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Page History: Mlawula Nature Reserve

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Page Revision: 2008/10/03 11:19

This 18000-hectare Lowveld reserve in north-eastern Swaziland boasts a bird list of over 350 species including a number of "specials" difficult to see elsewhere in the country. A stay of one to three days is recommended.


African Finfoot, Senegal Lapwing, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Black Coucal, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub-Robin and a number of species restricted to the East Coast Littoral such as African Broadbill, Grey Sunbird and Pink-throated Twinspot.


acacia savanna, moist woodland, riverine forest, grassland and rocky slopes.


include a good road network, self-guided trails, two camping sites and a hide at a "vulture restaurant", where carrion-eaters are attracted to carcasses left by park officials.


1.) Search for African Broadbill in the dry ironwood forest by listening for its distinctive, croaking call.

2.) Crested Guineafowl, Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub-Robin and Pink-throated Twinspot occur in thickets along the Mlawula River, whilst intensive searching of taller riverine forest may produce White-backed Night-Heron and Scaly-throated Honeyguide. Scan the quieter stretches of water for the secretive African Finfoot.

3.) The wide Siphiso Valley hosts Retz's Helmet-Shrike and their brood parasite, Thick-billed Cuckoo. The cuckoos are highly elusive but may be seen flying above the woodland in the early morning.

4.) Grassland areas along the road from Mbuluzi gate to Mbuluzi camping site may produce Black-bellied Bustard, Bushveld Pipit and when burnt Senegal Lapwing. In mid-summer, Black Coucal move into the area and African Crake may be seen on the road, particularly after rain.

5.) The "vulture restaurant" is somewhat erratically stocked with carcasses but has attracted Marabou Stork, Hooded Vulture, Cape Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture and White-headed Vulture, Tawny Eagle and Bateleur.


The entrance to the reserve lies off the Manzini-Lomahasha road, 10km north of Simunye. Just south of this village, the road traverses the Hlane National Park which has self-contained cottage accommodation, though the birding is better within the combined Mlawula\ Mbuluzi Nature Reserves and camping in one of the two campsites is recommended. Reservations: Tel. 3-8239.

Jonathan Rossouw 1998.

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