Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

sights / Other

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary information

Lonely Planet review

This beautiful and tranquil private reserve near Lobamba was Swaziland’s first protected area, created by conservationist Ted Reilly on his family farm in the 1950s. Reilly later opened Mkhaya Game Reserve and supervised the establishment of Hlane Royal National Park. Mlilwane means ‘Little Fire’, and the wildlife sanctuary was named after the many fires started by lightning strikes in the region.

While it doesn’t have the drama or vastness of some of the bigger South African parks, the reserve is easily accessible and well worth a visit. Its terrain is dominated by the precipitous Nyonyane (Little Bird) peak, with several fine walks in the area. Animals to be seen include zebras, warthogs, many antelope species, crocodiles, hippos and a variety of birds. In summer, you may also spot black eagles near Nyonyane.

Activities on offer in the reserve include guided walks, two-hour vehicle safaris, mountain-bike trips and also horse-riding trips.

Mlilwane gets very busy during South African school holidays (The entrance is 2km southeast of the Happy Valley Motel on the old Mbabane–Manzini road, and signposted from the turn-off. Night access is via an alternative gate (follow the signs from the gate).