Africa Tour Operators

The Mkhaya Game Reserve, Eswatini

Have you ever heard about having an intimate safari with the wildlife in Africa or better yet experienced it? Well if you have not then the Mkhaya Game reserve should be your next destination if you ever want to get that kind of experience. The Mkhaya reserve is a well catered for with staff from all over the county and in the neighboring countries and the way it finces itself at the moment is through the money that is collected by the from the tourists who visit the game reserve.

The Mkhaya Game reserve was a first a conserved area where the indigenous cattle of the Eswatini known as the Nguni cattle were kept. Thousands of cattle were kept here but due to the continous poaching in the country, many volunteers cameout with numerous contributions to make it a game reserve where the almost exinct animals in the country would be kept and right now Mkhaya is a home to various endagered animal species in Eswatini.  A few of the volunteers that have seen to it that the Mkhaya game reserve exists include the San diego Zoo, the netherlands Rhino foundation, the Rhino Rescue Trust of Great Britain and the european Union among others.

The Mkhaya Game reserve was named after the Senegalia Acacia tree and the word Mkhaya means “home”. Unlike other Game reserves and Aprks in Eswatini, the Mkhaya has seen a steady progress and become a top destination for tourists who would want some peace and quiet while exploring and watching some of the largest mammals in the country.

There are sevearl Rivers and wetlands that are found in the Mkhaya Game resreve and and the main type of vegetation that is found in the resrve are the riverine forests and acacia woodlands which act as habitats for some of the animals and birds.

Located in the south eastern part of Eswatini, the Mkhaya Game reserve was declared as the largest Park in Africa with the toughest anti paoching security on the African continent. The park is a hme to quite a number of large mammals but the most important one that you should look out for are the black Rhinos which were almost extinct due to poaching. Other animals that have been re-introduced into the reserve include the different antelope sepceis that is the sable antelope, the Tsessebe antelope, the eland and the roan antelope, zebras, hippos, giraffes and antelopes among others.

Activities carried out in the Mkhaya reserve

With the isolation of the Mkhaya Game reserve comes a lot of interesting activities that tourists can engage in and these include:

Guided walks and hikes in Mkhaya

Guided walks are done everyday for all the tourists who would want to stretch their legs while in the reserve. The guided walks are usually done in the morning before the it becomes alittle too hot to walk and during the dry season which happens between May and September. During your walk, you will be able to see the numerous bird species in the reserve, they also act as botanical tours for the tourists and you get to see animals like the black and white rhinos, hipos, elephants and giraffes to mention but a few.

Game drives through the reserve

The game drives through the reserve are some of the best highlights and these are done during during the dry season. unlike other game reserves where you can drive yourself around, the Mkhaya does not have that option and an experienced tour guide will drive you around in an open roof van so that you can easily see the different animals in the game reserve. as you enjoy your drive through the reserve you should definitely look out for black rhinos, antelopes, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles, the red duiker and so many more other animal species.

Birding

Biridng is one of the activities that you should look forward to participating in especially if you are staying at the stone camp. The game reserve has over 140 bird species that live in the different breeding spots found in the country. The hide that is used to watch the birds easily is just a few minutes away from the camp and the perfect place to do biding from.the bird species that you are likely to see include the Narina Trogon, the pink throated twinspots, the common waxbill, the Verreaux’s eagle, the white helmet shrike, the green twinspot, the great spotted cuckoo, the crowned eagle, the violet backed starling, the grey fit flycatcher, the chorister robin chat which is near extinction, the Harlequin quail, the greater panted snipe, the white backed night heron and the senegal lapwig among others. Birding in the Mkhaya game reserve is best done between Novemebr and April when the migratory birds fly into the country.

Things to note about the Mkhaya Game reserve

  • The Mkhaya Game reserve is a destination for all tourists who love solo travels.
  • You will need to book in advance if you want to explore the resreve.
  • Children under the age of ten are not allowed into the Mkhaya Game reserve.
  • The reserve has two times that it recieves its visitors that is at 10:00am and at 4:00pm where you are met by the tour guides at the designated placebut only after you have pre-booked.
  • All the tours around the game reserve be it game drives or hikes are guided and no one is allowd to self-drive themselves around.
  • All the animals are kept in separate enclosures.
  • For all the visitors that plan to spend a night at the Stone camp, note that the rooms are semi-open that is they do not have windows and doors and there is no electricity, only lanterns are used as a form of lighting.
  • The water that is used in the game reserve is got from a borehole and that is why it is advisable that you carry bottled drinking water.
  • Make sure that you have all your gadgets fully charges that is phones, cameras because there will be no way of you charging them from the reserve since there is no electricity at all.

Accommodation facilities in Mkhaya Game reserve

There is one accommodation facility that is favorable for tourists who visit the reserve and this is the stone camp. There are also other facilities near the reserve but for tourists who want to experience the real experience of the wild this is the best choice.

The stone camp

Constructed on a dry river bed, the stone camp is found within the reserve and the best accommodation facility around the reserve. The camp was constructed using dolerite rocks hence its name and the rooms are semi- open with grass thatched roofs. You can easily view the different bird species that habitate within the reserve and since there is no electricity at the stone camp, the rooms are lit by a lantern and each room goes for an average of 345 dollars per two people. The rooms are however fitted with an en-suite bathroom and toilet.

Best time to visit the Mkhaya Game reserve

The Mkhaya Game reserve has two seasons that it experiences that is the dry and wet season. The dry season is always hot and humid all throughout whereas the wet season receives rainfall although sometimes warm days are experienced during this time. The best time to visit the Mkhaya is from May to September which is the dry season because the rain will be minimal making it easy to explore the Resreve. However you can also visit the reserve during the rainy season which runs from October to April. A summary of the seasons that are experienced in the Mkhaya game reserve have been listed below so that you can properly plan your visit.

  • The cold days are experienced from June to August whereas the extremely hot weather is experienced fro, December to February.
  • The best time to visit is from May to September during the dry season.
  • The best weather is experienced from April to May that is no heavy rains and not too hot.

As you plan to travel to Eswatini, make sure that the Mkhaya Game reserve is on your top destinations so that you can go and support the caring of the animals that are kept in the reserve and get a experience that you will probably not get in the other game reserves in Eswatini.