Hlane Royal National Park
Lonely Planet review
This park is near the former royal hunting grounds. Hlane (the name means ‘wilderness’) is Swaziland’s largest protected area, and home to elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, white rhinos and many antelope species, and offers wonderfully low-key wildlife-watching.
There are guided walking trails, which afford the opportunity to see elephants and rhinos, as well as two-hour wildlife drives at sunrise, sunset and during the day, a cultural village tour and mountain-bike rentals.
Hlane has two good camps. Both can be booked through Big Game Parks over at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ndlovu Camp is pleasant and rustic, with no electricity, a gas-cooking area and a smart new restaurant. Accommodation is in rondavels and self- catering cottages. It’s just inside the main gate, and near a waterhole (fenced off, although you can often spot animals, including hippos and rhinos).
Bhubesi Camp is the pick of the spots: it overlooks a river about 10km from Ndlovu Camp. Accommodation is in tasteful, stone, four-person, self-catering cottages and electricity is available.
Minibus taxis to Simunye will drop you at the entrance to Hlane (E5); the gate is about 7km south of Simunye. Once at the park, you can explore most of it with a 2WD, with the notable exception of the special lion compound, which can be visited on the wildlife drives only.