This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Malkerns. To help you make friends with Malkerns before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Sitting south-west of the MR3 highway between the large town of Manzini and the capital, Mbabane, the Malkerns valley is another of the must-see attractions of Swaziland. There are many minibuses leaving Manzini towards Bhunya and Mankayane in the valley and both of these give access to the wonderful Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary also. As for Malkerns hostels, there are choices in the immediate area including within the nature reserve itself.
The fertile Malkerns valley is the bread basket of Swaziland, providing the country with its sugarcane and pineapples among other fruit and vegetables, a lot of which can be seen on the roadside market stalls. Malandela's Farmhouse is one of the focal points of this area, as it is right by the MR18 roadside and functions as a restaurant, guesthouse, tour organizer and tourist information office all in one.
There are other hostels further west in Ezulwini valley that also make useful bases from which to visit Malkerns, particularly if you have your own transport. Aim for The Gables shopping mall where you'll find the hostels signposted. They are well established on the backpackers' circuit and it is easily possible to base yourself here and use public transport to visit Malkerns as there are many minibuses passing from Mbabane to either Bhunya or Mankayane. Like all hostels in Swaziland, these hostels have great facilities, though some are self-catering, so check in advance first. You will, however, be hard pushed to find reliable, cheap wi-fi in Swaziland.
Mlilwane Wildife Sanctuary, which is the focal point of Malkerns valley tourism is an essential stopover. It gives visitors the chance to walk in a nature reserve full of animals. There are many trails to cover on foot or horseback and there are always impala, buffalo, zebra, nyala and many birds to encounter as well as attempting the stiffer climbs up the hillsides, for majestic views over the Malkerns valley, over the ridge towards Mbabane and into Mantenga Nature Reserve.
Written by local enthusiast for Malkerns hostelsLondonroad