Apr 152009

Swaziland – Mozambique

The Great Usuthu River is the largest waterway in the Kingdom of Swaziland. It is of prime importance to the country for water supply, hydroelectric power, agricultural irrigation schemes and white water rafting. The Great Usuthu originates from South Africa close to the town of Ermelo, drops down from the highveld in Swaziland where it is joined by its major tributaries, the Lusushwana (Little Usuthu), Ngwempisi and Mkhondvo Rivers. The Usuthu exits into Mozambique where it joins with the Pongola River to become Rio Maputo before reaching Delagoa Bay 80 km later. The Great Usuthu River offers a variety of Grade II to Grade IV white-water rapids. The river is wide and at lower water levels it winds its way between numerous islands and sandbanks, which are otherwise covered during the full water season.  The location is scenic with tall mountains and forested riverbanks, interspersed occasionally by rural Swazi homesteads.

Usuthu River - Usuthu Valley



Location (26°49′ S, 31°56′ E)

The turning point in the river is the aptly named town of Big Bend in the eastern plains of Swaziland. Siphofaneni to the west is in the heart of the rafting country; downstream of Big Bend the river becomes wider and easily navigable at its confluence with the Pongola River.

View Usuthu River in a larger map

service providers

Service Providers

The Foresters Arms Hotel is only a short, scenic, tarred drive from the capital Mbabane. Surrounded by 90 ha of forest and magnificent gardens of beautiful Swaziland highlands, it is ideally situated for exploring all the attractions of the Kingdom. The Foresters Arms has its own pure, fresh spring water, and the pièce de résistance is the unforgettable nine-course dinner, enhanced by an imaginative selection of wines.

Maguga Lodge is overlooking the shimmering waters of Maguga Dam and offers 35 Rondavel chalets. All of the units are air-conditioned with en-suite shower and tea/coffee making facilities.

Spreading out across a 500 ha nature reserve, a network of trails winds through the Phophonyane Falls Lodge and Nature Reserve’s forest, crossing meandering waterways and finally culminating on the lip of the 80m high waterfall. Exposed at this point are some of the world`s oldest rocks dated to 3.55 billion years.

Swaziland’s Big Game Parks are the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya each boast their unique character as a haven to endangered species of the African bush.

Swazi Trails is the Kingdom of Swaziland’s leading tour and adventure operator. The year 2008 sees the company celebrating its 21st birthday, and with more passion than ever, it pursues its goal of making a difference to tourism in Swaziland.