Ted and Liz Reilly, were the founders of Mlilwane, Swaziland's first proclaimed conservation area. Reilly having witnessed the disappearance of wildlife in the years he was growing up, turned his 450 ha family farm, Mlilwane, into a Sanctuary, where Swaziland's rapidly vanishing wild animals could find refuge and protection. Reilly planted indigenous trees, created wetland habitat and restocked Mlilwane with wildlife.
The Reilly family then donated Mlilwane to a non-profit making Trust in 1969 to perpetuate it for prosperity. Mlilwane has since grown to 10 times it original size, through the support of the Monarchy, international support and true individual dedication.
The Sanctuary now covers 4,500 hectares and comprises of a southern and northern section. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto the striking Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the "Rock of Execution".
Nyonyane Mountain is where ancient San or Bushmen people once lived and where Swazi Royal graves are situated. This gives it great historical significance. Behind these mountains, the stunning Mantenga waterfall and beautiful Usushwana Valley form the divide, before stretching up to northern section, which includes one of the highest surrounding points at Luphohlo. Tourist activities are concentrated in the southern section, with only guided trails entering the pristine mountains of the north.
Mlilwane means Little Fire, being derived from the numerous fires started by lightning strikes on the Mlilwane Hill. Many a colourful tale can be told about the Reilly Family, with special relevance to the early pioneer Mickey Reilly, whose family still manages and lives on the Sanctuary.
The variety of game viewing activities on offer and the intimacy of wildlife interactions can provide hours of pleasure. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary hs an extensive network of self-guided walking trails. Open Landrover drives, horse trails, mountain biking and guided walking trails can also be arranged from the activity centre in the reception area. Prior booing is advised for peak season and to avoid disappointment as activities here are very popular. Advance booking can be placed through our Tours and Activities page. See Mlilwane activities.
The reserve is covered by a network of roads for self-drive game viewing. Most roads are navigable by two-wheel drive, though there are a number of 4x4 tracks for adventurous drivers. Various viewpoints can be reached with good views of the surrounding countryside. The sunset Land Rover drive, a very popular game drive, allows you to enjoy the sunset over the scenic Mlilwane views whilst enjoying a drink or two. Book in advance through our Tours & Activities page.