Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane was opened to the public on 12 July 1964, and 14 years later proclaimed a Nature Reserve. It is thus the kingdom’s longest-established reserve and, as its 4 450 ha are situated almost alongside the Mbabane-Manzini highway, is the park most frequented by visitors on shorter stays. A blend of forested mountain slopes and open grasslands provides excellent photo-ops of giraffe, zebra, antelope, small predators and bird-life, including different species of wild fowl. Most-photographed, perhaps, are the enormous crocodiles that bask atop the small islands that dot Mlilwane’s watering-holes. Chubeka Trails is an opportunity to explore these delights on horseback, while guided walks are also on offer. The sanctuary’s restaurant and tavern straddle a hippo pool and are well patronised by locals and visitors alike. The choice of accommodation includes Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge, Sondzela Backpackers and a campsite: the latter comprises 20 individuals, level sites, each with a dedicated barbeque stand and electricity points, and some with a shared water-source.