eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) - Mlilwane Explorer

Experience Level
  • Open May-Jul, Sep
  • Set arrivals
  • to nights / 6 days of riding | 4 to 6 hours riding per day | Nearest airport:Johannesburg
  • Weight limit: 13st 5lbs (85 kg) (187 pounds)
  • Usual maximum: 8

Riding in eSwatiniThe Kingdom of Swaziland is known for its rich culture, warm people and varied scenery. Based from the historical Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, the riding route takes you through plains, up into the scenic western mountains and passing through rural Swazi communities. During ascent, the rides may be slow, but there will be opportunities for faster riding each day.

After the riding trail from Mlilwane you head first to Hlane, where there is the opportunity to see lion and elephant from the safety of a safari vehicle, and then on to the lowveld of Mkhaya Game Reserve, home to both black and white rhino.

The reserves you visit have completely different habitats; Mlilwane is mountains and grassland whilst Mkhaya is typical lowveld thorn veld, so an amazing combination.

Due to the steep terrain much of the riding will be slow, but there are also plenty of opportunities for good canters. There are some steep ascents and descents and on which you may have to dismount and walk. You should be fit enough for up to six hours in the saddle and able to sit encounters with local livestock and dogs.

Saddle

The horses are mainly Warmblood crosses with Boerperd and Arab, but also include Friesian, Clydesdale and Percheron crossbreeds. They range in height from 14.2hh to 16hh.

The saddles are Leon Liversage Enduro saddles, which are very comfortable for the long hours on the trail. All horses are ridden in snaffle bridles. The riding style is English.

There is a rider weight limit of 80 kgs (12st 7lb).

Hard hats are mandatory.

 

 

For the first two nights you stay at the main Mlilwane Rest Camp, where the rooms are styled on traditional beehive Swazi huts with the added benefit of en-suite bathrooms. During the trail ride accommodation is in simple bush camps (three nights) and one night at a comfortable country hotel. The camping is in two man dome tents with bedrolls provided. There are warm water bush showers and eco-friendly long-drop toilets.

The efficient support crew prepare meals around the camp fire and transport your luggage between the overnight stops. Guests are welcome to help with camp chores and with looking after the horses.

After the riding you stay at Ndlovu Camp in Hlane (one night) and at Stone Camp in Mkhaya (two nights). Accommodation at both is very comfortable with en suite flush loos and showers. Please note there is no electricity at either Ndlovu Camp or at Stone Camp.

Accommodation Gallery

( GBP | EUR | USD )

Upcoming Dates

Additional dates may be possible for groups of 6 or more.


Prices

INCLUDES Accommodation; meals; riding; game drives; park entrance fees and transfers between lodges in Swaziland.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT of $290.49 is charged until we find you a sharer. If you are willing to share a room (and we find you a sharer) but would like a single tent for the three nights camping then the supplement is reduced to $125.25.

PAYABLE LOCALLY Tips

NEAREST AIRPORT Johannesburg

TRANSFERS The transfer from Johannesburg to Mlilwane in Swaziland takes about four hours by road. Most people transfer from Johannesburg by shuttle bus which costs $44.32 each way and is prebooked for you. Your flight should arrive at Johannesburg airport by 8am. Return flights should depart after 8pm. If your flight arrives outside these times additional transfer costs may apply.

In The Saddle Gallery

Location

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Ezulwini Valley of central Swaziland, south of the city of Mbabane.


Weather & Climate

Along the western highlands Swaziland has a temperate climate and in the eastern and southern lowveld areas Swaziland is generally hot. Swaziland lies in a summer rainfall region.

During the autumn months of March to May, the trees change to a beautiful colour and towards the end of May it will get cooler. June to August is winter. Days are pleasantly warm, in the range 17 ºC to 25 ºC, ideal for riding.

Nights can be cold; in the mountains temperatures can drop sharply and frosts are not uncommon. Rain is unlikely in June/July, but possible in September.

September to November is spring. It’s a lovely time of year as the rains bring the first green grass and blossom on the trees.

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Guest Review

The horses were in excellent condition and it was very evident that the welfare of the horses was paramount. The whole holiday far exceeded my expectations. I was perfectly teamed up with a horse that ensured I had the most wonderful 6 days of trail riding. Millpond was a perfect gentleman. All the information I required had been provided by email and in my holiday pack. Magical. A gem of a holiday, I will be returning.

Michelle ,Cheshire

5 star rating Overall rating: 5/5

Ride Report

Olwen Law
Olwen Law

Mlilwane Explorer Riding Specialist

Chris says

Swaziland has an amazing range of terrain and wildlife for such a small country. This is an ideal trip for anyone interested in an authentic safari with wilderness camping.

My Top Tip

Temperatures will drop in the evening and throughout the day as you ride higher so wear clothing that can be added as layers.

Email: chris@inthesaddle.com

Chris Day
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