The Hlane Park which was at first opened up as a private Royal game reserve in 1961 was constructed under the supervision of the king Sobhuza II. The word Hlane can loosely be translated as wilderness in the Eswatini and with all the wild animals that habitate within the Park, it is good to say that it has lived up to its name. It is the largest National Park in the country and found in the Lowveld that is the Eastern part of Eswatini. You can either self-drive yourself through the Park or hire a tour guide to take you around but either way, you will get to enjoy all that the Park has to offer to all tourists who take their safari there.
The Hlane Royal National has two sectors and this was done so that the dangerous animals were separated from the simple ones in order to conserve them. The safe sector that has the less dangerous animals can easily be explored even without a tour guide but the only way you will be able to access the dangerous zone is if you have an experienced tour guide so that you avoid unnecessary accidents. You will need to pay a fee before you are allowed to gain access to the National park. The adults get to pay four dollars while the children pay roughly two dollars and all this applies whether you are self-driving or with a tour guide.
It is very easy and safe to drive around the Park as the roads within have been worked on and the walk paths also direction arrows showing you where you to go in case you need take a nature walk around the National park. You will however need a 4×4 wheel car especially during the rainy season because the roads sometimes become inaccessible.
The Hlane Royal National Park opens at 6:00am till 6:00pm every day, they cater for people with disabilities that is they have services in their camps and the whole park that allow for the easy access of a wheel chair and it is the perfect destination for a family safari in Eswatini.
What you should bring on your tour to the Hlane Park
The National Park is generally a flat landscape which means you can easily walk or drive around it. Some of the things that I recommend you bring on this tour include:
- Anti-malaria drugs
- Good hiking boots, clothes and for those that love camping, brig some warm clothes as well.
- If you are self-driving, you will need to carry a valid driving license which is recognized internationally.
- Carry your own food and drinks because it will be hard for you to get shops around the National Park.
- Do not forget your passport and other travel documents.
Highlights of the Hlane Royal National Park
Just like any other National Park, there are those little things that will keep you entertained and these are the various activities that you can carry out while there. Some of the top highlights in the Hlane Royal National Park.
Wildlife viewing in Hlane Royal Park
The Park is largely known for her large number of Rhinos although these are not the only animals that you can get to see when you decide to take a safari and some of the most common sightings will be of Impalas, Lions, Giraffes, hyenas which normally come out at night, leopards although these are rare, warthogs, elephants, the blue wildebeest, the roan antelopes and many more other wild animals. The lions were just reintroduced into the park after they became extinct due to the constant hunting by the locals and that is why most tourists who visit the Park are encouraged to go and have a look at the lions first before heading out to explore the rest of the Park. Game drives through Hlane are mostly done during the dry season and this is because during this time, you will be able to see the different animals due to the scarce vegetation.
Birding in the Hlane Royal National Park
The Hlane Royal National Park has over 250 bird species and these are best seen between the months of November to April during the rainy season. This is the perfect place the five different species of vulture, waterfowls, eagles, the blue mantled crested flycatcher, the African broadbill, the bush blackcap, the brown backed honeybird, the red Bateleur, the buff streaked flufftail, the burnt necked Eremomela, the African finfoot, the crowned eagle, the green twin spot, the yellow-billed oxpecker and the white eared barbet among others.
A rhino drive around the Park
This is not the same as a game drive through the Hlane because this one is only for the Rhino section. The Hlane Royal National Park has the largest number of black rhinos both within Swaziland and southern Africa and it is the only place in the country where you will be able to view them. the drive normally begins at 3:00pm and the beauty about going for this is that you are allowed to get off the van or jeep and get a close look at the rhinos but only if you are with a tour guide. note that the white rhinos are a little bit dormant as compared to the black rhinos but this should not stop you from enjoying the beautiful view and do not leave that camera behind.
A botanical tour around the Park
The National Park is filled with indigenous flora scattered all over which you can check out Like the Knob thorn tree, acacia trees and so many more others. This can be done all throughout the year although the best time to go for a botany tour is during the rainy season when the vegetation is green and sprouting. You will need a tour guide to take you around so that you get to know the different names of the tree species and their medicinal values.
General information about the Hlane National Park
- The best time to visit the Hlane royal national Park is between June and September because it will be easy for you to spot the animals.
- Only two people are allowed to participate in cycling per session and this is done with the guidance of a tour guide.
- The king normally visits the Park and he spends most of his time in the camp.
- This is the only place I the entire country where you will find the black Rhino.
- All the entrance fees that are collected are given to the conservation trust.
Where to stay in the Hlane Royal Park
This is one of the highlights that you should look forward to as you plan for your safari to the National Park. The National Park has two campsites that is the Bhubesi camp and the Ndlovu camp and while here you will be able to enjoy some of the best local dishes prepared by the chefs in the camp, enjoy a campfire while enjoying the wild, take morning nature walks and other entertaining activities that are offered at the two camps.
- The Bhubesi camp, this is found in what the tour guides refer to as the third section of the National Park and some of the sights that will keep you on your toes if you choose the spend your night at the Bhubesi are zebras, hyenas although these are rare, warthogs, wildebeests and a few bird species most especially the stork.
- The Ndlovu camp, this is located just a few meters away from the main entrance of the National park. They have comfortable cottages which are surrounded by a lucrative garden where you can rest as you enjoy the good view of the animals and birds that gather around the waterhole near the camp especially during the dry season.