Meaning 'place of heaven' in the local language, Ezulwini Valley is the main tourist draw in Swaziland. The valley sits off the MR3 highway between Manzini, Swaziland's biggest town, and Mbabane, the Swazi capital. It is a scenic, hilly area which abuts the Mantenga Nature Reserve and sits in the shadow of the Sheba's Breast mountain.
Being the tourist draw it is, there are many places to stay here. Of the hostels in Ezulwini, there are a few choices. Aiming for The Gables shopping mall, a major landmark on the highway, you'll find hostel accommodation here. These hostels are long established and can organize any trips in the area, and there is also a trail leading up Sheba's Breast Mountain to the very top for fantastic views over the whole valley. Near the top, one enters the Mantenga Nature Reserve, for which you pay a small fee at the hostel that administers the trail and you can continue down the other side into the reserve, but a guide is advised for this part.
Further east, there is hostel accommodation within the Mlilwane Nature Reserve which could be used as a base for drivers to visit Ezulwini and its surroundings and, on the MR3 just outside Manzini, there is backpackers' hostel accommodation which also gives access to this region for drivers, so there is plenty of choice here.
All the hostels are well-run and long established. All are clean and efficient, though most offer no food onsite but provide a kitchen for self-caterers. If you base yourself near The Gables shopping mall, then you have access to two large supermarkets, international ATMs and many restaurants and fast food outlets, some of which deliver.
This is a wonderful area to visit and no wonder that it is so popular. With the entry formalities from South Africa being so easy; no visa fee, it makes a great couple of days or more diversion and is well worth the small effort.
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