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Africa Swaziland

eSwatini

Stories and Photos from my travels to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in eSwatini.

Destination 》Africa 》eSwatini

Year Visited: 2018 – Mar

I visited eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) as a part of 21 days South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) overland tour. In the morning we started our journey from Kruger Nation Park, our truck offered an excellent platform for game viewing as we made our way south. We exited the southern end of the park and travel towards Jeppe’s Reef / Matsamo border,

eSwatini, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Our tight schedule didn’t allow us to spend any time in local villages and experience local culture. For that, I would like to revisit this country during the nation’s most important events; Umhlanga, the reed dance festival, and Incwala, the kingship dance festival.

Once in eSwatini, we stopped at Matsamo Cultural Village, one of the touristic shopping center, for a while and drove straight to our destination Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is eSwatini’s oldest protected area and the most visited reserve. It is located in the picturesque Ezulwini Valley, known as the ‘Valley of Heaven’. Its grassy southern plains are home to animals such as antelopes and zebras. A self-guided exploration within the sanctuary is possible due to absence of any dangerous game.

Photos below are from the eSwatini (Swaziland):

At Jeppe’s Reef / Matsamo border crossing. My 78th Country!
Beautiful eSwatini countryside, driving through Lobamba community.
Beautiful eSwatini countryside, on the way to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Friendly kids waving, happy to see our truck.
Welcome center at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

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Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is most wonderful place, human and animals living in harmony. The sanctuary offers a stay in iQhugwane, a traditional Swazi Beehive hut. Deers hangout around the huts all the time.

Female Nalya antelope is wandering around Beehive huts, our home for 2 nights.
My Hut from inside, it’s huge, no window, but with modern features such as ensuite toilets and showers; and solar lighting.
Human and animals living in harmony, deer hangout around the huts all the time, they know no one is going to hurt them, they are safe.

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A self-guided exploration within the sanctuary is possible due to absence of any dangerous game. Many times native birds or animals will guide you and show you their homeland.

These two Helmeted Guineafowls guided me for at least 200 m, every few minutes looking back and making sure I am not lost and still following them.
This Blesbuck antelope is happy to show me his homeland.
This group of Zebras accompanied me for at least 700 m, once in a while turning back and checking on me. Funny part was, when I stop for taking pictures, they will stop and wait for me to catch up.

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Few photos of the animals in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Nyala antelope, they had been extinct in eSwatini since the 1950s, now reintroduced to few Wildlife Sanctuaries.

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Many Zebra roaming around Mlilwane, few pregnant female Zebras too.

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The blue wildebeests, they are always alert, watching your every move.

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The Blesbok or Blesbuk; It has a distinctive white face and forehead.
Few families of Warthogs lived near the camp site. During our stay, every night a family of warthog, mom and her 4-5 babies came and rested near the campfire.
Picturesque Ezulwini Valley, known as a ‘Valley of Heaven’.

Beautiful lake has few resident crocodiles.

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After two nights in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, we said good-bye to eSwatini, and re-enter South Africa, continuing south towards St Lucia, into the reaches of Zululand, once the realm of the mighty King Shaka who united the Zulu clans.

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...

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