True to the billing of being named one of the top five countries to visit for 2020 by world-leading travel authority Lonely Planet, the lovely Kingdom of Eswatini still shines on.
Despite the global partial lockdowns in many countries restricting travel, Eswatini still remains a destination once we return to the normal travel routines.
The country received the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020, the highly anticipated annual collection of the best travel destinations, trends, journeys and experiences to have in 2020. Indeed despite this recognition being made before the lockdowns, the country continued to attract curious tourists to this wonderful land and is still primed to attract more once travel restarts.
“The varied landscapes within its parks and reserves provide one exciting revelation after another, whether it is zip lining, trekking, whitewater rafting or mind-blowing rhino encounters. Mix in a pervading sense of peace and enthralling cultural festivities and you’ll be smiling all the way home,” Lonely Planet assured.
Unmissable experiences in Eswatini recommended by Lonely Planet’s experts at the time included watching a crash of almost a dozen wild rhinos bathe, lounge and drink at one of the many secluded waterholes within Mkhaya Game Reserve. They also recommended spotting zebras, elands, wildebeests, warthogs and more while on a short stroll, day hike or challenging multi-day trek in the rough mountain terrain of Malolotja Nature Reserve.
The country’s cultural activities are also a tourism drawcard as they were described the Reed Dance as one of the continent’s greatest cultural events.
Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s VP of Experience, said, “Eswatini offers mind-blowing wildlife watching, stunning scenery, adrenaline-boosting activities and colourful traditions, yet it has remained relatively undiscovered.”
The country has since launched a Domestic Tourism campaign called a Wonder Awaits to encourage locals to also experience the beauty of their own home country. This comes at a time when another campaign called Vakasha Eswatini (Visit Eswatini) has also gained momentum with thousands of locals weekly posting pictures of themselves at scenic local sights.
ETA CEO Linda Nxumalo said the accolade by Lonely Planet is still very much relevant even today despite the borders not being so busy.
“The tourism industry is still working hard on coming up with even more amazing experiences that will make for memorable trips for visitors once borders and airports are open again. We have no doubt that they will be satisfied when they experience why we are so highly rated as a destination,” she said.
Group Editor of Lonely Planet Magazines, Peter Grunert, also had travelled to Eswatini for 6 days and reported that his trip was packed full of some of the country’s must-see’s. As well as staying at a community-run camp in the remote Lubombo Mountains and experiencing rural life and traditions in Eswatini, Peter also spent time at all three of the country’s Big Game Parks, including the famed Mkhaya, known for offering some of the best rhino experiences in Africa.