Mbabane is the capital of Eswatini.
The nearest airport is Matsapha Airport (MTS) near Manzini. South African Airways connects Manzini to Johannesburg- OR Tambo.
You can get to Mbabane by bus from South Africa and Mozambique. Several mini-buses (kumbis) travel between Maputo, Manzini, and Mbabane.
There are mini-buses leaving from the taxi stand at Park Gautrain station in Johannesburg. These are the older, white, flat-nosed buses and are significantly cheaper (~300 Rand), but also significantly less safe. They are not scheduled, but rather leave whenever the bus is full. In recent years, these buses have become increasingly accident-prone, so bear this in mind when making plans.
For scheduled road transport there is the Eswatini based siyeSwatini TransMagnific, which provides transport to and from Mbabane, Eswatini daily. Busses run between Mbabane and the Johannesburg airport (twice daily) and Nelspruit and Kruger International Airport (both near Kruger in South Africa) on the weekends. The TransMagnific mini-buses are customized for added comfort and safety, unlike the public transport. However, they require that bookings and payments be done at least a day prior to travel so that your meal can be ordered and the selection for the movie can be determined for the +-4hour trip. The Mbabane TransMagnific office is located on the back side of the Cooper Center (one building left of the NW corner of Sozisa & Dr Sishayi). Telephone: +268 7605 9977.
Be aware that TransMagnific does not take cash or credit card payment, so you will either need to send a wire transfer (expensive, costs around $10 for foreigners), make a payment through an ATM or bank (does not work with many foreign bank accounts), or go to their office in Mbabane and pay in person. Your seat is not guaranteed until they have received payment. Several other shuttles also run between Mbabane and Johannesburg (as well as other cities), including Skyworld, Blueserve, Veronica’s, and City Ride. These companies may offer easier methods of payment for foreigners, as well as lower prices. As of June 2019, a one way ticket with TransMagnific costs 750 Rand. Other companies charge between 550 and 750 Rand.
If you drive your own car you will find good tarred roads and several petrol stations/shops on the main roads.
Navigation can be challenging due to lack of common street address use or street signage. You should be on alert for speed bumps both in town and on the highways.
Several major hotels are within walking distance (~2km radius) of the city center, where TransMagnific and other bus companies usually drop off passengers (there is a shopping mall and a Pick n’ Pay nearby). There is also a taxi stand nearby, as well as ATMs.
There are several local car companies to be found in the phone book. Europcar offers rentals in Mbabane. Booking options online (like $0 excess and unlimited mileage) are not available at the office so if you want these things, you should book online. The office location on the Europcar website is wrong. The office is located at the Engen Plaza downtown on Sozisa Rd. across the street from Galp and kitty corner from the Taj Sizzler on Google Maps.
There are no big attractions. The city center consist of two small malls, a taxi and bus range, a hotel and some open markets.
The surrounding area is picturesque with small mountains all around. An evening drive out of town on Pine Valley Road provides gorgeous green pastoral views. A drive to Pig's Peak via Mguga Dam is also worthwhile.
- Mantenga Reserve, Water Fall and Village (also known as the the Swazi Cultural Village). A traditional Swazi singing and dancing troupe performs daily at 11:30 and 15:15. You can tour the small huts which represent Swazi life in the 1850's. You may be lucky enough to spot the wildlife which includes vervet monkey, baboon, crocodiles and many more.
- Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Ezulwini Valley offers hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Crocodiles, hippos, giraffes and zebras call Milwane home.
Try zip lining at the Malolotja Nature Reserve.
There are many hiking trails among the surrounding mountains. One popular route is to hike up Sibebe (second highest rock in the world after Ayers Rock), which has its start in Pine Valley (hike takes 3-5 hours round trip). Yellow arrows direct you up and white dots lead you back down the same route.
Swazi SIM cards (MTN) are available for purchase inside the shopping mall in the city center, close to the Pick n Pay and the Steers (June 2019).
There are several factories around Mbabane which sell traditional hand-made Swazi candles. Visit the Swazi Candle Factory in nearby Malkerns Valley where you will also find several other high quality Swazi craft vendors.
The Swaziland Theatre Club (on Johnson off of Gwamile) has a bar and offers live entertainment.
Soapstone sculptures from roadside stands.
Swazi Candles, Gone Rural woven baskets, glass, paintings, etc
Ngwenya Glass Factory and Store
The White Orchid Day Spa is a great place to receive the royal treatment. Services include a hair salon and massage therapy. (+268) 2404 3933
eDladleni Swazi Restaurant (Mvubu Falls) offers "Natural African Food" including traditional Swazi fare. T: 268 404 5743 eDladleni.100webspace.net
Ramblas (Mantsholo Rd.) offers a wide selection of meat, pasta and pizza in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. T: 2404 4147
Sibebe Special Lager is brewed in Matsapha, Eswatini.
Appetizer and Grapetiser are great non-alcoholic choices from South Africa.
- Mantenga Lodge, Mantenga Road , Ezulwini Valley (15km from Mbabane), ☎ +268-4161049, . The Lodge has 38 rooms each with its own en-suite bathroom. The rooms are tastefully furnished to ensure your comfort and are equipped with air conditioning, television (including satellite channels. (S26.31,E31.14) edit
- Brackenhill, Mountain Drive. edit