR11

I have read that the route from Nhlangano to Manzini via Hlatikulu is very scenic but also very steep and winding roads? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Perth
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21. Re: Best Route

Thank you MrOther. I've got Hlane booked now - didn't think to ask anyone whether the border crossing south of Komatipoort was open and it appears it isn't. Probably why I couldn't find a name for it on the map. They recommend entering via Jeppe’s Reef so a bit more backtracking - but it won't matter by the sound of it.

After reading your suggestion about Malolotja, our teen daughter is excited about the canopy experience with the zipline so we might stay there instead of Phophonyane. I'll look into the drive to The Forester's Arms and any other routes you recommend. We don't mind trying the dirt roads in the rental car - (we've driven places with the best of the 4WDs in our various Kombi vans!).

A bit concerned that you say a week is a long time in Swaziland - we'll be there 10 days. One of the places we're staying in Mbuvu Falls offers opportunities to do some volunteer work in the village so perhaps we can make ourselves useful in some way.

Amsterdam
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22. Re: Best Route

Oh, sorry. The Mananga border post is closed, is it? I didn't know. Funny, if I Google it, I don't find any reports of it closing, but I would trust what they are telling you at Hlane.

I would double check the Malolotja canopy tour. It looks great, but I've never done it and things have a habit of getting started with a lot of enthusiasm in Swaziland and then quietly disappearing. That park is worth a visit with or without the canopy experience, though, so I still recommend it.

And I expect you have read somewhere or other a recommendation to try Malandela's restaurant and bar. It's part of the same group of buildings as House on Fire, here: http://goo.gl/Nczg1X There's always something going on there, and if there isn't then the buildings themselves are worth a visit.

Perth
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23. Re: Best Route

No apology needed, I just couldn't find a name for that border post anywhere. Now that you've named it, I'll get the local info when we're in Komatipoort.

I did get a quick reply from the canopy tour people, always a good sign. As you say, the accommodation looks a bit bleak even for us but it'll be fine for a night.

Yes I have read about Malandela's, in one of your previous posts I believe.

Hlane Camp has sent a lot of information (whereas Mlilwane sent nothing). They say it's prohibited to bring meat and dairy products into Swaziland d/t foot and mouth in S.A. We'll be doing some B&B and some self-catering - could you recommend anywhere to stock up on supplies in country given that Mbabane will be one of our last stops? I'm imagining an open air hut selling whatever items the vendor could get hold of that day. Perhaps it's more sophisticated.

Amsterdam
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24. Re: Best Route

:-)

Yes, it's a bit more sophisticated! I'd do your grocery shopping at the Gables shopping centre in Ezulwini, close to the Mlilwane entrance gate here: http://goo.gl/s1FAWd

In June I bought genuine (French) camembert in the Spar supermarket there, and next door there is a bottle store (liquor store) which sells more than one good single malt whisky. You'll survive!

Perth
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25. Re: Best Route

It sounds like we will! Thanks again for all your advice.

Atlanta, Georgia
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25 reviews
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26. Re: Best Route

Swaziland is growing as few store like Spar and yeap, I checked the liquor store in the new complex near Mbabane. There is almost a new mall by Happy Valley Hotel, formerly known as "If not why not". Mall is not huge but is progress, and quite modern. There is ATM to withdraw cash there.

I was wondering bilasukari since you going to spent ten days in Swaziland, have you checked Mixos? a Swazi tour that consist of experiencing the Swazi culture and even spent the night the Swazi way. Swazi trails company may be something to consider. I heard Shewula is a nice place for a day visit. A friend of mine did Mixos, but din't get any feedback. I agree 10 days is very long unless you want to relax and away from the hustle and bustle. Anyway, hope you post your experience here, it's very challenging to learn from visitors experiences. Thanks.

Perth
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27. Re: Best Route

Thanks for the info - I was wondering where to pick up grocery supplies as (according to Hlane where we start our Swazi adventure) we must enter at Jeppes border x'ing so we're not really going via the Capital to get to our first self-catering location. As it's only meat and dairy that are restricted to import, I think as MrOther says, we will survive.

I haven't looked into Mixos but all our nights are booked now. Our teen daughter will do an overnight horse trek to spend a night in a cave and some other activities.

I will definitely post my experiences as long as I have something worthwhile to contribute. Perhaps we have misjudged the length of time we're spending there (it's only because of the change of plan leaving us with 6 nights to fill in between already-booked accomm). But, really we are fine to just sit in the woods reading or get absorbed in local culture. We prefer that to zooming around and seeing how many miles we can clock up on the car! Our total time in Southern Africa is 7 weeks so it might be good to stay in one spot 7 relax for a while.....

Atlanta, Georgia
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28. Re: Best Route

Hi Bilasukari, how was your trip?

Perth
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85 posts
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29. Re: Best Route

Exceptionally good - thanks for asking! I posted 11 accommodation reviews when we returned. It turns out that 10 days wasn't too long to spend in Swaziland. The way they drive there took a bit of getting used to but I think we only actually got run off the road about twice! Dodging oncoming passing vehicles invariably led to hitting a massive pot hole but we survived the roads.

The people are really friendly and happy and we found ourselves ankle deep in cow poo dancing barefoot in a kraal with the King Of Swaziland which was an unexpected authentic local experience. Zip-lining with Malolotja Canopy Tours is not to be missed. The views are spectacular. But the highlight in Swaziland for us was spending Christmas at Mlilwane, details of which you can find under my reviews.

All the best to you and thanks again for the input before we left.

Atlanta, Georgia
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30. Re: Best Route

Thanks for posting. I also appreciated your input since is quite challenging to obtain updated information.

I agree. Probably the friendliest people I ever came across.

I think they need to be more aggressive with their tourism program. Much room to improve.

I read your reviews and all sounded very good. Very interesting and helpful.

"we found ourselves ankle deep in cow poo dancing barefoot in a kraal with the King Of Swaziland" jijiji quite of experience.

Don't be shy and come back from time to time helping others. The best to you too and thank you again.

Edited: 05 May 2014, 12:13