Both Swaziland and Lesotho are small land-locked absolute monarchies populated by a single tribe. They both are mountainous, although Swaziland less so, having a significant “lowveld” area. The wonderfully friendly Swazis and Basotho people kept a low profile during the era of Zulu dominance, with the mountains serving in some ways a places to hide. Once the Zulus had been defeated by the British and the Boers, both kingdoms flourished.
Tourism is well established in both countries, but they are less well known in the international arena, offering more boutique hotels and bed and breakfast type accommodation.
Swaziland offers greater diversity of scenery than Lesotho and consequently there is more choice of activities. The drive into Swaziland from Barberton in South Africa is breathtaking. There are various hotels and lodges in the Swazi Highveld such as the Forresters Arms. Probably Swaziland’s best known hotel is the Royal Swazi Sun, with its hot springs and Spa, casino, excellent golf course and wonderful mountain setting. Various game reserves are on offer such as Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in the mountains, Mkhaya and Hlane in the lowveld, and Malalotsha in the highveld.
The mountain streams of Lesotho offer some of the best trout fishing in Africa. The capital Maseru has a large display centre for local arts and crafts. Trail-riding on horseback, as well as challenging hiking, through the mountians are very popular amongst tourists and the mountain scenery is truly breath-taking. The all weather mountain road across the central highlands is a sensational journey but demands careful driving. There are even ski runs in the Butha-Buthe district although facilities are basic.