Safaris to Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland – Wildlife game drives and walking safaris
Safaris to Hlane royal national park – Hlane is situated in the North-east, approximately one hour’s drive from Manzini. It is the largest protected area in Swaziland and borders with the Mlawula Nature Reserve and Mbuluzi Game Reserve. The park has an extensive network of roads, linking camps, waterholes and other features. For the most part the roads are passable by 2 wheel drive vehicle except after heavy rains, when 4×4 wheel drive is advisable
the flat terrain of the Hlane and its hardwood vegetation and shallow pans attracts great herds of animals during the dry winter months. White rhinos can be seen here as well many antelope species. Lion and elephants have been reintroduced to the park but they are kept in an enclosure. Bird life is prolific with species including southerly nesting colony of Marabou Stork. White backed Vulture, White headed Vulture, Lappet faced Vulture and the occasional Cape Vulture, Red billed Buffalo Weaver, Three streaked Tchagra, Scimitar billed Wood hoopoe, Long tailed Shrike, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, and Long crested Eagle are just a few of the types of bird found here
Safaris to Hlane National Park and activities
Walking Safaris in Hlane
Hlane offers guided walks which are all guided and conducted outside the endangered species area. This type of safari will take you along roads, game paths and through the bush. You will spend 2 hours walking quietly through the bush, with heightened senses. The slow pace allows you to discover some incredible scenes, making the experience truly memorable. There are Game Walks or Bird Walks available and the chosen type will dictate the area of the park you will visit.
Village & Homestead Visits
The Homestead is the basic building block of Swazi society. Traditionally this comprises a number of huts, each built for a particular purpose – sleeping, food storage, brewing, etc. At the centre of a homestead is a circular enclosure, the sibaya, fenced with solid logs and branches, where the cattle are housed each night. This has symbolic importance as a store of wealth and prestige. Opposite it is the great hut, indlukulu, occupied by the mother of the headman and used as the family shrine. The huts in such homesteads would once have been ‘beehive’ huts. Today most rural homesteads are a mixture of traditional huts and more modern, brick-built dwellings. Either way, you can visit and enter homesteads when exploring rural Eswatini, and will receive a warm welcome, providing you show suitable respect and follow correct protocol. Most lodges and hotels can arrange a visit to a local homestead for their guests. There are a few places where communities are more accustomed to such visits, and where visitors will therefore be given a more comprehensive tour and explanation of traditions and daily life in rural Eswatini. These are still very much genuine, real homesteads, not tourist creations. Shewula Mountain Camp, Myxo’s Waza Nowe Cultural Tours, and Umphakatsi Cultural Experience are probably the best places to get a genuine and comprehensive local homestead visit. Alternatively, the Mantenga Cultural Village is a re-created homestead from around 1850 that is easy to visit to learn quickly about daily life.
Game Drives in Hlane
Safaris to Hlane Royal National Park is run by Big Game Parks, and all activities including safaris is bookable at the Activities Centre in Ndlo,u Camp or by contacting Big Game Parks Central Reservations. Safaris will begin from the activities centre. All of Big Game Parks guides are trained in-house and have extensive knowledge of the park and animals, and enjoy sharing their knowledge with and learning from our guests. Hlane has different segments with specific animals in each. This is to protect both the safety of the wildlife and tourists. Only selected guided game drives are able to visit the Lion Area for safety reasons.
The traditional leisurely African Safari or Game Drive has they are also known, will see you winding along bush roads in Land Cruisers and Land Rovers with canvas roofs. This open-aired method allows you to see more wildlife around the park.
The following game drives are available in Hlane:
- Sunrise Game Drive (2,5hr) – This tour will capture the best of the early morning sun as the wildlife begin to start their day. This tour is especially suited to photography with the morning light offering beautiful shots. Tea/coffee and a snack are included on this tour. Please note this activity is not available to guests staying at Bhubesi Camp, unless a group (min 6 people) activity and departure from Bhubesi is pre-arranged.
- Sunset Game Drive (2,5hr) – A great way to end the day is watching the sunset across the park in a beautiful spot. You will see the animals in their natural habitats, with nocturnal animals beginning to rise. A drink is included on this tour. Please note this activity is not available to guests staying at Bhubesi Camp, unless a group (min 6 people) activity and departure form Bhubesi is pre-arranged.
- Midday Game Drive (2,5hr) – This is an alternative for day tours and will see you a variety of wildlife. The midday game drives all include the Lion Area and have a minimum age of 6 years.
- Rhino Drive (1.5hr) – The ever popular Rhino Drive is a shorter 1,5 hour drive and excludes the Lion Area. This drive will focus solely on trying to find Whito Rhino, with the potential opportunity of being within a few metres of the rhino. Please note, not all rhino are approachable and guides are well trained in understanding the behaviour on the rhinos and have discretion. Due to the nature of this activity, minimum age is 13 years.
- Self Drive – Hlane offers numerous roads for self-drive, suitable for normal sedans in dry conditions. All guests must be in camps or have departed the Park by sunset (18h00).