Swaziland game reserves

Old Jun 4th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Swaziland game reserves

I've just booked our next trip to Africa!! Yay!!

We'll be going in February, and we plan on spending a few days in Kruger, and some time in Itala and/or Umfolozi. We're thinking about Swaziland too. It's been a few years since we've been there, and we've never been to any of the Swazi game reserves. Can anyone who's been tell me what to expect in terms of wildlife and accommodation? Thanks!

Celia
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 09:25 PM
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Compared to Kruger, Itala and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, the game reserves of Swaziland are not up to the same level. After many decades of land/resources being used for economic development (mining, agriculture, settlement, etc.), the wilderness spaces are being rehabilitated -- it's a long-term project that began 30 years ago on one former citrus farm/tin mine and has broadened significantly ever since, but takes a long, long time.

I think the most interesting aspect is the rehabilitation and conservation story, which you can get from Mkhaya (and to a lesser extent at Mlilwane if you stay at Reilly's Rock). You'll also have the chance to get close to black rhino (very rare) and tsessebe (also very rare), and the birding is good as well. I have to say that the food at Mhkaya was exceptional...and quite unexpectedly so.

If you haven't been, I'd recommend a visit to House on Fire (www.house-on-fire.com) and a performance there if something is on.

Good options for more info and bookings are through swazi.travel and Open Africa (www.openafrica.org/route/swaziland-route)

HTH

Kurt
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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I visited Mkhaya while traveling overland from Mbabane to Maputo, so only did a morning game drive in Mkhaya. Its very structured, sectioned by fences, but does have some interesting animals -- we were able to approach white rhinos on foot. I visited in 2002 and I'm not sure they had black rhinos at that time, but we did see several white rhinos. I had lunch at the lodge and it looked very nice.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 08:01 AM
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Thank you, both, for this info.

Celia
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 09:01 PM
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Celia,

I visited Swaziland in 2005 and stayed at Mlilwane. Unfortunately we didn't see any rhinos or get to meet Ted Reilly, however it was an enjoyable stay.

I did a horseback ride and remember seeing herds of zebra, impala and wildebeest. There was also a morning game walk during which we saw impala, warthog and a number of birds. Particularly good close-up sighting of lesser masked weavers building nests over the dam. The traditionally built beehive hut accommodation was great - the doors are only about a metre high and inside there was a soaring peaked thatched roof that gave a sense of spaciousness. The huts were ensuite. There was a pleasing amount of resident game around the lodge and dining room, agama lizards and birds and at night when walking back to the huts we had to watch out for sleeping impala and ostriches.

The restaurant was over a large pond and background music was provided by the frog choir. Whenever I hear frogs now I think of Mlilwane. This was a low-key restaurant with delicious home cooked food, I can remember they served warthog sausages and impala casserole as well as more traditional western food such as lasagne and roasts.

The Swazi candle factory was fairly close to Mlilwane and there was quite a big craft market also quite close with crafts of average quality.

Happy planning,


Pol
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 04:39 AM
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Thanks, Pol.

From what I see here, and from looking at web sites, I'm thinking that the Swazi game parks might be repetitious for us, after Kruger and Umfolozi.

We visited the candle factory on our last trip to Swaziland -- I loved it that the piped music there was mostly Dolly Parton's "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" -- and also the craft market that stretches for a long way beside the highway. We also visited a traditional Swazi village and really enjoyed the whole experience, especially the dancing.

House on Fire looks very interesting!

Celia
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Old Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Hi Celia,

I realize you posted about this a while back, but I did want to share with you, and anyone who comes to this post after looking for info, this guide to some of the best big game parks in Swaziland, written by a local travel writer. I think you made the right call - it is a little repetitive and you're likely to have a more satisfying experience in Kruger & Umfolozi (as the writer mentions in this guide, the services in Swaziland parks are not at the same level) BUT for anyone who does want to visit a big game reserve in Swaziland, here are his recommendations:

http://www.ruba.com/guide/simonB/Big...s_of_Swaziland

Have a great trip!
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