Saving Swaziland’s Wildlife: Mlilwane Game Reserve

by isvolunteers on Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Get immersed in Swazi culture and spend two nights in a traditional beehive hut! (c)

Spend two amazing nights in a traditional Swazi “beehive” hut inside Mlilwane Game Reserve!

Nestled between South Africa and Mozambique, The Kingdom of Swaziland is one of Africa’s most  fascinating countries. It’s a rare ‘absolute monarchy‘, meaning that the royal family have total governance over the country and its people, and ISV participants will have the opportunity to visit this unique nation on the upcoming South African May-Sep Adventure Tour

In addition to learning about Swaziland’s culture, ISV participants will enjoy some amazing low-impact and responsible travel-based adventure tour activities such as caving, horse riding in the open savannah, mountain biking past herds of wild animals (see image below), visiting a Swazi village and donating to the local orphanage. But one of the highlights is staying inside Mlilwane Game Reserve – a park that plays an important role in preserving Swaziland’s wildlife.

Ted Reilly, also known as “the man who saved the wildlife of Swaziland”

Some 200,000 snares were removed the National Park and surrounding areas as part of a large conservation effort.

Mlilwane means “Little Fire” in the local language, siSwati. It was established in 1960 when Ted Reilly (known as “the man who saved the wildlife of Swaziland”) devised a plan to conserve what little Swaziland wildlife remained after years of relentlessness hunting. Ted began by rescuing and rehabilitating threatened and wounded animals, who eventually thrived in the land. In 1968, King Mswati III proclaimed the reserve to be Swaziland’s first National Park and it is now the country’s oldest protected area with an abundance of wildlife roaming the plains.

Visitors to the reserve have the incredible opportunity to stay in Mlilwane’s traditional ‘beehive huts’. These dome-like structures of grass on a frame of saplings are surprisingly warm in winter and cool in summer, and have been lived in by the Swazi people for hundreds of years. The accommodation is located in a camp surrounded by trees and a lake where students can spot a vast array of animals such as, hippo, crocodile, nyala,  bushbuck, zebra, wildebeest and a variety of bird species.

A stay at Mlilwane Game Reserve not only contributes to the protection and preservation of The Kingdom of Swaziland’s wildlife, but it offers visitors a mesmerizing experience that they will carry with them forever.


Thanks to the work of Ted Reilly and the vision that has become Mlilwane Game Reserve, visitors can now enjoy Swazi wildlife in a low-impact, responsible travel way. Mountain biking around the reserve is part of the ISV Optional Activity Package for the South Africa Adventure Tour (c) Big Game Parks

To learn more about ISV and our programs visit our website!


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