Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary is situated in the western part of the kingdom of Swaziland between Mbabane and Manzini in the Ezulwini valley.

This is not a "big five" game destination so you won't be able to see lion, rhino, elephant or buffalo here but you will still be able to spot some of the other large game species as well as a good variety of antelope.

At 4560 hectares, this wildlife sanctuary can be covered completely in a morning or afternoon drive so the distances and travel times are small. For example, the distance from the Mlilwane Rest Camp to the sanctuary entrance gate is approximately 2km (1.2 miles).

Ironically, one of the best game viewing areas here is right inside the rest camp itself so if you stay on your veranda with a beverage of your choice you might see a passing parade of birds and wildlife.

I've written a detailed guidebook on how to plan and carry out a safari here successfully. Learn more about the guide your own safari ebook...

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary Map

The magnification and detail on this satellite map is superb. For example, if you zoom in closer (double click with the mouse or use the controls in the left hand corner) to the hippo pool dam situated in the rest camp and follow the gravel road to its left you will actually be able to make out a white car driving towards the dam. Icons are clickable for details...

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When to Go

The best time to visit is when it is cool and dry, between the months of May to September. The rainy season runs from October to May and the hot summer months when temperatures can reach the high thirties (°C) (around 100°F) and make a safari a bit uncomfortable are from November to March.


This sanctuary was the first conservation area in Swaziland which came into being when Ted Reilly, a farmer in the Ezulwini valley became extremely concerned about the fact that Swaziland's natural heritage was fast disappearing due to excessive hunting, trapping, poisons, insecticides and habitat destruction.

By the 1960's, much of Swaziland's wildlife which was formally rich and varied was on the verge of extinction. Ted Reilly resolved to do something about this and converted his own 460 ha farm into a wildlife sanctuary and through sheer hard work and persistence created the pioneering area which was gazetted as a game sanctuary on the 7th January 1966.

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