Return to SA Birding Main Site
Hlane Royal National Park, together with incorporated Simunye Game Reserve, and neighbouring Mlawula and Mbuluzi Game Reserves, collectively form the largest protected area in Swaziland and offer an extensive 50 000 ha tract of bushveld. This huge area supports the highest density and diversity of raptors in Swaziland. Expect to see around 100 species in a day during spring and early summer.

Edit

Specials

White-backed Night-Heron, Marabou Stork, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, Bateleur, White-headed Vulture, Crested Guineafowl, African Finfoot, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Bennett's Woodpecker, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Pink-throated Twinspot.

Edit

Habitats

Hlane comprises predominantly of Acacia nigrescens woodland, with extensive riverine vegetation along several rivers and streams.

Edit

Facilities

There is an extensive network of gravel roads within Hlane, and visitors wishing to walk require the services of guides.

Ndlovu Camp is a small, tranquil camp is situated adjacent, to a waterhole which is regularly visited by elephant and white rhino. Both hutted accommodation and campsites (with good ablution facilities) are available. A small shop sells basic supplies and curios. A reasonably priced restaurant is the latest feature of this camp.

Bhubesi Camp is situated on the elevated banks of the Mbuluzane River, and offers fabulous sunsets.

Mahlindza Waterhole has a viewing area where visitors may alight from their vehicles and watch game coming to drink.

Edit

Birding

1. Situated near the main entrance, the Ndlovu camp is readily accessible to all travelers. Ndlovu camp is usually a hive of bird activity. Burchell's Starling, Red-headed Weaver, Brubru, Bennett's Woodpecker, Crested Barbet, and Green-winged Pytilia are regular features here. Brown-headed Parrot is regularly encountered (listen out for its high-pitched call). In summer, look out for Grey-headed Kingfisher which occasionally is recorded here. A pair of African Scops-Owl roosts here. Ask the game rangers for directions.

2. Game drives through the lion and elephant enclosures, as well as surrounding areas reveal a variety of bushveld species including White-headed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture and Cape Vulture (the first three species breed in the park), and a wide range of eagles including the threatened Bateleur. Other species likely to be seen are Brown-crowned Tchagra, Common Scimitarbill, Black-bellied Bustard, Crested Guineafowl, Green-winged Pytilia, White-bellied Sunbird, Red-billed Oxpecker, Pale Flycatcher and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. Marabou Stork breeds just north of the elephant enclosure (the only known locality south of the Limpopo where regular breeding takes place).

3. Mahlindza Waterhole and Hunter's Rock (marked on the map) support small numbers of waterbirds such as Water Thick-knee and Grey Heron.

4. The Earth Dam (in the old Simunye Nature Reserve) is a haven for waterbirds. A pair of African Fish-Eagle breeds here. Black Crake and African Crake, African Jacana and Purple Heron are easily seen here. Look out for African Finfoot from the Sundwvini Picnic site (go to the eastern end of the picnic site and look downstream onto the banks of the dam). A pair of White-backed Night-Heron roosts in thick bush at this picnic spot. Listen out for the call of Red-chested Flufftail from the dam wall.

Edit

General

The weather here is hot and humid in summer but cooler in winter. This is also a malaria area and the necessary precautions should be taken.

Reservations can be made through Central Reservations at (+268) 5283944 and fax: 5283924. The main (Ngongoni) gate is situated 10 km from Simunye on the Lomahasha-Manzini road. An entry fee is payable for day visitors. The gates open at 06h00 and close at 18h00, but these times are not strictly enforced and late-comers are usually welcome. The main gate can be reached from Mbabane in about 1.5 hours. Maps are available from the main gate. Bhubesi camp can be reached both by traveling on the internal road network and by driving around the outside of the park. The latter is recommended when time is limiting. To reach the Lusoti area (old Simunye Nature Reserve) ask for directions at the main entrance gate.

Ara Monadjem - 2007



Copyright © 2008 SA Birding cc