Find out about hiking trails, mountain biking and wildlife in Swaziland.
Malolotja Nature Reserve is a stunning middleveld and highveld wilderness region that is rugged and for the most part, pristine. It is a fantastic walking destination and includes approximately 200 kilometres of hiking trails. The Reserve is heaven for bird lovers, with more than 280 bird species that include numerous rare kinds. Wildflower and rare flora are additional attractions, with many of them indigenous to this area of Africa. Numerous antelope species, zebra, eland and wildebeest make this reserve their home. Malolotja contains a network of streams and is divided by three rivers, including the Komati River, which runs east through a gorge in a sequence of falls and rapids until it reaches the lowveld. There are various hiking trails here that are suitable for trekkers of all levels.
Mlawula Nature Reserve is a peaceful place where the lowveld plains join the Lebombo Mountains. The park is home to various antelope species and hyena, among others, as well as exquisite bird watching opportunities. You are welcome to bring your own mountain bike along here, or you could spend time trekking along massive plateaus to the highlights, such as caves and waterfalls. There is an array of camping accommodation for you to choose from at Mlawula, offering some needed rest and comfort after a long day of sight-seeing.
Hlane Royale National Park is situated close to the previous royal hunting grounds. Hlane, meaning ‘wilderness’, is the biggest protected region in Swaziland, and is home to numerous elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, white rhinos and various antelope species. It provides visitors with excellent low-key wildlife watching – a fantastic way to spend a day here. There are guided walking trails that give you the chance to see elephants and rhinos up close, as well as long wildlife drives at sunrise and sunset. They also offer a cultural village tour, mountain-bike rentals and camping accommodation.
Image of Hlane Royale National Park courtesy of Accommodation direct
Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a gorgeous and peaceful private reserve located near Lobamba, and was the first region in Swaziland to be protected. The name means ‘little fire’, given to the park due to the various fires that were once caused by lightning strikes in the area. Though small, the reserve is easily accessible and certainly worth a visit. Its terrain is dominated by the Nyonyane peak, with numerous lovely walks through the region. Animals to be spotted here include zebra, warthog, antelope, crocodile, hippo, and an array of birds. You can also participate in guided walks, vehicle safaris, mountain-bike tours or horse-riding trips here.
Ngwempisi Gorge is another marvellous place to visit when travelling through this region, as it is one of the country’s few remaining untouched environments with gorgeous natural forests and the sparkling Ngwempisi River.