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Expert Reviews – Hlane Royal NP
Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
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A lowland bushveld park that’s home to the largest herds of game in this tiny kingdom
Covering around 300-sq-km and the largest park in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Hlane features grassland, shallow pans and tracts of hardwood trees. The name means ‘wilderness’ and the ‘Royal’ part is derived from the fact that it’s held in trust by King Mswati III. I found it a very easy park to visit on a self-drive trip – Eswatini is a small country and distances aren’t great – and it’s also on plenty of safari itineraries as the best park for large mammals; especially elephant, white rhino, hippo, giraffe and other plains game, and there’s a reasonably healthy-sized population of lion. Birders will love Hlane – it reputedly has the highest density of nesting white-backed vultures in southern Africa, while raptors include martial, bateleur, and long-crested eagles. I was very surprised to see marabou storks – a curious looking and huge bird I’ve only seen in East Africa before. The park is not especially wild, and unfortunately is bisected by the MR3 Highway, but I enjoyed the reasonably priced guided game drive organised at Ndlovu Camp immediately inside the main gate and saw plenty of game in just two hours. Walking and mountain bike safaris are other options too.
Average Expert Rating
- Bush Vibe