The country of Swaziland is located within the boundaries of /south Africa as is the country of Lesotho. From where I stay in Marloth Park it is a relatively short drive of about an hour to get to the boarder at Jeeps Reef. Another hour or so takes you down to the middle of the country near the capitol of Mbabane. Swaziland is one of the few kingdoms in Africa ruled by a King.
Outside of the capitol, Mbabane, and the city of Manzini, the country is very rural and dotted with small villages. It is easy to get from place to place as the distances are not far and there is a series of highways that will allow you to visit the points of interest relatively easily.
Swazi handicrafts offer some of the best quality, value and most unusual products found in Southern Africa. There are many places where you can watch the craftspeople work making their prod
ucts. On of the best of these places is the Ngwenya glass factory which makes all sorts ofglass object and utilitarian objects out of recycled glass. It is famous for its glass animals that represent many of the wild animals that can be seen in African Wildlife Parks. Over the years of visiting the Ngwenya factory I have acquired quite a collection of animal ornaments for my Christmas Tree, Bottle stoppers that are great for that half bottle of wine, and several statures that sit on my African Collectable shelf.
In addition to the glass factory the property contains several shops carrying hand
crafted products from around Swaziland and in particular the Ezulwini Valley which is the major craft center of Swaziland apartment from Ngwenya and the Pigg’s Peak Craft Center. These shops include one that makes jewelry out of paper, Gone Rural that is mainly place mats that are woven, a shop selling ceramic beaded jewelry, a shop selling chocolate and a shop selling Swazi candles.
The Pigg’s Peak Craft Center is further north on the main highway just outside of the small town of Pigg’s Peak. This center is primarily devoted to various types of weaving, including traditional weaving on looms, basket weaving, and jewelry made from weaving small discs and incasing them in sterling silver.
The Pigg’s Peak center also has two shops that sell products mainly from Mozambique including batiks, beaded jewelry and wooden carvings. There is also a traditional stone carver on the site that hand crafts animals from soap stone. Bothe the Pigg’s Peak and Ngwenya centers have a small restaurant attached to them that serve light meals.
Going down to Swaziland makes a nice break from the usual sights in Mpumalanga and a drive through the mountains is always refreshing if the weather is hot.