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Wonders of eSwatini

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, eSwatini
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary / Vaiz Ha, Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

WorldBlue  Highlights

This small country offers several outstanding landmarks.
The most amazing wonders of eSwatini are the world’s oldest mines – the 42,000 years old Lion Cavern and the amazing, more than 4000 years old cliff paintings in Nsangwini Rock Shelter. The country is rich with impressive gorges and other rock formations.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 14 wonders of eSwatini

Geological wonders

Mowane Gorge


Deep gorge, a sacred place to local people.

Sibebe Rock


Enormous, 800 m high granite dome, some 3 billion years old. The second largest monolith in the world.

Ngwempisi Gorge


Deep gorge of Ngwempisi River, formed in sandstone and shale.

Phophonyane Falls


80 m tall waterfall, flowing down along the steep surface of gneiss. On the stream have formed multiple falls and rapids. Exposed rocks are 3.55 billion years old.

Phophonyane Falls, Swaziland
Phophonyane Falls / René Clausen Nielsen, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Mahamba Gorge


Spectacular gorge.

Mantenga Falls


95 m tall waterfall, consists of two parallel streams sliding down along the granite cliff.

Manzamnyama Falls


Site of royal ceremonies in the past.

Malolotja Falls


90 m tall waterfall.

Nsangwini Gap


Impressive rapids – falls on the powerful Komati River.

Biological wonders

Usuthu Gorge


Deep, 8 km long gorge of Usuthu (Maputo) river with rare plants and animals, including cycads. A beloved place for rafting.

Archaeological wonders

Ngwenya Mine (with Lion Cavern)


Lion Cavern is the world’s oldest iron ore mine that was worked at least 42 thousand years before the present times: in the Middle Stone Age. Iron ore was used as a pigment – red ochre. The smelting of iron ore started sometime around 400 AD. Mine contains a pool – a sacred place for local people.

Siphiso Rock Shelter


Cave – a prehistoric shelter that has provided valuable information about the human past in this part of Africa.

Nsangwini Rock Shelter


This rock shelter is famous due to its rich displays of rock art. Cliff paintings were created by San people more than 4000 years ago and some drawings are truly surprising. Unusual are two winged figures and other paintings that may show ancient rituals.

Nsangwini Rock Shelter, Swaziland
Nsangwini Rock Shelter / Steven W. Belcher, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.
Sandlane Rock Paintings


Comparatively well preserved prehistoric rock paintings, albeit washed out by tourists willing to see the images. Drawings show animals and humans.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Adventures In Swaziland; The Story Of A South African Boer

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high-quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

Swaziland (Bradt Travel Guide)

This is the only dedicated, in-depth guide to Swaziland. Author Mike Unwin explores the excellent wildlife reserves and wild hiking trails offering waterfalls, rock art, and prolific flora and birdlife. He introduces travelers to the country’s rich and varied landscapes encompassing both the mountainous western ‘highveld’ and the dusty eastern ‘lowveld’. His personal insights, together with colorful anecdotes, drawn both from Swazi residents and travelers throughout the kingdom, provide entertaining insights, affording an insider’s perspective lacking in other guidebooks.

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