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Eswatini becomes Lonely Planet Favourite!

December 4, 2019 Visit Africa / Seychelles No Comments Email Email

Eswatini has emerged as something of a favourite destination for World leading travel authority Lonely Planet. Not only has it recently been named one of the world’s top countries for travellers in 2020 as part of Lonely Planet’s prestigious Best in Travel listings, but this little-visited Kingdom also features extensively in the December edition of the Lonely Planet magazine.

The December issue of the magazine is the one that includes details of all the Best in Travel winners, but for Eswatini, things have gone much further. As well as its Best in Travel listing, there is also a beautiful 12-page feature article, and Eswatini is the only destination that even gets a mention in the Editor’s note!

The highly anticipated feature article details unmissable information such as when to visit, getting around, available activities, tours and more. It has been produced by Lonely Planet’s experienced group editor, Peter Grunert, who recently spent 6 days in The Kingdom of Eswatini, experiencing first-hand the wonders of this up and coming country.

If his editorial is anything to go by, Peter was truly charmed by the country and the time he spent there, describing it as a “tiny kingdom of immense character where a benchmark on a global scale is being set for conservation efforts” and the trip as a “memorable journey” full of”atmosphere, charm and occasional drama”.

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.

The compelling 12-page feature includes:

The Remaining Rhinos – Peter travels to the Mkhaya Game Reserve with nature guide Bongani Mbatha, who educates Peter further about the white and black rhino species that live in the reserve whilst observing a variety of rhino adults and calves.

The Horse Cousins – Peter rides horseback through the hills and fields of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary with Ann Reilly, who grew up in Eswatini. She demonstrates how the horses connect with the surrounding wildlife, cantering in formation with a herd of zebra.

The Missing Baboons – Walking along the hiking route established by Eswatini native and biodiversity campaigner, Nomsa Mabila, Peter experiences long-standing traditions provided by the ‘sangoma’; a person who practises both faith healing and fortune telling.

The Lion Kings Pride – Chief Ranger of Hlane Royal National Park, George Mbatha works alongside his team to protect Eswatini’s largest National Park and recently survived a mauling by a lioness. He details how to spot fresh lion tracks and how to deal with encountering a lion attack, all whilst driving through the park alongside lions and a variety of other African animals.

So, what makes this feature a must-read? In addition to the fascinating sections mentioned briefly above, this article has been written first-hand; using recent and in-depth experience of all that Eswatini has to offer. Not only did Peter spend time immersed in the abundance of species, terrain and variety of locations, he also spent the majority of his time accompanied by local people who have unrivalled knowledge of this enchanting country. In addition to learning about biodiversity, wildlife and conservation, Peter experienced historic and long-established traditions and healing techniques, whilst living off locally sourced African cuisine, making this article an organic and insightful piece.

As part of the Best in Travel listing, Lonely Planet goes on to say: “Petite, pleasant and packed with culture, adventure and legendary wildlife, the newly named Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of Southern Africa’s most underrated (and least visited) destinations.”

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. Visitors in 2020 can experience the wonder of Eswatini ahead of the crowds as a new international airport and improved infrastructure make the country more accessible.”

Eswatini Tourism Authority representative Kelly White said, “As an underrated yet up-and-coming African country, it’s an honour to have Eswatini named as one of the world’s top countries for travellers in 2020 and for it to be featured so extensively in Lonely Planet. This is an accolade that the country truly deserves and we’re confident it will encourage more people to visit in the coming years.”

Pick up your copy of Lonely Planet magazine’s December issue and discover why Eswatini ranks fifth in the list of Top Countries for 2020.

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