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 or email our Central Reservations at

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 or email our Central Reservations at

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

#Nailit4RHINOS Campaign: 1st – 22nd September 2015

September 2, 2015


World Rhino Day is on the 22nd September every year. This day is celebrated worldwide. 2015 marks the fifth year that the world will commemorate this day.

Nail it for Rhinos

The Rhino Horn is made from a substance called Keratin; the same material found in human nails. The Rhino is an endangered species which is continentally in crisis of extinction. The Swazi Community can help take a stand to save the rhino by getting involved with the Nail it for Rhinos Campaign.  All they have to do is get creative with their nails from the 1st of September 2015. World Rhino Day is on Tuesday the 22nd September and the eventual winner will be announced on Social Media on the 22nd.They can colour them, Shape them or Fake them; then take selfies (with the highlight of the picture being their nail craft) and share them on our official Big Game Parks instagram, facebook and twitter handles with the caption #NailItForRhinos.


The most creative participant will walk away with:

  • One night for 2 people at Hlane Royal National Park plus a Rhino Game Drive.
  • We invite salons to participate by offering a manicure/pedicure prize along side this to stimulate more interest – We hope that if the client wins, the salon owner can join the winner on the game drive and offer the prize at her salon. The prize will be redeemed at the winner’s salon, so only if your client wins, will your prize be taken up.


  • The winner will be “The most effective artwork seen in photo” selected from social media posts. This means the artwork must stimulate interest as a great rhino ambassador.


How to enter:

  • Design & paint your #Nailit4RHINO nails (Both Men and Women eligible)
  • Photograph your nails creatively
  • Share on your social media platforms and tag:
    • @biggamparks (twitter)
    • @BigGameParks (Insta)
    • Big Game Parks (FB)
    • #Nailit4RHINO
    • Your Salon’s name
    • Your own handle
  • Most effective artwork seen in photo wins – T&C’s apply

Mlilwane: The Best Base to Experience Umhlanga

July 27, 2015

The Umhlanga Reed Dance takes place from the 25th of August to its culmination on the 31st Agust 2015 (Main Day) at Ludzidzini Royal Residence in Lobamba. Stay at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary only 5km from Ludzidzini and experience this annual cultural explosion.

The week long annual event takes place at the end of August or the beginning of September. Over 60 000 maidens pay homage to Her Majesty iNdlovikazi, the Queen Mother by cutting and presenting her with Reed used to repair the windbreak( emaguma ) for her homestead.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctaury, located 5 km from Ludzidzini Royal Residence is the best base to experience this colourful traditional ceremony. Mlilwane has accommodation to suit every price point from backpacker accommodation at Sondzela Backpackers, to Mlilwane’s Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary‘s Rest Camp features a wide variety of accommodation suitable for families, groups as well as individual travelers and every price point. A t the heart of the Rest Camp are Rest Camp Huts; single room en-suite huts with close proximity to Hippo Haunt Restaurant or get a taste of traditional Swazi Living by beehive style hut (boguca) in one of 3 kraals, Nyala, Blesbok and Roan villages, each with 14 huts. These traditional huts have added luxury of en-suite bathroom with bedding and towels supplied. For larger family groups, Shonalanga Self Catering family cottage with its own private braai area and view of the Mlilwane plains is ideal. Lontweni Self-catering Rondavels also at Rest Camp are better suited for small families or couples alike.

For the traveler wild at heart, retire to our campsite which overlooks the Mhlambanyatsi valley and is adjacent to an ablution block with the added luxury of electricity points and laundry for your convenience.

Also located within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a historic and luxury lodge called Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge, the birthplace of Swazi Nature conservation. Reilly’s is surrounded by  Botanical Gardens featuring rare aloes and cycads, threatened and endangered antelope as well as abundant bird-life. Reilly’s accommodation features the main house and 2 luxury en-suite rooms with 2 standard en suite rooms with a communal lounge as well as the breakfast terrace with spectacular views of Lobamba and the Ezulwini Valley. Reilly’s also has garden cottage with 2 standard en suite rooms sharing a small communal lounge.

There is little doubt that given its location, Sondzela Backpackers is the WILDest Backpackers in Swaziland. Set within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. A stay at Sondzela backpackers offers the priviledge  of being among Swazi Wildlife whilst also being perfectly placed to explore neighbouring attractions of Ezulwini and beyond. With a wide range of tolerant Game surrounding you including impala, nyala, zebra, warthog you can relax and take in the Sondzela landscape

Experience true Swazi culture, nature and hospitality at its very best at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Contact our central reservations office on T: +268 2528 3943 or email for more information and to book.

Book A Laid -back Swazi Stay

July 15, 2015
Sondzela Backpackers

Sondzela Backpackers

There is little doubt that given its location, Sondzela Backpackers is the WILDest Backpackers in Swaziland.

Set within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, a stay at Sondzela Backpackers offers you the privilege of being amongst Swazi wildlife whilst also being perfectly placed to explore the neighbouring attractions of Ezulwini and beyond.

With a wide range of tolerant game surrounding you including impala, nyala, zebra,  and warthog, you can relax and take in the Sondzela landscape.


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