Mlawula Nature Reserve is a place where you can experience the beauty and diversity of Eswatini’s natural heritage. This nature reserve is a 16 500-hectare protected area located in the western highlands of Eswatini. It is the largest nature reserve in the country and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life. The reserve is known for its scenic beauty, with its rolling hills, lush forests, and sparkling rivers. It is also a popular destination for birdwatching, as it is home to over 300 species of birds. It is a transitional zone between the dry thorn savannas of the west and the moister coastal thickets of the east and consists of three distinct ecological zones: the Ndzindza plateau, the Siphiso Valley, and the rhyolite ridges of the western boundary.
History and Establishment
The Mlawula area was first proclaimed as a protected area in 1914 but was subsequently de–proclaimed and subdivided into cattle ranches. The first part of Mlawula to be proclaimed as a conservation area was donated in 1978, to become Ndzindza Nature Reserve. The reserve was created to protect the area’s unique biodiversity and to provide a recreational space for the public. The reserve is managed by the Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of Eswatini’s natural heritage.
Geography and Climate
The Mlawula Nature Reserve is located in the western highlands of Eswatini, at an altitude of 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level. The reserve has a varied topography, with hills, valleys, and rivers. The climate is subtropical, with warm summers and mild winters. The average annual temperature is 22 degrees Celsius.
Flora and Fauna
The Mlawula Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life. The reserve is dominated by savanna woodland, with scattered patches of forest and grassland. The most common trees in the reserve include the knob thorn, marula, and sycamore fig. The reserve is also home to a variety of shrubs and flowers, including the protea, hibiscus, and orchid. The Mlawula Nature Reserve is home to over 300 species of birds, including the vultures, eagles, and hornbills. The reserve is also home to a variety of mammals, including the lions, elephants, and rhinos. Other animals that can be found in the reserve include the hippos, crocodiles, and snakes.
The Mlawula Nature Reserve is a popular tourist destination, known for its scenic beauty and its diverse wildlife. The reserve offers a variety of activities for visitors, including:
The Eswatini National Trust Commission is committed to the conservation of the Mlawula Nature Reserve. The commission works to protect the reserve’s biodiversity and to promote sustainable tourism. Some of the conservation activities that the commission undertakes include:
The Mlawula Nature Reserve is a valuable asset to Eswatini. It is a home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, and it is a popular tourist destination. Noteworthy is that it also serves as an important educational resource, teaching visitors about the importance of biodiversity and conservation. The Eswatini National Trust Commission is committed to the conservation of the reserve, and it is working to protect its biodiversity and to promote sustainable tourism.
Accommodation and Facilities
The Mlawula Nature Reserve has a variety of accommodation options, including chalets, lodges, and campsites. The reserve also has a restaurant, bar, and gift shop. It is a relatively affordable destination, with a campsite and a variety of budget-friendly accommodations available. The nature reserve is a great destination for visitors who are interested in wildlife, nature, and conservation. It is a place where you can experience the beauty and diversity of Eswatini’s natural heritage.
Eswatini Tourism Authority continues to drive its mandate to encourage responsible travel in the Kingdom of Eswatini and promotes Eswatini as a preferred destination.