Kruger – Eswatini, South Africa
Our day starts with a delicious cup of coffee and some traditional ruks before we make our way out of the Kruger National Park and journey to Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). We have an excellent platform for viewing as we make our way south to The Kingdom of Swaziland which is a beautiful landlocked country bordered by Mozambique and South Africa. We spend the night in the Ezulwini Valley.
The smallest country of the southern hemisphere, Swaziland is one of three monarchies remaining in Africa. The Kingdom was declared independent from the Commonwealth in 1968 and is ruled by a King who is appointed in accordance with the Swazi traditions. If the King is absent or incapable of performing his duties for whatsoever reason, the Queen Mother acts on his behalf. This minute country made international headlines when it was ruled by two queens, one after the other. After the demise of King Sobhuza II, the substitute Queen Dzeliwe Shongwe reigned between 1982 and 1983, and just a few months following, Ntombi Twala became the country’s second female Head of State since the country’s independence.
Though Swaziland is surrounded on all sides by South Africa, it is bordered for roughly 100 kilometres by Mozambique in the east. It’s natural resources are tremendously well-managed, and in spite of the size of the country, it contains some of the finest game reserves and national parks within Southern Africa. Elephants, lions and rhinos were wiped out due to hunting at one point, but have since been restored to the region. Swaziland is also quite famous for its abundant birdlife.
Mlilwane was Swaziland’s very first wildlife sanctuary, established in the 1960’s by a local farmer, Ted Reilly, who has contributed to the conservation of Swaziland’s natural heritage for many years. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a stunning, isolated haven situated in Swaziland’s ‘Valley of Heaven’, the Ezulwini Valley located between Mbabane and Manzini. The sanctuary spreads over 4,560 hectares and consists of a southern and northern section. The southern region consists mostly of sweeping grasslands with middleveld flora that stretch up onto the incredible Nyonyane Mountain. Nyonyane has much historical significance as it is where the ancient San communities once resided and it is also where the Swazi Royal family are buried. Behind these mountains, the remarkable Mantenga waterfall and gorgeous Usushwana Valley create a divide before extending up to the northern section, which includes one of the highest surrounding points at Luphohlo. From the western frontier, the enormous Usutu Forest boasts a vivid setting that stretches into the far-off hills. Tourist activities mostly take place in the southern section, with guided trails leading to the unspoiled mountains of the north. Meaning ‘little fire’, Mlilwane’s name originated from the countless fires initiated by strikes of lightning on the Mlilwane Hill’s stonework.
Accommodation: Camp: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary or Hlane Royal National Park
Facilities: Shared Ablutions Please visit the website of the accommodation provider for a full list of the facilities offered
Route: Kruger to Mlilwane ±230 km (in addition approx 150 km in Kruger)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included Activity: Game Drive in Kruger National Park (in the truck)
Border Post: South Africa: Jeppes Reef, Tel: + 27(0)13 781 0382, Open: 07h00-20h00 Eswatini: Matsamo, Tel: +268 323 2137, Open: 07h00-20h00