Overview – Malolotja NR

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Swaziland section of their 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Swaziland section of their 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan has authored the Swaziland section of Lonely Planet's 'South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland' guide.

Alan researched and wrote about Swaziland for Lonely Planet.

Malolotja is a prime hiking destination for wilderness enthusiasts. There isn’t a lot of wildlife in the reserve, but you are likely to see zebra, wildebeest and different antelope species. The reserve is home to several special birds of interest in Swaziland (Eswatini), and the unique mountain flora is also worth noting. There are trails of different lengths, including overnight tracks for the truly adventurous. The Malolotja Canopy Tour will give you an adrenaline rush as you zip line between platforms in the canopy.

Best Time to Go May to September (Dry season)
High Season Dec to Jan (It never gets very busy)
Size 180km² / 70mi²
Altitude 640-1,829m / 2,100-6,000ft

Pros & Cons

  • Off-the-beaten-track destination
  • Excellent hiking
  • Many camping spots in the mountains
  • Unspoiled wilderness
  • Activities include walking, mountain biking and the canopy tour
  • Not much wildlife
  • Only basic log-cabin accommodation inside the park

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Wildlife

Malolotja is not primarily a wildlife viewing destination, but this tract of pristine wilderness is home to a good variety of species. Zebra and blue wildebeest are often seen grazing together. More interesting is the black wildebeest, a rare highland special. Blesbok are quite common but the largest of all antelopes, the eland, is harder to spot. Klipspringers can be found on rocky outcrops. Other small antelope species include oribi, red duiker, common duiker and the rare grey rhebok. Leopard is present but the chance of seeing one is very small.

Scenery

The rugged terrain of Malolotja includes rolling grasslands, deep ravines and patches of woodland. Three rivers, fringed with riverine forest, run through the reserve. Ngwenya Mountain, Swaziland's second highest mountain, stands out. Another landmark is Malolotja Falls, the highest waterfall in the country with a drop of 89m/292ft.

Weather & Climate

Malolotja’s weather and climate is generally comparable to that of Swaziland. See:

Best Time to Visit

Malolotja can be visited throughout the year. The dry winter months from May to September are ideal, but the nights can be bitterly cold. The wet summer months are more pleasant, but peak temperatures can be high for hiking and rain can interfere as well. Mist is common throughout the year, but particularly from October to March. April and September are lovely months because the nights are less cold, but it doesn’t rain a lot. The scenery is more appealing in the wet summer months from October to April.

Getting There

Malolotja can usually be accessed in any vehicle, although some of the roads in the reserve are 4x4 only. Malolotja is located about 30km/20mi from Mbabane, and the drive takes about 40 minutes.

Health & Safety

Please read our malaria and vaccinations page for Swaziland, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Malolotja NR?

Malolotja NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
     –  0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

Pristine wilderness in the Swazi highlands
3/5

Malolotja is a beautiful hiking destination. On my visit, I wasn’t equipped for an overnight trail, but that is the way to really appreciate this pristine area. I went on a day hike and enjoyed looking at little grassland flowers –...

Full Review