Big Game Parks Quiet Season Specials

January 19, 2016

QSS Info Sheet Rack-page-001Save up to 30% off on accommodation on Big Game Parks’ Quiet Season Specials at Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctaury including Reillys Rock Hilltop Lodge and Mkhaya Game Reserve when you stay  two nights or more from the 10th January 2016 to 20th March 2016. Entry is free for WILD card holders.

To book contact the Central Reservations Office on reservations@biggameparks.org or call +268 2528 3943

 

Big Game Parks 2015/16 Festive Season Procedures

December 15, 2015

family of logosHlane Royal National Park and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary welcome day visitors over the Christmas season.  We encourage enjoyment of our parks in a responsible manner with respect to wildlife and fellow guests.  EcoTourism is about a quality nature experience.  Big Game Parks is about making memorable experiences in nature available to local, regional and international guests.  We do not condone noisy and disrespectful behavior.  Our parks are here to be enjoyed by all who visit, which means safety, respect, courtesy and sobriety are important.

Due to the high levels of disturbance and numerous refunds paid to unhappy overnight guests over Christmas 2014, our parks will be following a very strict procedure this festive season.

  • For the safety and enjoyment of all, the “No Alcohol Permitted” rule will be enforced vigorously throughout the holiday season
  • Every vehicle will be searched on entry to both Hlane and Mlilwane. Vehicles with alcohol will be turned away and denied access into the park.
  • No alcohol may be left at our gates.
  • Anyone arriving intoxicated or suspected of being under the influence of intoxicating substances will be turned away. Our Rangers have full discretion.
  • Day Visitors will be required to leave the Rest Camp by 17h00 between 20 December and 5 January
  • Security will be deployed in the camps and have the authority to search picnics and any alcohol found being off-loaded will result in the vehicle and its passengers being evicted without refund
  • The number of Day Visitor vehicles allowed into the parks will be restricted on 25th December, 26th December and 1st Notices will be erected at the turn off when capacity is reached.  Big Game Parks reserves the right to restrict entry during Peak Season.
  • Conservation (entry) fees will be as follows:
    • E40,00 per adult & E20 per child during High Season (18-24 Dec & 28-30 Dec)
    • E60,00 per adult & E30 per child during Peak Season (25-27 Dec & 31 Dec-3 Jan) – Restricted access applies
    • Normal Rates apply through the rest of the months of December and January, with exception of the above dates
    • Wild Cards will be accepted as normal, without premium fare
    • Pre-bookings for overnight guests as per our forecast will be charged normal Conservation Fees, including pay on arrival
    • Pre-paid Christmas Lunch bookings in the Hippo Haunt and Hlane Restaurants will be charged normal Conservation Fees. Pre-bookings without payment will be charged peak season rates. 

Wishing all our guests a fabulous Festive Season!

To book contact our Central Reservations Office on +268 2528 3943 or email reservations@biggameparks.org

10 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Rhinos

December 11, 2015

Here are 10 interesting fun facts you most probably didn’t know about Rhinos.

Happy reading! 

ML SMR 70s Rhino Wallow

1) A Rhino’s horn’s structure resembles a horse’s hooves. The outside is composed of soft keratin, similar to our very own hair and fingernails, while at its centre there are dense deposits of melanin and calcium. If the horn breaks off, a rhino can grow a new one.

2) In ancient times, the rhino horn was believed to hold magical properties, such as the ability to purify water or to be used to detect poisons in drinks. Surprisingly, the latter quality may be true! Because of the horn’s composition, today some believe that strongly alkaline poisons may have produced a chemical reaction inside a cup made from the horn.

3) An adult rhino’s skin can be as much as 5 cm thick, with typical range of thickness across being 1-5 cm!

4) Despite their large size, Rhinos are quick! Some have been clocked at going as fast as 45 km/h! In comparison, a human at full speed on a 100 metre sprint reaches around 37 km/h. And all this done with Rhinos only running on their toes.

5) White Rhinos can eat plants that are toxic to other animals, it’s safe to say that without Rhinos the plains of Africa would be scattered with weeds.

6) Rhinos are more closely related to horses and zebras than hippos, Rhinos are Odd-Toed Ungulates.

7) Black Rhinos have a prehensile upper lip (similar to a set of human fingers), this helps them to get even the smallest piece of vegetation from a thorn bush.

8) Rhinos make their own sun block by wallowing in mud for up to 3 hours and letting it dry, this also helps with keeping some blood sucking insects away.

9) Black Rhinos can live up to 5 days without water during drought.

10) The collective name for a group of Rhinos is a “Crash of Rhinos”.

Mkhaya rhino Photography

 

Notice of Change of Normal Rates

December 1, 2015

Big Game ParksPlease note that from the 1st of December 2015 our rates change to 2015/2016 rates. For more information on rates visit our website at www.biggameparks.org or email our Central Reservations at reservations@biggameparks.org

Upgraded Camping Facilities at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

December 1, 2015

Our new ablutions are opening this week!

The upgrade of Mlilwane’s camping facilities began in 2009 with the conversion of the casual camping grounds into 20 individual leveled sites, each with their dedicated braai stand, electricity points and some with a shared water source.

