The Lubombo Conservancy is an off-the-beaten track destination for a slackpacking adventure through the wildest and most remote parts of the Kingdom of Eswatini. With incredible views into Mozambique the area has a fascinating botanical, geological and archeological interest and the trail guide will interpret the environment from a natural and cultural perspective as you walk. Wildlife is present in the reserves and there is a chance to see species such as zebra, wildebeest, impala, kudu, bush buck, giraffe, klipspringer, monkey and baboon. It is a hiking destination for a wildlife walking safari well worth exploring.
The slackpacking trails have been carefully designed to meet up with great camping spots and you will get the very best of Lubombo. The trail traverses 3 adjoining conservation areas, Mhlumeni Community Reserve, Mlawula Nature Reserve and Mbuluzi Game Reserve and all are part of the greater Lubombo Conservancy. Slackpacking options are available for 1, 2 or 3 nights and depending on the duration of your Slackpacking adventure highlights include:
• Incredible views from high on the Lubombo Plateau across the Swazi Lowveld to the west and the Mozambican coastal plain to the east
• Beautiful scenery, especially aloes, remote gorges and hidden valleys
• Hiking the length of the Lubombo Conservancy, a true bushveld experience, with amazing bird life, archeology and history
• Bush Camps where you will spend your evenings around campfires, exchanging stories with local guides, as well as learning about the night sky
In terms of level of difficultly the trails are non-technical and designed for the average walker, but the distances are fairly high. A medium/good level of fitness is required and the focus of the experience is very much hiking and outdoor adventure. There is time on the route to stop for breaks and enjoy the landscapes, have lunch and soak it all up but a good pace is also set by the guide to ensure the group makes it to the camps in time.
The Lubombo Mountains are a rocky and rugged terrain and good footwear is essential. Many Lubombo hikers like using walking sticks as there is a lot of loose rock on the trails.
The distances for each day of hiking vary with some easy and some more challenging sections. Depending on the duration of your Slackpacking adventure example routes include:
• Mhlumeni Bush Camp – Siphiso Campsite - a 12km route from the very top of the Lubombo plateau down into the Siphiso Valley in Mlawula Nature Reserve. The first 7km cover gently undulating Lubombo plateau, before a sharp, 300m descent off the ridges and down into the valley. The last 4km are a gentle descent to Siphiso Camp.
• Siphiso Campsite – Mbuluzi Campsite–an 18km hike which starts with 9km of slightly more strenuous, undulating routes through the foothills of the Lubombos. The final 9km follows the banks of the lush Mbuluzi River, upstream before branching away from the river and over a steep ridge, ending at Mbuluzi Campsite, on the banks of the river. This is manageable for a person of average fitness. For anyone who would rather not walk the full 18km there is an easy option for a vehicle pick up where the trail crosses a 4x4 track.
All trails begin at Mhlumeni Bush Camp and each night is spent at a different camp. Most have flushing toilets and showers. Choose from our 1 to 3 night packages which include an experienced guide and campsite set up team, meals, canvas tents, mattresses and additional transfers where necessary. Your kit will be transferred between camps so you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy backpacks. Special dietary needs can be accommodated in our meal plans and transport arrangements are made on a case by case basis, depending on your arrival and departure plans.
Lubombo is best explored between April and October - it becomes very hot during the summer season making hiking tricky for many. However, if you are an avid hiker and wish to hike during warmer times we can arrange a trip for you.