It’s just a short drive from the Mahamba border posts with South Africa to the town of Nhlangano, which is officially the fourth-largest in Swaziland.
Peppered with pretty jacaranda trees, the place is a chilled regional hub, with good transport links to the safari destinations of the Lowveld deeper into the country.
However, if you chose to linger, you’ll be able to see the spot where King George VI once thanked King Sobhuza II for his country’s contribution to the war, and explore the high-perched hamlet of Hlathikhulu, set magnificently above the gorgeous valleys of western Swaziland.
The MR9 highway from Manzini to Nhlangano winds south alongside the Mkondvo River before climbing dramatically onto the exposed plateau of the highveld. Much of this route is known as the Grand Valley. It is a glorious drive, with stunning scenery and picturesque rural communities on either side. As the road winds up the escarpment, it offers stupendous views in both directions. Upon the plateau, the bush gives way to undulating grasslands. Here you will find Nhlangano, amid its apron of forestry. Nhlangano is the region’s largest town and in winter its highveld climate makes it reputedly the coldest in Swaziland. Founded in 1921 as the farm supply center of Goedgegun, in 1947 it was renamed Nhlangano, which means ‘meeting place’ when King George VI met King Sobhuza II here in order to thank his Swazi counterpart for the kingdom’s help during World War II. This occasion remains the only ever visit by a British monarch to Swaziland. Today the town is best known for its casino, at the out-of-town Nhlangano Hotel, which also offers rooms, activities, and a fine view.
How to get to Nhlangano town
The fourth-largest town is located 130 km from the capital Mbabane