Swaziland is a very special place when it comes to wildlife safaris. Africa has many safari destinations, but few that offer the intimacy of game-viewing as in Swaziland. Having escaped the hype of destinations like Kenya and Tanzania, and not subscribing to the upmarket pretentiousness of South African and Botswana safari camps, Swaziland is only under-rated by those that haven’t been here to experience what insiders have known for years: Swaziland is a African safari gem.
There 5 major parks in Swaziland and a host of smaller ones. Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve are the BIG 5, big game highlights. Both parks are managed by the Big Game Parks of Swaziland organisation, a private-public partnership that has delivered and outstanding wildlife conservation record over the past almost 50 years.
Swazi Trails offers both a full and half-day safari to Hlane Royal National Park and a full day tour to Mkhaya Game Reserve – bookable online here:
- Hlane Royal National Park Safari – full day
- Hlane Royal National Park safari – half-day
- Safari – Mkhaya Game Reserve – full day
These outings include a private return transfer from the Mbabane-Ezulwini-Manzini area. Game-viewing in the reserves is undertaken in specialised game-viewing vehicles provided by the parks authorities.
Another option is our outing to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – which is a very different type of safari altogether. Mlilwane is situated just south of the fast-developing Ezulwini Valley area and is a vast green lung just off the pulsating peri-urban area nearby. The park is dominated by non-dangerous species (if you consider hippo, crocodile and ostrich non-dangerous!) and allows activity-based exploration of the park. This includes walking, bicycle and horseback trails in addition to the more conventional open-vehicle game-viewing. Our Swazi Trails safari to Mlilwane includes a return transfer, plus a choice of one of these adventurous activities. Families or groups may even split up between activities – so ensuring that your experience is a very personally satisfying one.
This half-day tour to Mlilwane is bookable online here:
- Mlilwane Adventure – half day
If you are a self-drive traveller and looking for game park-based accommodation we offer the option of direct bookings at all three of the Big Game Parks. Our rates are competitive, and we know these reserves and camps better than any other operator (see further below for the reason why!):
- Online bookings for Mkhaya Game Reserve – Stone Camp
- Online bookings for Hlane Royal National Park – Ndlovu and Bhubesi Camp
- Online bookings for Reilly’s Rock – hilltop lodge at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
- Online bookings for Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – main rest camp and beehive villages.
Swazi Trails has a pretty deep affinity for the Big Game Parks, as explains company director Darron Raw:
“Our tour company was born at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, when founders Bev and Paul Ozard, set-up a caravan in the camp-ground. From here they ran and operated the business from 1987 onwards, using a fleet of old beat-up VW combis.
My own career also started on the parks, where I was the Marketing and Tourism Manager for just over 7 years – responsible for managing the facilities on Hlane, Mlilwane and Mkhaya. And although I left the organisation to take up my shareholding in Swazi Trails full-time, a part of me still resides there… and I love bumping into old colleagues or seeing the incremental developments built on the foundations we laid in those years before.”
And if you think that is the only way you can interact with the game parks in Swaziland – wrong!
Swazi Trails also offers a Sundowner Safari at Mlilwane, as well as a half-day Mountain-biking Safari that departs directly from our offices in Ezulwini.