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Mbuluzi Game reserve is a privately owned reserve which is located in the Northern part of Eswatini. Found next to the Mlawula and crossed by two main Rivers that is the Mlawula and Mbuluzi river, the reserve is a unique place to visit as unlike other reserves in the country this one is not a home to the big five (lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos and elephants). The other thing that makes the Mbuluzi game reserve a unique place to visit is that tourists have a chance to take themselves around without the help of a tour guide. When you visit the reserve, the activities that you can engage in include hiking, game drives, birding, fishing along the Mbuluzi River and many more other activities. The accommodation facilities that are found in the reserve have some of the best views around the reserve.

Activities carried out in Mbuluzi

Mbuluzi is a paradise in its own stance and since there are no big fives here, tourists can easily walk around as they participate in the different activities around the reserve and below are some of the most participated in activities around Mbuluzi.

Fishing in Mbuluzi

The Mbuluzi game reserve is crossed by the Mbuluzi and Mlawula Rivers from where most of the fishing is done. Both Rivers have a high number of fish species and although fishing is accepted in the reserve both at the lodges and for visitors that camp within, no fishing gear is provided which means that you will have to coma with your own equipment. There are two types of fishing that are carried out in Mbuluzi and these are fly fishing and bait fishing.  When it comes to bait fishing, you will have to use worms in order to fish while in Fly fishing, dry flies are used to get the attention of the fish. When you go fishing note that catch and release of the fish is highly recommended so that the fish species are not depleted from the Rivers. Some of the fish species that you will be able to get from both fly fishing and bait fishing include:

  • Catfish also known as Barbel fish
  • Largescale yellowfish
  • The Natal yellow fish
  • Threespot Barb
  • The Mozambique Tilapia
  • Silver robber
  • The River Goby
  • Red breasted Tilapia
  • Silver catfish

The above are some of the fish species that you will find in both the Mbuluzi and the Mlawula Rivers and as you fish, you should look out for the crocodiles that hide around.

Birding in Mbuluzi

The Mbuluzi game reserve has over 300 bird species that have been recorded. As you walk around the reserve you will find many hides from which you can easily get to see the different birds in their hides and some of the commonest birds in the reserve are:

  • The thick billed cuckoo
  • The dwarf bittern
  • The Grey headed kingfisher
  • The Narina Trogon
  • The African finfoot.

The wildlife in Mbuluzi Game Reserve

Mbuluzi Game Resreve might not be the best place to go for a game drive but this does not mean that you will not get to enjoy the animals that you will find there. Most of these animals can easily be viewed by either driving or taking a through the reserve. Best seen during the dry season, some of the animals that we see in the Mbuluzi game reserve include:

  • Zebras
  • Vervet monkeys
  • Bushbucks
  • Warthogs
  • Kudu
  • Giraffes
  • Baboons
  • Nyala
  • Blue wildebeest
  • Waterbucks
  • Hippos although occasionally
  • The grey duiker
  • Cape clawless otter

The game reserve does not have any big game around it making it easy for tourists to move around as thy watch the animals without the fear of being attacked by a lion or any other dangerous animals.

Hiking in Mbuluzi reserve

Mbuluzi has a variety of well mapped hike trails that you can try out and all these trails are inter-linked somehow. Some of the hike routes that are found here are either short or long and it is all up to you to decide which hike routes you want to take. Some of the routes cross the Rivers that are found in the reserve and the only thing you have to worry about are the occasional crocodiles.

Mountain biking in Mbuluzi

Mountain biking is also carried out in Mbuluzi Game reserve and this will take you around the different routes that were gazetted for Mountain biking. Although you will not be able to get to see many of the wildlife while cycling, you will at least get to explore the whole reserve and get to some of the places where you cannot reach while driving.

When to visit Mbuluzi

Mbuluzi Game Reserve can be visited all throughout the year but the best time depends on the activities that you would want to carry out while here. The best time to go for a game drive is during the dry season which is experienced in the months of June to September. The rainy season comes in from October to May and this is the best time to go view the birds that habitate within the game reserve including the migratory ones that fly into the country during this time.

Since the Mbuluzi Game Reserve is not the best destination for game drives due to its small nature, it is best if you go between the months of October and May when the vegetation is fully grown and the birds are in plenty.

Where to stay in Mbuluzi Game Reserve

The campsite

The campsite in Mbuluzi is located along the Mbuluzi River offering tourists one of the best sights of the water in the River. There is enough space for tourists who want to carry their own tents and for those that would like the already available rooms at the campsite, each room goes for 150 Rand for adults and 75 Rand for the children. The campsite has no electricity although the outside bathrooms have warm water that is got from the wood pyre that is burnt around the camp. The campsite provides tourists with the ultimate jungle feeling and firewood is provided to campers to keep warm and also to be able to prepare some food.

The Mpangele lodge                                            

Each room at the Mpangele lodge for the adults goes for 720 Rand and 320 Rand for the children. The Mpangele lodge was constructed on the banks of the river Mlawula and it is the perfect place for tourists who have travelled with their families. The lodge has one single room and two double single rooms and they are all self-contained and are air conditioned. Getting to the Mpangele lodge you will have to cross a bridge that was built over the Mlawula River and once you get there, you will be able to see some of the animals like kudus, crocodiles from the grass thatched veranda that houses many tourists at the lodge.

The Intisini tented lodge

The Intisini tented lodge formerly known as the Mbuluzi tented lodge is one of the accommodation facilities that you can use while in the game reserve. The tented lodge has rooms that have a king sized bed, en-suite bathrooms and toilet with hot water and it is located at the banks of the Mlawula River. Its strategic location at the river will provide you with a chance to see animals like crocodiles, bushbuck, warthogs and Kudus in the surrounding bush and the River. There is also a swimming pool from where you can relax and a barbeque area that is always lit in the evenings.

How to get to Mbuluzi Game reserve

The Mbuluzi Game reserve is to get to because you can easily drive using a two wheel drive vehicle from Mazini and the journey will roughly take you only one and half hours. Since it is an all year round destination, you can easily get there and you will not be disappointed with whatever you will find within the Mbuluzi Game reserve and if you still have time you can still explore the neighboring Mlawula nature reserve for more wildlife viewing.

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