My two-day sojourn in Swaziland was made all the better by staying at one of Swaziland’s magnificent big game parks, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. At over 4,500 hectares in size, the park is small enough to enjoy the walking trails and animals, but large enough that you’re not tripping over other travelers everywhere.
I stayed in one of the traditional-style ‘beehive huts,” enclosed in their own village environment.
The huts were cozy and close to the restaurant, the pool, even laundry facilities. Plus, the neighbours were nice. Like this impala:
The warthogs weren’t quite as nice.
In fact, some of them were downright mean. Like this adult who would graze for a little while, then start chasing two younger ones.
At one point, the whole lot of them got a little too close to a group of kids who were trying to have lunch. The children were sent running in the opposite direction. This was quite the sight, concerned adults sending the kids running one-by-one, while the kids laughed their heads off.
Baby zebra alert
Mlilwane is full of options for passing the time, with lots of walking trails and activities, like bike hire, organized walking tours and even a game drive on horseback. To see animals, however, you don’t have to go much further than the pool area. Every time I went by it, there was a new collection of animals grazing. Much to my delight, one of those times included a baby zebra.
I know, too cute, right? I watched the herd for at least 30 minutes and the little foal stuck to her mother like glue.
Exploring the Bird Trail
I spent a lot of time exploring the grounds, just taking in the solitude of the sanctuary. One afternoon, with a thunderstorm off in the distance, I walked around on the “bird trail,” where I got to inspect the handiwork of yellow weavers (birds who literally weave their nests).
The jacaranda trees were in full bloom, it’s hard to miss a shock of purple among all of the green.
I also stumbled on another herd of zebras. I certainly didn’t expect to get this close and they seemed equally surprised to see me.
Finally, when you get in warning in Africa, you heed it.
Just past the restaurant, the interpretative centre, contains a dramatic collection of animal skeletons, I could have spent ages in there, but adventure was calling!
I didn’t know what to expect in Swaziland, so just about everything at Mlilwane was a treat. So much so, I’d love to find my way back there again some day. Now, if we could just make sure it doesn’t rain next time!