Activities available in Ngwempisi Wilderness Area

Region: Manzini
Attraction Type: Landscape/Scenic, Wildlife


Ngwempisi Wilderness Area

Just one hour’s drive south of Mbabane through the fertile and beautiful Malkerns Valley to Mankayane, one of Swaziland’s oldest towns, takes you to one of the most ruggedly beautiful areas of Swaziland. The Ngwempisi River has sliced its way through the sandstone and shale of the Ntfungulu Hills to create the Ngwempisi Gorge, a land where middleveld and lowveld savannah typify this eco-region. Here flatlands and undulating hills range from a mere 50 metres to 800 metres above sea level. This is an example of the diverse geology prevalent in Swaziland that makes it the strikingly beautiful country it is – and ensures that hiking here is always a challenging and satisfying experience.

The area has two community tourism operations offering accommodation and hiking trails.

From a starting point high on the hills, the 33km Ngwempisi Trails provide endless vistas of plateaux, woodlands, riverine forest and mountainous terrain, and an opportunity to see numerous birds, interesting flora and fascinating geology. The lowveld eco-region contains a diversity of bird species, including two globally threatened species – Rudd’s Apalis and the Pinkthroated Twinspot.

As well as numerous short walks to the river, also on offer are full hikes from one to three days in duration. Accommodation is at the Khopo (Rock) Hut – a wonderful structure built into the rocks high above the river with stunning views. It offers simple, self catering accommodation and is about to be renovated.  The Trails and accommodation are both managed and maintained by the local community.

Khelekhele Hiking Trails offers an amazing chance to explore the area, while staying at one of the most naturally friendly sites in the country. Set on the banks of the river, the camp has been completely renovated in mid-2015 - rooms, ablution block and camp site. there are numerous trails and now also village tours. The project is run by the local community and is a part of the Swaziland Tourism Authority’s plan to ensure that tourism benefits all sectors of the Swazi population.

The trails at Ngwempisi are two of Swaziland's community tourism projects. Click here to find out about other similar tourism in the community initiatives.