Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal where to stay help needed.

May 2nd, 2004, 06:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 25
Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal where to stay help needed.

We will have 3 nights in Swaziland, 3 nights in KwaZulu-Natal, and 1 night near the Durban airport. We need advice and where to spend these nights in each of these areas. Deciding between Mlilwane or Mhlane Game reserves in Swaziland; and between Mkuze, Itala, or Umfolozi Game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. Also thinking that the Kingsburgh beach area south of Durban would be close to Durban airport. We have fairly limited budget and would like to stay places where there's a lot to do around it. Thanks for any help. Also, has anyone rented a car in Swaziland and dropped it off in Durban?
puma is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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As far as Swaziland is concerned, Hlane is a bigger game reserve than Mlilwane is, and my understanding is that Hlane has more species than Mlilwane does. For example, Hlane has lions and, as far as I know, Mlilwane does not. For that reason Hlane would be my first choice.

On the other hand, Mlilwane is closer to some other attractions, like craft markets, if you're looking for more variety.

To me, the fact that Mlilwane is closer to craft markets and other amenities doesn't count for much. You would in any case be able to stop at a market or two when you were passing through places like Mbabane, on your way to Hlane. You're going to have little enough time to spend in what I call "real" game reserves, that I think you'd be well advised to go to the bigger ones out of those that are available to you.

A Google search seems to indicate that Hlane offers only self-catering accommodation. The best place to stock up with food, as far as I know, is at the nearby shopping centre at Simunye. An alternative would be to stay in the one and only hotel in the town of Siteki, not too far away.

As for the KwaZulu-Natal game reserves, I recommend Hluhluwe-Umfolozi because those two game reserves add up to a combined size that's fairly substantial, and the mix of species includes lion. Itala and Mkuze, although they are charming game reserves in their own way, don't have lions.

Also, from what I can tell, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi area seems to offer a greater variety of accommodations.

A Google search indicated that Avis, for example, operated in Swaziland. When I attempted to make a hypothetical reservation, it seemed possible to reserve a car to be picked up at Matsapa Airport in Swaziland and dropped off in Durban. I wasn't able to figure out, however, exactly what the rental rate included, e.g., if it included a one-way drop off fee.

If I remember correctly, you'll be landing in Johannesburg initially. I should mention that the drive from Johannesburg to Swaziland is easy. You could pick up a car at the airport in Johannesburg, drive through Swaziland, and drop the car off in Durban.

It would not add much to the length of your drive if, instead of going from Johannesburg to Swaziland you went from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park. Then you could drive southwards through Swaziland to KwaZulu-Natal in a day. I mention this because, much as I love Swaziland, the Kruger National Park is considerably more impressive than any of the game reserves Swaziland can offer, in my opinion.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
May 2nd, 2004, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251
Re where to stay in Durban ...
Unless you are really out in the suburbs like Westville/Pinetown/Umhlanga it will only take you about 15 minutes at most to get from central Durban to the airport - and it is very straightforward. I would not suggest staying in the area you were thinking of as there is not really much to do there for tourists. The City Lodge in Durban is well located, reasonable and a very short drive (literally less than 5 minutes) to things to do. If you hire a car and want to return it in Durban then you will probably need to return it at the airport anyway so hold onto it for your stay there. Think about including time at the newly opened Shaka Aquarium on the Durban beachfront - it looks amazing.
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
May 3rd, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Any chance of Phinda (Forest Lodge), just a 30 minute drive from where you'll be? Superlative!!!
May 4th, 2004, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,922

If anyone does decide to stay at the Phinda Game Reserve, I hope you will fit it in your schedule to do the "Flight of the Fish Eagle."

It's an hour long small plane ride which takes you throughout parts of Kwazulu-natal and the St. Lucia Wetlands area. It is an incredible experience from a bird's eye view.

Also visit Sodwana Bay if you get a chance. My only wish is that I would have had enough time to dive there as well. But I'll be back...
divewop is offline  

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