TRAIL RIDING IN THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI

9 Nights: From £1 650

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ESWATINI IS LIKE AN ISLAND WITHOUT A COAST AND THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO DISCOVER ITS SECRETS

Discover the Kingdom of Eswatini on horseback with Eswatini’s leading conservation organization. This unique trail includes 6 days of riding and 3 days on safari, across the 3 major game reserves in Eswatini.  Most of the trail ride is off the grid with no electricity or cell reception so be prepared for digital detox – one of the best things about being on safari! The trail traverses Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, commercial forests, rural community lands and wild mountains – it is a real African trail ride through constantly changing environments.

With the movement of the horse beneath you, working with a second being and having the relative freedom to survey the country-side brings such richness to this experience.  The trail includes long steep mountain climbs and descents, so good intermediate riding ability and fitness required for 4-6 hours in the saddle each day. The horses range from home-bred Warmblood-Arab-Boerperd crosses to the new cold-blood crosses introduced in recent years.  They have been bred and selected for their amazing temperaments, comfortable gaits and athleticism.  The guides are all Swazis, passionate about our horses, our kingdom and introducing our guests to their world.

Adventures here can range from 3 to 9 nights in length, and if you have the time, you can combine riding in Mlilwane with game drives and walks in two of Eswatini’s best game reserves.

On return from trail riding, view more of the countryside with a scenic drive across Eswatini to Hlane Royal National Park. Enjoy a game drive viewing elephant, lion and rhino among other species, before settling down for the night. Your last two nights will be spent in the Mkhaya Game Reserve. Enjoy game drives and game walks, with much deserved R&R before departing home on onwards to your next adventure.

QUICK FACTS
The Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)
OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
Set departures May – Sep
9 nights
Group Size: Max. 8
Intermediate and Above
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Be immersed in the local culture while exploring mountains, bushveld and farmlands on horseback
  • Visit 3 of Eswatini’s leading conservation areas, gaining an insight into their inspiring history
  • Be guided by local Swazis – gentle, passionate, capable and competent horsemen
  • Stay in various accommodation including rustic offgrid lodges and fly-camps.
  • Easily accessible and affordable, with the opportunity to also explore the nearby Kruger National Park
THE DESTINATION

The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of Africa’s smallest countries, smaller even than South Africa’s Kruger National Park.  Despite its size, Eswatini has incredible biodiversity, due to the ever-changing topography – from mountain highlands to savanna lowlands within a stretch of 130km.  One of the world’s last true monarchies, Eswatini is known for its stunning scenery,  friendly Swazi people and very relaxed way of life.

DATES & RATES

Open all year round. Please enquire for exact dates and availability.

2020 Rates:

10-day Swazi Culture & Scenery Trail (4 departures):

19 May – 28 May  2020

11 June – 20 June 2020

4 July – 13 July 2020

2 September – 11 September 2020

From £1 650.00 per person sharing (depending on current exchange rate)

Shorter trips available on request

Includes

  • All accommodation
  • All catering
  • All drinks on the trail (at Fly-Camps)
  • All Riding
  • Game drives and walking safaris
  • Qualified Swazi guides
  • Conservation Levies
  • Transfers within Eswatini

Excludes

  • Transfers to Eswatini (approximately  £60 per person)
  • Drinks at the formal camps and hotel
  • Shop/Curio purchases
  • Gratuities
  • Any extra activities
  • International Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
YOUR 10-DAY ITINERARY

** Please note that this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change depending on weather, route conditions and wildlife viewing.

We recommend this 9 night trail ride, however, there are tailormade options available including 3 night trials in the Mliwane Wildlife Sanctuary, in either fixed accommodation or fly-camping.

Day 1 - Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Arrive in the early afternoon. Enjoy your first evening game drive to meet the horses and guides. Return to the rest camp for dinner in the Hippo Haunt Restaurant and a unique night in the traditional Beehive Huts

Day 2 - Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Hippo Haunt Restaurant, followed by a 3 hour game-viewing ride. On the ride, you will test the paces of you steed, visit an old tin mine and learn more about the Mlilwlane Wildlife Sanctuary and its history. Return for lunch and a siesta then spend the afternoon on horseback, exploring a different area of the park, including a small river crossing while looking for wildlife. Time to arrange an overnight bag for the next camp before settling down to sleep in your grass hut.

