Mbuluzi Game Reserve is a privately owned reserve in the North-East part of the Kingdom of Swaziland. It forms part of the Lubombo Conservancy. The Reserve is bound by the beautiful Mbuluzi River and the Lubombo Mountain range in the east and boasts a remarkable diversity of habitat. Two rivers flow through the reserve, which together with the bushveld plains and mountainous ridges make Mbuluzi a really beautiful place.

White Rhino at Mbuluzi Game Reserve

White Rhino at Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Wild Life

There are many mammal species to be seen at Mbuluzi, including Kudu, Nyala, Giraffe, Impala, Bushbuck, Warthog, Waterbuck, Zebra, Hippo, Crocodile, Wildebeest, Bush Pig, Duiker, Jackal, and Crocodile.

Birdlife

Over 300 species of birds have been spotted in Mbuluzi Game Reserve including some rare and uncommon species such as the White-backed Night Heron, African Finfoot, Narina Trogon, Yellow Wagtail, Grey-hooded Kingfisher, Pels Fishing Owl, and Dwarf Bittern and Crested Guineafowl.

Game Safari Activities in Mbuluzi

  • Walking & Mountain biking: There is a well laid out network of trails and guests can walk or bike from their lodge, or drive and start a trail from some other point of interest. The trails inter-link and can be traveled individually or connected to make a longer outing. The beauty of Mbuluzi with its diverse habitat can be enjoyed to the full while on a trail. The rewards are many as one walks along river banks, across rivers, through open savannah into cool wooded areas and up rocky ridges.
  • Game Viewing: Daytime game drives enable viewing of several wildlife including Giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra, impala, bushbuck, Nyala, duiker, warthog, jackal, hyena and crocodile, with occasional visits by Hippo.
  • Fishing: Visitors can try out fishing overnight in the two perennial rivers of Mbuluzi and the Mlawula River. Although there is a limit of only two fish caught per guest on a single day.
Guests Hiking at Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Guests Hiking at Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Where to Stay

There are three accommodation lodges and one camp in the reserve and they offer 21 beds between them.

Singwe Lodge

Singwe Lodge has four double rooms with en-suite bathrooms and showers. Two of the rooms have a beautiful outdoor shower just off the bathroom and they also have their own wooden deck, leading off the bedroom that overlooks the Mlawula River. The best treasure about Singwe lodge is it offers guests a true jungle ambiance and creates a satisfying natural view of the reserve. On several occasions, guests are seen relaxing outside the main lodge area.

Singwe Lodge

Singwe Lodge

Mphangele Lodge

Mphangele Lodge boasts two double deluxe rooms offering a comfortable place to stay. It is a much smaller lodge but with a more serene environment. Guests who fancy nature, Mphangele Lodge is the true symbol of elegance with the blend of comfort and luxury for the most tranquil stay for the guests. Facilities include en-suite bathrooms and a single room. It also has an extensive veranda which leads off the living area and a path takes one down to a lovely wooden deck that overlooks the Mlawula River. Bird watching is one of the most common activities at Mphangele Lodge

Mphangele Lodge

Mphangele Lodge

Nkankanka Lodge

Nkankanka Lodge is nestled on the banks of Mlawula River. It is the ideal venue for a family safari involving a big number residing in one place. The Lodge is stylishly designed with four double rooms each with a panoramic view of the bush. Nkankanka lodge provides the accommodation with well equipped with eco-friendly features and comfort with the most precious being the sliding doors. Facilities include en-suite bathrooms and showers.

Nkankanka Lodge

Nkankanka Lodge

Ndlovu Camp

Ndlovu Camp is a spacious and rustic camp located north of Mbuluzi Game Reserve adjacent the Mbuluzi River. The main house has a bathroom, and wood fire heated showers. The Camp offers a complete camping experience and gives priority the guests’ preferences. It has three campsites enclosed by bamboo fences and each has a picnic table, braai area, campfire pit and flowing water tap. Ndlovu Camp welcomes its guests with no electricity, but campfires are available at the campsite and camping fees to include a roll of toilet paper and a paraffin lamp. Activities include where you can fish or check out the small rapids.

Ndlovu Camp

Ndlovu Camp

How to Get There

Tourists can get to Mbuluzi Game Reserve from several corners depending on where they are coming from. The main entrance is situated a few meters off the Manzini – Lomahasha Road. The following are the access routes;

From Johannesburg through Nelspruit

This is about 550km. Drive East towards Malelane / Komatipoort for 13km and a further towards Jeppes Reef. At 15km go past Komati River continue for 500m after the Tonga Police post on the road to Mangweni and Mananga Border post. You will go through Mhlume village after which you turn right to cross across Mbuluzi River.

From Durban, South Africa

From Durban, drive for approximately 500km before reaching.

Johannesburg – Mbabane

Visitors from Johannesburg can opt to use the Johannesburg – Mbabane which also stretches for about 500km.

Maputo – Lomahasha

A traveler from Mozambique, the best alternative is the Maputo – Lomahasha (Namaacha) route which is about 96km.

Swaziland is home to 507 species of gorgeous birds. The reason for this richness of bird varieties in Swaziland is the climate, the diversity of vegetation as well as its wide altitudinal range, across a geological fault which runs from the Drakensberg Mountains of Lesotho, north through the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. Chirping and tweeting sounds are the noises that a bird watcher loves to hear because of its sweetness and the shrill sound makes the heart sing with happiness. Bird watching in Swaziland is like an obsession for most visiting nature enthusiasts and its one of the most gaining and interesting activities for Swaziland holidays.

