Are a student interesting in getting some practical work experience by participating in an NGO project in Southern Africa ? Swaziland is a very small country surrounded on three sides by South Africa and in the east by Mozambique. Although it is not very big it has a great deal to offer the tourist with a number of game parks and nature reserves. There are plenty of initiatives available for students to participate in, including healthcare, engineering and so forth.
Mililwane Wildlife Sanctuary
This park is the oldest in Swaziland and visited most often by tourists. When visiting Mlilwane you will experience the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. To view the park and wildlife in a unique way, try the many horseback trails on offer. This can be done on a daytime tour or if you like exploring you can choose to make use of the overnight horse trails. African Safari vacation packages are extremely popular at the moment and provide the opportunity to explore regions like Swaziland prior to committing to a student volunteer program.
This is an exhilarating riding tour, riding on gorgeous Arabian horses. You will pass through the Sanctuary and ride into the mountains which will offer you a spectacular view of the “Valley of Heaven” commonly known as Ezulwini. As you climb to the top of the mountain you can breathe in the fresh mountain air.
There is also the opportunity to have a refreshing swim in the mountain springs. If you need to do some serious exercise then you can make use of the mountain bike tour. However if this is too strenuous for you there is also the option of an open Land Rover tour. Back at the camp grounds you will be able to see the tame birds and animals that are allowed to roam the grounds freely. Whatever travel method you use this tour is well worth the time and effort.
Mkhaya Game Reserve
This reserve is situated in the south east of Swaziland and is the home of many endangered species. Here all the animals feel secure and the tourists can view them up close. In this reserve you will come into close contact with elephants, rhino, buffalo and many other animal species. It is here that the black and white rhino have their home and are protected from poachers. At Mkhaya you will also see one of Swaziland’s own breed of cattle that was saved from extinction.
Malolotja National Park
This national park is one of the most inspiring mountain parks in South Africa. The scenery and the variety of fauna and flora that can be seen in this park are amazing. It is the last untouched mountain wasteland left in Swaziland. It is situated in the north-west part of Swaziland and is the largest protected mountain reserve. Here you will find the highest waterfall in Swaziland, the Malolotja Falls.
The great variety of fauna and flora found in this park is due to the Mgwenya Mountain and the Nkomati River Valley. The mountain, as the second highest mountain in Swaziland, together with the Deep River Valley creates the climate that is needed for all these plants and shrubs to prosper. The flora that can be seen in Malolotja is one of the best attractions for tourists. There are several species of plants that are indigenous to the Barberton area in South Africa and these can also be seen here. There are also two threatened species of cycads that can be found in this park. The area is perfect for those students more interested in forms of adventure tourism as opposed to the more standard sight seeing options.
Not only is the plant life superb but this park also boasts more than 280 bird species. The park is renowned for breeding many endangered species. These include the blue swallow, blue crane, bald ibis and the Stanley’s bustard. Many bog and vlei type areas can be found within this reserve and these serve as a home for many different bird species.
Many species of mammals can be found in the reserve which is a great attraction for tourists. These include the Aardwolf, Black wildebeest, Red wildebeest which can be found nowhere else but in Swaziland. In the valley you can see the African Elephants and near the Nkomati River Hippopotamus have been sighted. The tourist can also look forward to spotting the Serval, Mongoose, Grey Rhebok, Oribi, Klipspringer and the Red Duiker. A number of smaller mammals have made their home in the reserve such as grass-climbing mice, and various species of shrews.
To assist the nature enthusiasts the reserve has opened an Environmental Education Centre next to the Malolotja River. The centre can also accommodate groups of people and provide them with educational environmental activities. If you want to get closer to nature, a visit to Swaziland should definitely be on your list of places to see.