Notice of Change of Normal Rates

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

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Mlilwane: The Best Base to Experience Umhlanga


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 reservations@biggameparks.org for more information and to book.

Book A Laid -back Swazi Stay

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.

A Lullaby in a Kingdom

IMG_3070A big thank you to our very own Swazi Poet Bonisile Nxumalo and guitarist David Mkhonta, who helped to welcome Backpacker owners from all around Southern Africa to Swaziland’s Wildest Backpackers, Sondzela Backpackers, with a poetry recital with a difference!

Sondzela means you’re welcome to ‘Come Closer’ in siSwati, and Bonisile and David weaved a beautiful and musical poem alluding to Big Game Parks’ rich history of nature conservation, which delighted the crowd around Sondzela’s campfire.

We couldn’t let you miss out, so we hope you enjoy the poem below as much as we did!

A Lullaby in a Kingdom

There is a beauty in your eyes
It dances like a song on fire
It is primitive like love
Sacred like the need for man and animal to like in harmony
Let that beauty sing you the lullaby that lives in the kingdom of Swaziland

There is a beauty in your eyes, let it feed your feet
As you hike up the mountains, that are ripe with stories of men living,
Men hunting and men waking up to the dream of conservation.

There is a beauty in your eyes
Let it feed your ears with the sound of the drum beating, as maidens and warriors
Bow to culture, arousing the legends of kings and queens
Lions and elephants
As they unite to lead the animal world away from the gates of extinction.

There is a beauty in your eyes
Let it feed your voice as you stand on mountain tops
Fuelling the fire that sparkled from the heart of mlilwane
And seduces the world with the big five
Come closer to sondzela, where your soul will be one with adventure

Go now; sing this song to the world
So that they too may dance to the rhythm that lives in the big game parks
Of the kingdom of Swaziland

There is a beauty in your eyes
Sondzela “come closer”

Special Crane Sighting at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary had a special first time sighting of the Southern Grey Crowned Crane.

The first time, one-day visitor to the parks was spotted between at Emadanyini between Sondzela Backpackers and Esibayeni. Unfortunately we were unable to capture it on camera as it was here just for one day. Please see below and above for images from other areas.

Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge within Mlilwane has one of the species of crane, the Blue Crane. The visit from its cousin the Southern Grey Crowned Crane is extremely special as this the first time the bird has been spotted at Mlilwane.

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a member of the crane family Gruidae. This is the only one of the species of cranes to perch or roost in trees and the most primitive crane, resembling its ancestral family members. It is also the national bird of the east African country Uganda, featuring in the country’s flag and coat of arms.

Like all cranes, it feeds on insects and other invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals, as well as grass seeds.

Hopefully, we will have more sightings of this special bird soon! Keep an eye on this blog for more special sightings on the parks.

Welcome to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

It’s easy to see why Mlilwane is called an Outdoor Lover’s Paradise.  Check out Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary’s video below.

Ngwenya/Oshoek Border Hours Extended

Great news for our visitors!

The governments of Swaziland and South Africa have extended the operating hours of the Ngwenya/Oshoek border.

Starting today 15 August 2012, Ngwenya/Oshoek Border Gate will operate from 07h00 to 00h00, a 2 hour addition from the original closing time of  22h00. This indefinite extension is to facilitate the secure and effective movement of persons and goods between the two countries.

With Umhlanga/Reed Dance starting in less than 20 days, news of this extension will be most welcomed by culture enthusiasts wanting to experience this annual traditional ceremony. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary located just 5 km from Ludzidzini Royal Residence in Lobamba is the best base to experience the Umhlanga located. Mlilwane also offers a wide range of accommodation, suitable for every price point from backpacking to Camping and Caravanning, self-catering cottages as well as the up-market Reilly’s Rock, in addition to its numerous activities and dining options.

Contact us here for more information and to book.