Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Travel Guide Swaziland Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

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Introduction

Ostrich

Ostrich

© mohn

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland's oldest conservation area. It contains leopard, hippo, giraffe, crocodile, zebra, and various antelopes, plus other animals and birds. There are various self-guided walks available. A big attraction is the accommodation within the sanctuary itself.

The sanctuary serves as a headquarters for the Big Game Parks including Mlilwane's sister reserves Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve. The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares in the Ezulwini Valley or "Valley of Heaven". Formerly a farming and tin mining area, the area has been rehabilitated and is now Swaziland's most frequently visited reserve. Abundant wildlife grace the plains. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto Nyonyane Mountain. Tourist activities are concentrated in the southern section which can be explored by foot, horseback, mountain bikes or vehicle. The northern section includes one of the highest points in the area at Luphohlo. Only guided trails enter this part of the sanctuary. Mlilwane means Little Fire, a reference to the many fires started by lightning strikes on Mlilwane Hill.

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Cost

It costs E25 to enter the sanctuary.

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Getting There

By Car

A taxi from Ezulwini to the Mlilwane entrance gate near Sondzela Backpackers (see Sleep/Budget) costs E60. For the reverse journey, staff can book a taxi for you (though you will have to pay for the phone call) but you will have to negotiate the fare yourself when the driver arrives at the gate.

By Bus

To travel from Ezulwini to the Mlilwane entrance gate will require 2 combi rides and about 2 kilometres of walking.

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Eat

Breakfast and dinner are available at Sondzela Backpackers (see Sleep/Budget) - lunch (and no doubt breakfast and dinner) are available at the main camp. Sondzela meals have to be booked in advance, but you can just turn up for lunch at the main camp. You can self-cater but the Sondzela facilities are meagre. You can buy basics (baked beans, cold drinks, beer, chocolate) at both Sondzela and the main camp but they are cheaper at Sondzela.

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Sleep

Sondzela Backpackers is a very pleasant hostel inside the sanctuary, complete with swimming pool. A room with shared bathroom costs E155 - accommodation at the hostel can be booked from the Big Game Parks office in the Gables shopping centre. An ostrich and a family of warthog roam the grounds. There is more upmarket accommodation about 15 minutes away at the main camp, the walk to which is a miniature safari in itself. There is Internet access at the main camp but it rarely works.

The rest camp is found in the southern corner of the reserve where tall indigenous trees overlook a wetland system which is home to hippopotamus, crocodile and a variety of water birds including visiting fish eagles.Rest camp features traditional swazi round huts, called beehives, and several self-catering units.

Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge forms the up-market accommodation option.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 13:28 on Aug 30, 17 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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