In the year 1960 there were more snares than wild animals in Swaziland. The entrance posts to Mlilwane Rest Camp hold testament to this – wrapped in thousands of snares recovered between 1960 to 1970. This harrowing display sharply contrasts against the abundance of wildlife now found in reserves throughout the Swazi Kingdom.
Mlilwane Reserve is found in the Ezulwini Valley or ‘Valley of Heaven’ situated below Execution Rock, a granite peak protruding skyward out of the Ngonyane Mountain: A historic Place of Persuasion for witches and enemy warriors. The park, run by a non-profit organisation does not boast the big 5 and so can be explored by car, foot, bike or horse, a rather surreal experience after a strict ‘Kruger Park’ upbringing.
One does need to keep an eye open when trying to photograph weavers and dikkops along the water banks though, as big 5 aside, the park does boast crocs and hippos.
This apparently didn’t stop a group of tourists recently from taking a quick dip. In true Swazi style they were politely and respectfully asked to refrain – fast….
During calving season mommy hippo’s bring their babies into the rest camps at night and one is warned to be on the alert for large moving objects after sunset. The animals definitely have right of way at Mlilwane. A bright change from the ’60s.
Mlilwane Reserve – Swaziland Early October 2011