Day 3 - Mlilwane North, Klipspringer Fly Camp

Breakfast at the Hippo Haunt Restaurant before departing for your 5-day trail ride. The ride climbs over the Nyonyane Mountain where you will have a break for a saddle-bag lunch before crossing the Usushwana River towards camp. Spend the afternoon relaxing in camp followed by a fun evening around the campfire.

Day 4 - Forester's Arms Hotel

Today is a full day riding, climbing through commercial plantations to Foresters Arms in the quaint Mhlambanyatsi Village, with saddle bag lunches and a water stop en-route.  Foresters Arms provides a wonderful night of comfort, with warm fires, great food and fantastic hospitality. Guests will find their full luggage in their rooms, which will be transported in a truck to the camps over the next few days.

Day 5 - Mlilwane North EmaSomini Fly Camp

Another full day of riding through commercial pine plantations, private farms and rural Swazi communities before arriving on Mlilwane North.  A short steep scramble, requiring riders to dismount and lead horses adds a fun element of adventure, rewarded by a relaxing saddlebag lunch amongst aloes and rocks. The afternoon is spent riding through local villages and farmlands, offering a chance to interact with the community and see the traditional way of life. The ride ends at emaSonimi Camp on Mlilwane North – a picturesque fly camp, your home for two nights.

Day 6 - Mlilwane North EmaSomini Fly Camp

A leisurely breakfast marks the start of a much-appreciated slow day for horses and riders after two long days in the saddle. The morning ride explores the ridges of Mlilwane North with incredible views across the country with South Africa and Mozambique seen in the distance on a clear day. While on the ridges, look back to trace your route through the mountains and marvel at your accomplishments.  A late lunch is served back at camp, and the afternoon is your time to walk, read, snooze or chat. Campfire dinner is preceded by sundowners on the rocks behind camp.

Day 7 - Hlane Royal National Park (half day riding)

An early breakfast sees you mount up for your final day in the saddle. The trail follows the ridges, winds down the escarpment and back over the Usushwana River. The river roads provide great opportunities for trots and canters, opening out to the plains and bringing us home to the Rest Camp for a shower and lunch.

In the afternoon, you will be driven to Hlane Royal National Park, home of Eswatini’s only lion and elephant populations. The night is spent in simple, comfortable rondavels (chalets) without electricity – just how parks used to be!  Dinner is in Ndlovu Camp’s semi-open restaurant overlooking a busy waterhole.

Day 8 - Mkhaya Game Reserve (Non-riding)

Breakfast in the restaurant is followed by a game drive into the lion and endangered species areas with a good chance of spotting lion, elephant, giraffe and white rhino. There is a little time for curio shopping, journalizing or just being around the waterhole between the game drive and lunch.  14h30, we transfer to Mkhaya Game Reserve (1,5 hours) to the south.

On arrival at Mkhaya, the group transfers onto open Land Rovers for a short game drive en-route to Stone Camp. This off-the-grid camp is enchanting, with unique semi-open accommodation accessed by lantern-lit sand paths winding through the riverine forest.  Black and white rhino, bushbabies and birds are highlights at Mkhaya.

Day 9 - Mkhaya Game Reserve (Non-riding)

This is a real Safari day!  An early wake up call gets us onto Game Drive just after dawn.  Return to camp for a well-deserved breakfast, followed by a a low-key interpretive game walk, with the good possibility of viewing white rhino on foot. Lunch is served under the giant sausage tree at Stone Camp. An evening game drive departs at around 4PM, returning in good time for dinner.

Day 10 - Depart Eswatini

The dreaded day of departure arrives with an early breakfast. You will depart Stone Camp straight after for your shuttle transfer to Ezulwini. From here, we can arrange transfers to OR Tambo Airport or onwards to the Kruger National Park.

Shorter Itineraries

We can arrange 2-4 night itineraries for 2-8 people.

