On safari in Eswatini: a celebration of wildlife – and a nation’s pride

The country formerly known as Swaziland offers unusual and affordable safaris and will celebrate 50 years of independence next week

We were minutes into the drive when the first rhino appeared, its hide glistening with wet mud. I watched in silence as it paused a few feet away and, fixing our group with defiant, raisin-like eyes, pooed copiously in our path before meandering back into the bush.

Such up-close safari encounters became commonplace during my time in Eswatini(known as Swaziland until April this year). At just 17,360 sq km, the country could fit inside South Africa’s Kruger national park with room to spare. Yet this tiny, landlocked kingdom, bordering eastern South Africa on three sides and the southern tip of Mozambique on another, rivals that behemoth when it comes to wildlife experiences.

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