Swaziland has been independent since 1968 and is one of the three last monarchies left in Africa. His Majesty, King Mswati, rules over this lush land, known for it’s fertile valleys and gigantic mountain ranges that encircle the Kingdom.
The country is snuggled between South Africa and Mozambique and is home to giraffe, antelope, crocodiles, waterbuck, zebra, wildebeest and many more. One of the larger reserves is at the Phoponyane Falls. The reserve is 500 hectares large and contains one of Swazilands many legends.
According to the folktale, a beautiful maiden fell in love with heroic warrior. In tradition, if a warrior wanted to wed a maiden, he would have to present a leopard’s skin, hunted from the Gobolondo mountain. After the warrior had climbed the slopes, he came across one of the residential witches. She turned him into a white flower for trespassing on her land, so that he would spend the rest of eternity blooming with the season.
When the warrior did not return, the maiden banished herself to the rivers edge, where she cried non-stop. Her tears flowed into the water, causing the river to create the Phoponyane falls. Legend has it, when the flower blooms in spring, she slowly stops crying, causing the falls to slow down and gurgle.
For visitors in the region, the Phoponyane contains many hikes, game watches and bike rides. One of which is a 20-minute climb to a gorgeous panoramic view. From here you can see the Lomati, Shashwane and Shelangubo rivers, traveling their journey through the Makhonjwa hills and Sondeza mountain ranges.
To the west, the Bulembu Mountains tower over the Bulembu village. The mountain reaches an impressive height of 1862 meters above sea level, making it the highest mountain range in the Kingdom. You can also spot the South African Border from this point. The nature reserve also offers accommodation to adventurers wanting to explore the area.
The reserve houses three individually designed self-catering cottages, all with private gardens and exquisite views of the valley with its lush forests. For some that would like to rough it out a bit more, there are Safari Tents, and for others who would prefer a bit more privacy, there are 2 en-suite beehives.
The nature reserve holds it’s own a-la-carte restaurant. Swaziland is one of the few destinations that still holds unspoiled ground. The eyes can wonder for miles upon miles of nature’s beauty. Each valley and corner holds it’s own story and legend that the locals would love to tell you. The Kingdom is on exceptionally good terms with it’s neighbors and the feeling of welcome is stretched all round.