In 2013, the Rest Camp fenced off a few areas in front of the campsite in order to establish indigenous trees and plants in front of the Eucalypt forest.  This required game-proof fencing and enrichment of the dead soil with home-grown compost (thanks to Chubeka Trails).  Despite the sorry state of the eucalyptus-drained soil, the gardens are growing well.  In time, the newly established trees will provide shade and we look forward to cutting back the Eucalyptus and establishing more indigenous trees, but for now, shade for campers is important.  The Eucalyptus forest is also a very effective sound barrier from the sometimes noisy House on Fire across the valley, so removing it entirely is not planned.  The trees planted include various Acacia for soft shade and not to obstruct the view, Natal Figs for dense shade and to attract fruit-eating birds as well as Coral Trees to attract our numerous nectar-feeding sunbirds.  Gardenias, Aloes and Iboza have been planted for variety, colour and additional wildlife attraction.

 

The great finale has just been completed! Mlilwane has built an amazingly spacious, highly anticipated new ablution and wash up facility just behind the leveled sites, removing the need to trudge to the old ablutions.  The building has purposely been sited in the Eucalyptus to reduce the number of trees and to be discreet.  Along the one side are the ablutions, separate facilities for ladies and gentlemen, each with 4 toilets and 4 showers, well spaced basins and lovely natural light complimenting the electric lighting, with water warmed by gas geysers.

Along the other side is a large DIY laundry and wash up area.  The laundry has concrete ironing tables, a long tiled concrete table and concrete washing basins with ample surface area.  The wash up area sports built in benches, large solid tables and wash up basins with decent space in between so that groups and families can co-exist happily.  In fact, if the weather comes in, this will be a fun place to congregate!

Happy camping at Mlilwane.

Notice of Change of Normal Rates

December 1, 2015

BGP logoPlease note that from the 1st of December 2015 our rates  on all accommodation and activities will change to 2015/2016 rates. For more information on rates visit our website at www.biggameparks.org or email our Central Reservations at reservations@biggameparks.org

Re-Introduction of the Rhino #RhinoFriday

November 27, 2015

12227838_890146897701122_5852720195950287866_n[1]Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary was officially opened to the public in 1964 and the following year became the recipient of Natal Parks Board’s Rhino distribution programme. White Rhino had reduced to about 40 animals in South Africa, and dedicated conservation efforts by NPB saw this population boom. It was decided that the best chance for survival was to spread viable populations wherever possible. White Rhino returned to Swaziland (Mlilwane) as early as 1965.

In 1968, more rhino were donated and diverted to Hlane Royal National Park. The Hlane population exploded resulting in a natural dispersal, as far as Mozambique. 20 animals settled on Hlane and increased to over 110 by 1982. Again they dispersed due to grazer competition reducing the number to approximately 35 and a weaner dispersal programme in 1984 began populations in 3 other Swazi parks.

In 1986 black rhino were reintroduced to Mkhaya Game Reserve from Zimbabwe. By 1988, the beginning of Swaziland’s first Rhino War (1988 – 1992), white rhino numbers had again doubled. The first seizure of horn and ivory occured at Matsapha airport in April 1988. Swaziland lost her first rhino to commercial horn poachers in November 1988. What ensued for the next 4 years was a tale of deceipt, corruption, a dark and dangerous underworld, inexplicable happenings topped with hero’s of no ordinary measure. This deeply trying time was won only by the sincere and unrelenting support of His Majesty King Mswati lll.  Amendments were drafted to the Game Act, which stuck in Parliament for some time while rhino were slaughtered relentlessly. Finally, the Game Act was amended in 1992, making it arguably the toughest wildlife law in the world. Swaziland lost her final rhino in December 1992.

Currently, rhino poaching has escalated to just under 3 rhinos poached per day in South Africa. Swaziland holds the impresive record of no rhinos lost to poaching from December 1992 until a cow was shot in June 2012, orphaning her calf. Three arrests were made within 3 days, but bail granted. In September 2012 the same poaching syndicate returned, killing another pregnant cow. Law enforcement was quick and effective and Swaziland made its mark as non-tolerant of rhino poaching with the case being solved in 20 hours. However, rangers remain vigilant and proactive as the pressure grows daily. King Mswati lll and Big Game Parks are serious about saving Swaziland’s rhino for posterity.

Swaziland’s First Ever Instameet !

November 13, 2015

 

Instameet ArtworkThe Kingdom of Swaziland’s Big Game Parks invites instagrammers to the very first instameet in Swaziland! This event will be hosted at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary on the 16th December 2015. An InstaMeet is an event where a group of photographers and videographers who are on instagram meet up to take photos and videos together. Instagram is an exciting social networking service that enables its users to share pictures and videos. The vital ingredients for this event are a group of fun, easy going instagrammers with smart phones, data bundles and a desire to connect and explore nature with other Instagrammers.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautifully scenic park ideal for exploring nature and this Instameet will provide a great opportunity to meet new people, share opinions, tips and experiences related to Instagram;  take pictures and instantly upload them to Instagram. Save the date! #LookCloser #MlilwaneInstameet15 #TheBeautyOfNature @BigGameParks

Mlilwane Wins Trip Advisor Award for Excellence 2015

October 12, 2015

TRIP ADVISORMlilwane has won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award 2015. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

How Good Are You With Birds?

September 25, 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAre you good with birds….? Guess what bird specie in the picture. This was taken at Hlane Royal National Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fork Tailed Drongo

The fork-tailed drongo is a common and widespread resident breeder in Africa south of the Sahara. These insect-eating birds are usually found in open forests or bush. Two to four eggs are laid in a cup nest in a fork high in a tree.

They are aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and will attack much larger species, including birds of prey if their nest or young are threatened


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