  • Fixed accommodation – 2-3 nights in Mlilwane Rest Camp, with 2 days riding, 4-5 hours each.   Beginners welcome – great family option!  Mlilwane also offers fantastic hiking trails and mountain biking, guided or self-guided.
  • Fly Camps – riding onto Mlilwane North for 2-3 nights at Klipspringer or EmaSomini Camp. 4-6 hours of riding per day, including mountains, rural community and plains game.  Novice riders with decent fitness levels welcome.
THE ACCOMMODATION

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary’s Rest Camp

Sleep in traditional Beehive shaped huts in a circular small village. A beehive is a traditional grass dome construction with a low door and no windows providing for a deep sleep. All huts are en-suite with a shower, basin and toilet – there are larger cottages and rondavels should you prefer to upgrade.

Fly Camping

The camping is as comfortable as rustic can be – intent on enjoying nature with a little roughing it! Camps are set up in secluded spots with incredible views.  Canvas dome tents are used with canvas bedrolls, complete with pillow, mattress, sheets, duvets or sleeping bags.  A camp shower and pit latrine are conveniently positioned.

Foresters Arms

Dating from colonial times, this country hotel is a traditional haven of comfort and a place of great character and charm. Set within extensive, beautiful gardens rich in native flowers and trees, Foresters Arms offers cozy accommodation, excellent food and a charming atmosphere.

Ndlovu Camp – Hlane Royal National Park

This is a large camp with a number of chalets, rondavels and campsites. The twin en-suite rooms have gas geysers and lanterns as there is no electricity. The area is surrounded by large shady trees and there is an open-air restaurant overlooking the waterhole.

Stone Camp – Mkhaya Game Reserve

All 12 accommodation units are semi-open with half walls and tall thatch roofs suspended on thick stone pillars.  A full wall separates the living space from the bathroom, which has a shower, basin and toilet, all with views into the forest. Electricity is replaced by candles and paraffin lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere at sundown. Gas geysers warm the water and solar provides limited logistical power.

QUICK FACTS
Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland)
OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
Set departures May – Sep
9 nights
Group Size: Max. 8
Intermediate and Above
View Gallery
9 Nights: From £1 650 pp sharing

See Detailed Rates

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS
Beginner
Novice
Intermediate
Intermediate Plus
Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Be immersed in the local culture while exploring mountains, bushveld and farmlands on horseback
  • Visit 3 of Eswatini’s leading conservation areas, gaining an insight into their inspiring history
  • Be guided by local Swazis – gentle, passionate, capable and competent horsemen
  • Stay in various accommodation including rustic offgrid lodges and fly-camps.
  • Easily accessible and affordable, with the opportunity to also explore the nearby Kruger National Park
DATES & RATES

Open all year round. Please enquire for exact dates and availability.

2020 Rates:

10-day Swazi Culture & Scenery Trail (4 departures):

19 May – 28 May  2020

11 June – 20 June 2020

4 July – 13 July 2020

2 September – 11 September 2020

From £1 650.00 per person sharing (depending on current exchange rate)

Shorter trips available on request

Includes

  • All accommodation
  • All catering
  • All drinks on the trail (at Fly-Camps)
  • All Riding
  • Game drives and walking safaris
  • Qualified Swazi guides
  • Conservation Levies
  • Transfers within Eswatini

Excludes

  • Transfers to Eswatini (approximately  £60 per person)
  • Drinks at the formal camps and hotel
  • Shop/Curio purchases
  • Gratuities
  • Any extra activities
  • International Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

It was a great, amazing, cool, top experience to ride the Tuliblock in Botswana. 8 day's on a back of a horse and view a lot of game. The guides and staff were great. So I will come back!

Nicole PlasTuli Safari, Botswana
READ MORE REVIEWS

How we care for our horses

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses in Eswatini are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:
  • The horses are viewed as partners in the mountains, to be respected and assisted while they carry us on our journey.
  • The horses run as a herd, as we believe this goes a long way to creating happy, versatile horses.
  • The herd is split into 3 groups with one group being off every week.  This way they have less chance of becoming stale at work, and they socialize with the entire herd, translating to easy trailing.
  • The horses are rotated between paddocks on the farm, all of which are shared with wildlife which makes its way in.  On any given day, there are nyala, zebra, wildebeest, warthog and blesbuck in our paddocks, making the horses more accepting of wildlife.

Please let us know if you have any more questions around this.

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