The many Game Parks and Nature Reserves across Swaziland protect a vast variety of animals. From the magnificent ‘Big Five’ to warthogs, antelope and reptiles, Swaziland is home to numerous of Africa’s wild animal species. The emphasis in Swaziland is to provide visitors with a more intimate wildlife experience in areas of natural beauty, and to allow them a certain amount of freedom to explore on their own terms. This is no place for mass tourism and convoys of vehicles but instead, walks to learn about the bush and track rare species like black and white rhino. As well as traditional 4x4 and walking safaris, some of Swaziland’s reserves can also be explored by mountain bike and on horseback. In a number of the reserves visitors are free to move around independently, without the need for a guide or ranger. There are even self catering options amongst the accomodation that allolw you to be in charge of your own ‘safari lodge’ in the bush. There aren’t many places in the world where you can head off for your own bike ride and encounter zebra and bushbuck along the way, or take a stoll to see the giraffe before settling down to your own bush barbeque.


Some 132 species of mammal have been recorded in Swaziland. High on the wish-list of most visitors are such ‘charismatic megafauna’ as rhinos, giraffes, hippos and elephants – and you can certainly see many of these in Swaziland, alongside a small number of predators, and numerous antelope and smaller mammals. Swaziland’s rhino safaris (on foot as well as by 4x4 and to see black as well as white rhino) is reckoned to be the best in Africa.

Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries

For traditional African big game viewing, Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve are the best places in Swaziland. Both are home to a variety of big mammals, including elephant, hippo, giraffe, zebra and rhino. Mkhaya is one of the best places on the continent to see both black and white rhino and Hlane is also home to everyone’s favourite big cat – the lion. Numerous antelope, predators and smaller mammals are also found in both places. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary has a similarly diverse offering of fauna, though without the biggest of the animals except for hippos.

The Swaziland National Trust Commission Reserves of Mlawula and Malolotja and the privately run Mbuluzi are also generally without major predators and the largest of the mammals, although Mbuluzi has giraffe and Malolotja the magnificent eland and all three have the usual diversity of antelope and smaller mammals.