Swaziland has a subtropical climate. Summer temperatures range between 15–25 degrees, while in winter the average temperatures are 15-19 degrees. At higher altitudes rainfall varies from 1,000 to 1,600mm annually, while in the lowlands it averages 500 to 600mm.
When to fly to Swaziland
Visit between June and September as these are the coolest and driest months. The Umhlanga Reed Dance Day (depending on the position of the moon) takes place in August. Independence/Somhlolo Day falls on 6 September.
October to May are the wettest months of the year. This is the time for off-peak travel and cheap flights to Swaziland. October is the warmest month. Incwala Day, which marks the start of the Swazi new year, falls in December or January (depending on the moon).
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Getting around Swaziland
Swaziland is the smallest country in the southern hemisphere. The main airport is at Matsapha, north of Manzini, and there are small airstrips dotted around the country.
Rail and bus services are decent. Minibus taxis are also an option.
Swaziland insider information
- Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Ezulwini Valley and covers 4,650 hectares. The Ezulwini Valley is often called the “Valley of Heaven” and boasts Nyonyane Mountain, the site of Swazi royal graves. The peak known as the Rock of Execution has a grisly past. This was where, in feudal times, if you were seen to be too rich, outlaws would kidnap you, take you to the top and push you over the edge. Today, the Rock of Execution offers an energetic climb and beautiful views. Behind the mountains are the Mantenga waterfall and Usushwana Valley. There is a good network of hiking trails at Mlilwane. Spot zebras, antelope, crocodiles, giraffes, hippos and wildebeest along the way.
- Lobamba, 14km (9 miles) from Mbabane, the capital, is the centre of government. The House of Parliament is here as are the National Museum (exhibits Swazi art, craft and culture) and the palace of the Royal family (the Ludzidzini Royal Residence).
- Embo State Palace is where you can see the monarchy during the Incwala ceremony and the Uhmlanga dance. These take place at the Royal Kraal in Lobamba.
- Go white-water rafting on the Great Usuthu River.
- Swazi Cultural Village is a must-see; a living museum of traditional Swazi life. The Village is composed of 16 beehive huts. The Sibhaca and Umhlanga dances are performed twice-daily.
- Mkhaya Game Reserve is considered to be Swaziland’s most exclusive reserve. It has good facilities for white-water rafting, and is the best place to see the elusive white rhino.