Explore Eswatini's new Unesco Biosphere Reserve

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Explore Eswatini's new Unesco Biosphere Reserve

Post by Lisbeth » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:51 am

2019-07-01 10:30 - Gabi Zietsman

The Kingdom of Eswatini joined the ranks of 124 other countries with their first Unesco Biosphere Reserve - the beautiful Lubombo area.

Unesco's Man and the Biosphere programme added 18 new sites from 12 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and Lubombo was included for its biodiversity and endangered animals like the black rhino.

Announcing the new biosphere reserves, Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, “There is a pressing need to take action for biodiversity, for our shared environmental heritage.”

Other sites that were inscribed include Alto Turia in Spain, the Gangwon Eco-Peace Reserve in South Korea, Una-Una's coral reefs in Indonesia and Nordhordland in Norway.

What you should know about Lubombo

Lubombo forms part of the Maputoland-Phondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot and its mountains create Eswatini's eastern border with Mozambique and South Africa.

The area has a large variety of mixed ecosystems, made up of forest, wetlands and savannah. Some of the special flora include a recently discovered Barleria species, the area's own endemic ironwoods and cycads and the Jilobi Forest.

In terms of animals, out of the 88 mammals that make Lubombo their home, 20 of them can only be found there. Besides rhino, other notable animals include the Roan antelope, tsessebe buck, leopard and the Cape buffalo.

The area needed this special protection as it also forms a large part of Eswatini's agricultural economy, mainly sugar cane, as well as animal husbandry and forestry.

What to see and do in Lubombo

Hlane Royal National Park

This park is the largest in Eswatini, rich in diverse game and typical African bush experiences. You can take on their guided mountain bike trails, or spend a night or two on one of their exclusive Ehlatsini Bush Trails.

Mkhaya Game Reserve

Another one of Eswatini's big reserves, Mkhaya is home to the highly endangered black rhino, as well as the country's only home to the sable antelope, buffalo, Livingstone's eland and tsessebe.

The Sugarcane Museum

Found in Mbabane, this museum for agricultural enthusiasts commemorates Eswatini's journey with the sweet plant. There are also ancient machinery on display and explains why the country has such a perfect climate for the industry.

Shewula Mountain Camp and Nature Reserve

Nestled in the mountains, this is Eswatini's first community-owned tourism camp, overlooking the Lubombo Plateau. It offers quite rustic rondavel huts with self-catering and an opportunity to immerse yourself in Swazi culture.

Mlawula Nature Reserve

This reserve shares a border with Hlane and is where you see the impressive Lubombo Mountains, created by volcanoes aeons ago. The Mbuluzi River also runs through the reserve, creating a stunning valley to check out.

National Museum of Eswatini

In the town of Lobamba you'll find the country's National Museum that preserves Swazi culture, history and nature through objects, art, photography and educational programmes.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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