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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Mlilwane Game Sanctuary

Mlilwane is Eswatini’s (Swaziland’s) best-known nature reserve. It was here in 1961 that Ted Reilly – whose father had settled at the property in 1906 – first took action to save what remained of the kingdom’s wildlife, converting it into a sanctuary and rounding up animals from elsewhere around the country before they were hunted out. Although Big Game Parks – the independent conservation trust that Reilly subsequently founded – has since acquired the management of the larger reserves of Hlane and Mkhaya, and more recently KaMsholo, Mlilwane remains its spiritual home.

Mlilwane is just a 15-minute drive from the Ezulwini Valley and its landscape is dominated by Nyonyane mountain, visible from afar. This dramatic peak is known as Execution Rock, taking its name from the grisly fate that once befell the condemned folk who were led to its summit. The reserve is not ‘Big Five’ country, and indeed the proximity of busy Ezulwini Valley, together with the stands of alien gum trees and old tin mine workings, mean that it cannot be considered a pristine wilderness. Nonetheless, it is a beautifully scenic and wonderful oasis for wildlife, with a lovely relaxed ambience.

Accommodation and activities are based in the reserve’s southern sector, with the northern sector set aside as a wilderness area. Wildlife is easy to find: zebra, blesbok, impala, blue wildebeest and warthog graze the open grasslands, while kudu and nyala browse the thickets. Rare antelope, such as roan and oribi, are protected in an enclosed area and can be viewed on a guided tour, and a pod of hippos frequents the main dam, sometimes visiting the waterhole at Rest Camp. Vervet monkeys and baboons are common, while the rich birdlife includes a noisy heron colony at Rest Camp, and both black and crowned eagles in the hills. Crocodiles lurk in the Dam.

Mlilwane offers a variety of accommodation, from self-catering cottages to beehive huts and a backpackers lodge – or you can splash out on the colonial comforts of Reilly’s Rock, the old family home, where bushbabies visit the verandah every evening. Many visitors, however, come just for a family day-out in the mellow environs of Rest Camp, where you can fire up the barbeque take a dip in the pool and commune with the wandering warthogs. The reserve’s public roads are perfect for self-drive wildlife safaris – or you can book a guided game drive in an open Land Rover. Other activities include walking trails, mountain-biking and horse-riding. The last of these caters for all levels and offers an excellent way to approach wildlife and explore the mountains on hourly and multi-day trails. Longer riding trails feature a night spent in a hidden cave beneath Nyonyane, complete with traditional open fire dinner.

Accommodation in or near Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Sondzela Backpackers
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Well presented and scenic backpacker accommodation with camping ground.
Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Luxurious and reclusive lodge set on the hills of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mlilwane Rest Camp
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Traditional beehive huts, cottages & rondavels with rustic features set in the charming Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mlilwane Campsite
Mlilwane Game Sanctuary
Campsite overlooking Mhlambanyatsi River under a mature Eucalyptus forest canopy.
Modernised Guesthouse in Manzini with 34 rooms
Mbabane Lodge with delightful view of Nkoyoyo Mountains
Delightful guesthouse conveniently close to the capital city of Mbabane
Mogi Boutique Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Elegant guest house in a stunning setting.
Modern boutique hotel in the culture town of Lobamba
Self catering apartments conveniently located in Mbabane.
Brand new state of the art hotel in the heart of Mbabane perfect for leisure and business travellers.
Legends Backpacker Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Comfortable backpacker accommodation conveniently located in the Ezulwini Valley.
B&B lodge in a picturesque natural setting with delightful gardens.
Damicha Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
A luxury guesthouse with self catering facilities located in the Ezulwini Valley.
Small and intimate lodge set on Malagwane Hill with stunning surrounding views.
Sibebe Resort
Traditional African chalets set high upon the hills of Mbabane close to Sibebe Rock.
Home comforts in a rustic cottage environment
Willows Lodge
Comfortable chalet accommodation in the rural malkerns farming area.
Luxurious and unique accommodation set amongst indigenous forests and gardens.
Luxurious cottages with self catering facilities surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Comforting accommodation with self catering facilities or onsite restaurant.
Timbali Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
The Place
Small guesthouse with all the amenities and facilities of home right by the capital.
Large hotel in the busy town of Manzini with conference facilities available.
Summerfield Resort
Summerfield Botanical Garden
Luxury 5 star hotel and resort in the pure bliss and elegant Summerfield Botanical Gardens.
Modern and peaceful lodge with stunning views across the Pine Valley.
SibaneSami Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Luxurious and rustic hotel set in the heart of Eswatini, the Ezulwini Valley.
Royal Villas
Ezulwini Valley
Spacious and elegant villas with private lounges, dining rooms and beautiful gardens.
Royal Swazi Spa
Ezulwini Valley
Peaceful cottage accommodation with it's own farmyard and riding school.
Experience traditional Swazi accommodation in a local homestead.
Mvubu Falls Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Secluded peaceful lodge, yet only minutes from tourism hub Ezulwini Valley.
Beautifully presented hotel with unbeatable views of Ezulwini Valley.
Manzini Lodge
Accommodation conveniently located in the busy town of Manzini
Mantenga Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Relaxing accommodation at the foot of Sheba's Breasts with beautiful views.
Stunning converted farmhouse in the thriving Malandela's Complex.
Lugogo Sun Hotel
Ezulwini Valley
Lidwala Lodge
Ezulwini Valley
Safari tents & camping spots in rustic and wild surroundings.
Conveniently located guesthouse perfect for tourists and business travellers
Happy Valley Hotel & Casino
Ezulwini Valley
Luxury hotel in the centre of Ezwulini Valley
Esibayeni Lodge
Various accommodation types set amongst lush gardens.
Luxury Guest House with breathtaking views
Pleasent guest house close to the capital city
Esquisite guest house set in a beautiful garden.
Guest House with a fantastic view of Mbabane
Brookside Lodge
Tranquil lodge set amongst extensive and beautiful gardens in Malkerns.
Gibela Getaway
Tranquil & Scenic setting only 10km from the busy town of Manzini.
Popular & Comfortable Guest House
Buhleni Farm Chalets
Ezulwini Valley
Rustic wooden chalets right by the Ezulwini Valley.
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Mlilwane Game Sanctuary