Slackpacking in Eswatini (Swaziland) has long been on our to do list. Covid-19 has provided some major challenges for All Out Africa but it has also presented some great opportunities. Many wild and remote parts of Eswatini (Swaziland) offer a perfect setting for Slackpacking tours. After years of talking about setting these up, but being too busy to get it done, now finally we’ve been able to launch these hiking trips.
With much more time on our hands now and the need to get creative, we finally got to work on this slackpacking project. Over the course of 2020 All Out Africa has launched seven unique slackpacking tours for Eswatini (Swaziland) in three distinctly different locations: Malolotja Nature Reserve, the Lubombo Conservancy and the Ngwempisi Wilderness Area.
Slackpacking essentially means “easy backpacking” as you don’t have to carry a heavy backpack from camp to camp meaning you can walk freely and enjoy the surroundings without the slog. The concept has become very popular worldwide, allowing people of average fitness to explore wild and remote places they may never have seen otherwise.
Slackpacking in Malolotja Nature Reserve
Slackpacking in Malolotja Nature Reserve is amazing! It is surely one of the most impressive mountain parks in Southern Africa. The spectacular scenery and the variety of fauna and flora makes it a prime highveld conservation area and truly amazing hiking destination. Here you can now choose from a 1, 2, 3 or 4-night slackpacking adventure. These trails take you right into the heart of the reserve exploring its incredible mountains, grasslands, gorges, forests, rock pools and rivers. Malolotja is a true gem and considered by many to be the most beautiful part of Eswatini (Swaziland).
Depending on which route you chose, you will have the opportunity to see the following highlights:
1. Mhlangamphepha Valley and Falls
2. View of the Siweni Falls on the Mhlangamphepha River
3. View of Malolotja Waterfall (the highest in Eswatini (Swaziland) at 95m)
4. View of Maphandakazi Falls
5. The Malolotja River itself
6. The Upper Potholes (dramatic and imposing)
7. The Lower Potholes (the highlight of the whole trip, these potholes and waterfall are incredibly beautiful and easy to access for swimming and relaxing)
8. Komati River Views (amazing views into this remote and wild river valley and the impressive Mgwayiza Range beyond it)
9. Campsite 16 and the Komati River itself (beautiful valley with the narrow Siweni Gorge as the trail exists Malolotja)
All of the routes go through the and camp at the famous Lower Potholes.
All Out Africa have run a good number of Malolotja Slackpack routes over the past year with domestic tour groups, and the feedback has been fantastic. Magical Malolotja is a must for all visitors to Eswatini (Swaziland). These new slackpacking routes have now made the hidden highlights of the park accessible to a much wider audience.
Slackpacking in the Lubombo Conservancy
Slackpacking in the Lubombo Conservancy takes you through the wild and remote Lubombo Mountains on the boundary of the eastern lowveld of Eswatini (Swaziland). This is an excellent winter hiking destination. The new 2 or 3 night slackpack trail traverses 3 adjoining conservation areas, Mhlumeni Community Reserve, Mlawula Nature Reserve and Mbuluzi Game Reserve and all are part of the greater Lubombo Conservancy. Wildlife is present in the reserves and there is a chance to see species such as zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, bush buck, giraffe, klipspringer, monkey and baboon. The area also has fascinating botanical, geological and archeological value and the trail guide interprets the environment from a natural and cultural perspective as you walk.
The route begins high up on the Lubombo plateau at Mhlumeni Bush Camp and winds its way down into the Siphiso Valley of Mlawula, before ending at Mbuluzi Campsite.
The trail is non-technical making walking relatively easy and each of the camps have hot water showers and clean flush toilets making it that little bit comfier.
The highlights of the trail include:
- The Lubombo Mountain Range itself
- Mhlumeni Bush Camp – high up on the Lubombo plateau with sweeping views across the Swazi lowveld to the west and the Mozambique coastal plain to the west
- Siphiso Campsite with is beautiful Leadwood trees
- The Malayida Cave and Valley
- River walk along the Mbuluzi River
- Mbuluzi River gorge views in Mbuluzi Game Reserve
- Mbuluzi Campsite on the banks of the Mbuluzi River with its views on to the Lubombo Mountain Range
Slackpacking the Ngwempisi Wilderness Area
Slackpacking the Ngwempisi Wilderness Area takes you into the heart of the rugged and beautiful Ngwempisi Gorge. This is a new location for Slackpacking in the kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland). The Ngwempisi Wilderness Area is unique in that it blends rural community lands with protected nature reserves, all within breath-taking natural landscapes. Slackpacking options are available for 1, 2, 3 or 4 nights.
Depending on the duration of your trip your slackpacking adventure highlights may include:
- The rugged and majestic Ngwempisi Gorge which cuts through the Ntfungula mountains forming one of Eswatini (Swaziland)’s most impressive gorges.
- Nights under the stars at the rustic Rock Lodge, built from wood, on 5 levels, in a bolder cluster on the top of the gorge with amazing views out over the Ngwempisi River
- Exploring the wooded banks of the Ngwempisi River and enjoying swimming in beautiful pools along its course.
- Succulents on the rocky edges of the gorge with many different species of aloe and euphorbia
- Cozy and comfortable accommodation at Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat
Slackpacking in Ngwempisi can combine camping, accommodation in comfortable lodges depending on how you would like to design your itinerary. This trail is excellent at any time of the year.
For more information or to book your own slackpacking adventure email us firstname.lastname@example.org