Birthdays & Waterfalls – Mbabane, eSwatini

Today is my birthday. I decided not to write about a humorous travel incident, but rather keep to a birthday theme because I really like birthdays & even more when I get to travel on my birthday.


I will always be an advocate for unexpected gems found while traveling. Mainstream or popular attractions are usually great in their own right because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be an attraction. However, low key & unexpected spots often offer a completely different perspective or charm entirely. I thought people would adopt a similar mind-set after one or two trips, but I know many people who disagree & stick to the big attractions.


Last year for my 22nd birthday, I wanted to see a bit of the small country then called the Kingdom of Swaziland. Beforehand, I did research & found Sibebe Rock. It appeared to be a good hiking trail & one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. I decided to go & I then planned around hiking & seeing this place.


The South African/Swazi border crossing is the easiest & quickest African land border I’ve ever gone through & that has to get special recognition.  I made my way towards the rock, driving in eSwatini can be a slow process because of narrow & winding roads as well as goats using the road as a walkway.


Getting closer & closer to the rock is quite a magnificent feeling, Sibebe is actually the second largest freestanding rock in the world & it is quite a sight. So from that aspect, I do understand why it is such an attraction & why so many people make the trip there. The problems I had were that the ticket office was really badly run especially for one of the country’s most popular attractions, there was some sort of party happening with music blaring & there were large crowds which took away from the beauty of nature. I wouldn’t recommend this to nature lovers or peace seekers.

View while approaching Sibebe Rock.

Although Sibebe Rock was beautiful & not what I expected, I took a bit of a drive north & eventually found a smaller nature reserve. This place absolutely blew me away. I loved the rolling hills, expansive forest & beautiful waterfalls. I felt that I got a true sense of the real landscape of eSwatini. This place was a backup plan or plan B, but it ended up becoming one of my most favourite places I’ve been to.  I enjoyed it so much that I remember thinking I wanted this place to be where I spent many of my birthdays in the future.20170805_092645

This is when I learnt that the best rated or most spoken about place will have that reputation for a reason, but it might not necessarily be the best option for you. In some cases, the places you end up loving the most are the places no one knows or speaks about.

As always, enjoying a local beer & a good view is time well spent.

120 thoughts on “Birthdays & Waterfalls – Mbabane, eSwatini

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  1. I especially liked your stance towards the mind-sets of people and there I can truly sympathize. Continue your way of thinking, it’s great to be e Querdenker (aka genius or troublemaker or trendsetter, depending on your context)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Birthday!
    Agreed that making the effort to find and explore those low key areas really does add to the depth of your experience of a place. You learn so much about the area through the search alone. Thanks for sharing: you’re a thoughtful writer, and looking forward to following more of your work on here.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They are outstanding, I’ve never seen so many natural wonders! If you check my latest post you can see the photos of all these naturally formed rock pools, It’s just so unbelievably warm at the moment it makes exploring difficult haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday!

    We do hit some main attractions but I prefer not too. When we were in Iceland earlier this summer we wanted to go to a hot pool. Everyone goes to the Blue Lagoon and I had been there before one a previous trip to Iceland in the winter for a couple of days. It is expensive and unless you want to buy drinks while in the pool I don’t think it is worth it. We found one we loved that was actually on a very popular route, The Golden Circle, but not well know. It was very reasonable and we loved it.

    Another one of my favorite things to look for are the oddities of where I am at. I have found some interesting things; like a farting lamp in London and I still have not found all of the noses of SOHO.

    I also agree with your statement of local beers and a great view. We always look for craft breweries too. While in Iceland we drank beer that was made out of whale testicles and smoked in sheep dung. It was actually very good.

    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was such a fun comment to read & I really love how much I can relate to it.

      I’ve never really given much thought to buying oddities of where I am, but that is just brilliant – I’m totally gonna start doing this.

      And as for the local beers, you will see on my other posts that I do enjoy tasting them & I sometimes wonder what kind of message that sends about me, but hey… not every day you get access to such rare brews.

      Thanks for reading & showing support, I appreciate it greatly.


  4. Happy Birthday Dan! And you hit the nail on it’s head! I remember my visit to ‘The Taj Mahal’ years ago and coming back totally disappointed! But a visit to a hitherto stalactite cave thrilled me beyond words! Not everybody looks forward to have an off beat adventure while travelling but some like us find our Nirvana in places that are off beat and remote. So more power to us!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the birthday wish! I like how you said “some of us find our Nirvana in places that are off beat” I think that’s one of the things I love the most about traveling – not knowing what unexpected gem will be your favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Birthday Dan! Hope it’s a truly blessed day- and year! And thank you for sharing your thoughts and travels, I enjoy hearing your view point and and seeing them as well. Living vicariously means there’s not a bad seat in the house! Much grace and favor on your journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oops. I’m late to the party. Lol. Happy Belated Birthday, Dan!

    I like what you said here too about some of the best places being the ones no one ever talks about. Here in Atlanta, there are some nice mainstream parks that everybody and their mama goes to, but some of the most beautiful parks here are ones that most people have never even heard of. They’re really hidden gems.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. August 5? That’s crazy! Even my birthday is on the same day, and the Pondicherry guide was from my birthday trip. 🙂
    I love offbeat travel as well and always try to find at least one place in my travels that isn’t that common.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally agree with you. Although I like to visit tourist places, I had more fun and was amazed by the places off beaten path. It happened to me several times while traveling and now I just let my legs wander around. And they take me to some amazing places.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy belated birthday. And I agree, sometimes it’s nice to go to the places that aren’t known or draw the most crowds. Years ago when my sister and I went on a Mediterranean cruise, we had the option of visiting Monaco or Saint-Paul-de-Vence. We opted for medieval town instead and were happy we did. I doubt that we would have enjoyed Monaco as much.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi there, belated birthday wishes to you. You have liked some of my posts from my blog that I am now following you and your adventures. Travel while you are young. Actually travel at any age. I just got back from a trip to Melbourne, Australia. Looking forward to hearing about your next travels. God bless.


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