Purple Crested Turaco

Purple Crested Turaco of Swaziland

Birds of Swaziland

Bird watching in Swaziland is the best way to get close to some of Southern Africa’s magnificent avifauna. Common bird sightings include Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great White Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican, Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, African Darter, Egyptian Goose, African Black Duck, Little Egret, Dwarf Bittern, Purple Heron, Black-headed Heron, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, African Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Marabou Stork, Long-tailed Cormorant, Saddle-billed Stork, the Greater & Lesser Flamingos, Cape Shoveler, White-faced Whistling-Duck, African Cuckoo-Hawk, White-headed Vulture, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Crowned Hawk-Eagle and many other species.

African Spoonbill

African Spoonbill

Swaziland Bird Watching Hotspots

Hlane Royal National Park

Hlane Royal National Park is the largest park in Swaziland and a bird watcher’s paradise. It lies about 67km northeast of Manzini. Hlane Royal, with its rich bio-geographic diversity, it is considered one of the true bird parks of the world. Raptors are of infinite variety and include martial eagles, bateleurs, and Long-crested Eagles. Several species of vultures spotted in the park include white-backed, white-headed, lappet-faced as well as rare Cape vulture.

Hawane Nature Reserve

Hawane Nature Reserve, Swaziland

Hawane Nature Reserve, Swaziland

Hawane Nature Reserve is a pure natural reserve for the rare avian population in Swaziland. The reserve’s main attraction is its wealth of birdlife. Several rare species of avifauna have been reported from this relatively small Park particularly attracted by Mbuluzi River and the dam. You will find birds like endangered Egyptian Goose, Lanner Falcon, Pied Kingfisher and White-Faced Whistling Duck. For the enthusiastic twitchier, several trails are provided for bird watching in Swaziland.

Malolotja Nature Reserve

Malolotja Nature Reserve is possibly Swaziland’s most striking reserve. It is situated on the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment in the north-west. Malolotja Reserve is laden with more than rare 280 avian species. You will find many varieties including the occasional Blue Swallow and Bald Ibis, Blue Crane and Stanley’s Bustard. A flourishing bald ibis colony is found above the Malolotja Falls. Other birds to watch are Red-breasted Sparrow-Hawk, Quailfinch, Striped Flufftail, Black-winged Plover, Knysna Lourie, Narina Trogon, Ground Woodpecker, Plain-backed Pipit, Buff-streaked Chat, Chorister Robin, Broad-tailed Warbler and Gurney’s Sugarbird, Blue Swallow and many other interesting species. The best way to see birds here is to take a bike ride.

Knysna Lourie

Knysna Lourie

Mantenga Nature Reserve

Mantenga Nature Reserve is situated close to Mbabane in the picturesque Ezulwini Valley between the soaring peaks of Execution Rock and Sheba’s Breasts. This 725-hectare nature reserve was proclaimed in 1991 and is home to a variety of predominantly middleveld species. Mantenga is a happy breeding ground for many migratory birds including the Little Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, Black-headed Heron, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Black-shouldered Kite, Martial Eagle, Great Egret, Hamerkop, African Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, White-faced Duck, African Fish-Eagle, Shelley’s Francolin, African Jacana, Black-winged Lapwing, Secretary bird, African Quailfinch, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Red-backed Mannikin, etc.

Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Superb Scenery, diverse birdlife, and close encounters are what can describe Mbuluzi Game Reserve bird tours. Mbuluzi Game Reserve is bound by the majestic Mbuluzi River and the Lubombo mountain range in the east and boasts a remarkable bird habitat with over 300 species. The bird varieties include the White-backed Night Heron, Narina Trogon, Yellow Wagtail, Greyhooded Kingfisher, Pels Fishing Owl, African Finfoot, Dwarf Bittern and Crested Guineafowl.

Narina Trogon

Narina Trogon

Mkhaya Game Reserve

Mkhaya Game Reserve is situated in lowveld wilderness in the southeast of Swaziland. Birds of note in this unspoiled wilderness area include the Narina Trogon, Purple-crested Turaco, and pink-throated twinspots, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike and Pygmy Kingfisher. Large flocks of crested guinea fowl are common sightings.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

This is Swaziland’s wildlife pioneer conservation area and most visited reserve. It is located in the Ezulwini valley in between Mbabane and Manzini and delights in abundant bird life that graces the plains. The Sanctuary covers 4,560 hectares reserve hosts a variety of birdlife including the Black Crowned, Fish Eagle as well as the Purple Crested Lourie. Fantastic birding walks are offered where Swaziland’s National Bird; the Purple-Crested Turaco are often spotted.

Mlawula Nature Reserve

Fish Eagle

Fish Eagle in Swaziland

Ideally situated in the north-eastern part of Swaziland, Mlawula Nature Reserve is another excellent birding spot. It is a favorite stopover on bird watching holidays in Swaziland; it is home to a recorded 350 varieties including the Marital Eagle and Bateleur, 5 Vulture Species and a Number of Rarities namely the Narina Trogan, Pinkthroughted Twinspot, African Broadbill, African Finfoot, Yellow Spotted Nicator and Grey Sunbird.

Best Season for Bird Watching in Swaziland

The period October to February and March offers the best season for bird watching in Swaziland as well as Southern Africa in general.

All in all, whether you are an ardent birder or a twitchier, Swaziland is the place for bird watching in Swaziland holidays. So be equipped with telescopes, binoculars, and cameras and proceed towards Swaziland.