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A visit to Mlilwane Nature Reserve-Swaziland

Updated on November 18, 2012
White-breasted Comorant and Green- backed Night Heron at Hippo Haunt Restaurant lookout
White-breasted Comorant and Green- backed Night Heron at Hippo Haunt Restaurant lookout | Source
Impala
Impala | Source
Kudu horns, Kudu antelope died in combat
Kudu horns, Kudu antelope died in combat
Students from Boston University leaving camp on Horseback
Students from Boston University leaving camp on Horseback
Swazi Bee-hive hut with reed bundle
Swazi Bee-hive hut with reed bundle | Source
Bee-eaters, two of many!
Bee-eaters, two of many! | Source
Removed snares
Removed snares | Source
Execution Rock in background
Execution Rock in background | Source
Great place for a ride among the game
Great place for a ride among the game | Source


Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Swaziland.


The Medical Students from Boston were obviously excited as they left the main camp on horseback for a ride into the Wildlife Sanctuary. Some had never ridden a horse before and certainly never amongst Zebra and Wildebeest.


The Mlilwane private reserve has an interesting history, an excellent education centre, a good selection of wildlife, and mouthwatering birdlife. It is also conveniently situated near the main towns of Mbabane and Manzini in Swaziland. Accommodation is available in a wide variety of forms, from basic camp grounds to luxury lodges. The typical Swazi Beehive, huts with shared bathroom facilities in the main camp, have a real African feel about them, and come at a very reasonable price.


Our visit however, was a day trip and after an interesting hour’s drive, during which we listed more than 20 different species of bird, we walked around the main camp that is set in a picturesque wooded area. The braai (barbeque) fires had been lit by the local workers, using the biggest logs I have seen in a braai. The Hippo Haunt Restaurant that overlooks a dam, and where we enjoyed a cup of coffee, provided a great view of a selection of water birds, including Hammerkop (Hammer-head), Giant Kingfisher and a variety of Herons.


The braai was excellent, but the highlight was a walk along the river with our guide, Kurt Platt, who warned us to look out for Crocodiles and Hippo, and if we saw any to keep a safe distance! Along the walk we listed a few more bird species and brought out list for the day to 49. We also saw the biggest number of Bee-eaters that we have ever seen in one area. We then saw one of the largest crocodiles on a bank of the river, just about 10 meters away, and a pod of Hippo at a more comfortable distance.


A Wildlife sanctuary like Mlilwane is not as vast as most of the other Game Reserves in Southern Africa, does not offer the “Big Five”, but it has a magic of its own. The opportunity to walk in the wild or even ride a horse or a bicycle amongst the animals is special, and you can bet that the students from Boston will have some great stories to tell and photos to show when they get back home!


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    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Sounds wonderful to be around hippo. I'm sure scary, but just seems to thing to do if one can.

    • Johan Smulders profile image
      Author

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      great experience but quite safe. thanks for comment.

    • Gill Harris profile image

      Gill Harris 4 years ago from South Africa

      Glad you finally made it. Think that this might be my favourite wildlife venue of all time. There is so much history embedded in the place too. Loved that.

    • Brigitte Thompson profile image

      Brigitte Thompson 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Sounds lovely. Do you have more photos?

    • Johan Smulders profile image
      Author

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      More photos coming now that I am back in South Africa and internet access is easier and cheaper

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Beautiful. I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing the photos.

    • Johan Smulders profile image
      Author

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it!

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