Mbabane, Swaziland, is the capital of Swaziland and is tucked into the western part of the kingdom, just thirty kilometers east of the Oshoek border post with South Africa. It has a population of close to one hundred thousand and is the administrative center of Swaziland. The hustle and bustle of this city is a world away from the rest of rural Swaziland. It became the kingdom's capital in the early twentieth century, superseding Manzini, then called Bremersdorp, during the British administration. It is twinned with Taipei and Fort Worth, Texas, among others. While not a tourist destination in itself, it is a necessary transit point and is very well served by public transport, as you would expect a capital city to be.
Of the attractions in and around Mbabane, Mantenga Nature Reserve and Cultural Village are just thirty kilometers south of the city. The cultural village is built in the style of a traditional Swazi village from the mid-nineteenth century and has its own Swazi dancing troupe that performs twice a day. The nature reserve has extensive hiking trails through hilly countryside, offering caves and waterfalls as well as great birding.
Sibebe Rock, the second-largest freestanding rock in the world after Uluru in Australia, is just eleven kilometers northeast of Mbabane and is great for a few hours walking, with several trails to the top. Tours are run by Swaziland's Community Tourism Program and there is a small entrance fee.
Mbabane is not blessed with great budget accommodation options, and hostels in Mbabane, Swaziland, are not easy to find. There has been quite a turnover of Mbabane, Swaziland hostels in recent years so, if you want to stay in the capital, do a little research ahead of time. Even so, any hostels in Mbabane, Swaziland, that are currently operating will be excellent places to get information on things to do and see in Mbabane. The more-visited area of the Ezulwini Valley has a few backpacker hostel options, and is an easy fifteen-kilometer drive or minibus ride from the capital.
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