Search for safari Ideas and important information on our website...

slider
Book Now

ABOUT

Mkhaya is all about intimate encounters with some of Africa's icons.  All travel within the reserve is solely guided, by open Land Rovers or on foot, providing superb photographic opportunities and probably the best chance of seeing Black Rhino in the wild in Africa today.

Mkhaya has been assisted with generous grants and support from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the SA Nature Foundation, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr Anton Rupert, HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the Prettejohn family of Ngwenya Glass, The European Union, Rhino Rescue Trust of Great Britain, Netherlands Rhino Foundation, Corrine Itten, Lowry Park Zoo, San Diego Zoo and many others.  Their efforts are greatly appreciated and it is their support that has helped Mkhaya survive.  Besides this generous assistance, Mkhaya's operations are totally self-financed through visitor revenues, conservation revenues, Nguni cattle and other self-sustaining resources.

Named after the Senegalia (Acacia) nigrescens tree once prolific across the lowveld, ‘Mkhaya’ also aptly means ‘home’ derived from the fact that this valuable hardwood is the chosen tree for structural building in Swaziland.  Knobthorn trunks have been incorporated in some of Stone Camp’s structures.

With a somewhat different history beginning with the conservation of Swaziland’s beautiful indigenous Nguni cattle, Mkhaya took on the vision of nurturing and propagating locally threatened and endangered species.  With very stringent conservation security, Mkhaya is now home to Swaziland’s only buffalo, black rhino, sable antelope, Livingstone’s eland and tsessebe populations.  Along with special species such as white rhino, giraffe and roan antelope, these animals are often sighted at close range on safari.  Birding is an additional highlight.

Mkhaya has a number of fenced areas to enable intense species management and the high security necessary for endangered species. As and when population numbers grow, nuclei are released into the bigger game sections, which to date include sable, black and white rhino, tsessebe to name a few. 

Mkhaya is an award winning reserve, having received the AA's 'Travellers Value Award for Top-End Leisure Travellers'  & 'AA Highly Recommended Accommodation' while the rhino viewing has been quoted as being '...on par with a mountain gorilla encounter in Central Africa', by photo-journalist Stephen Cunliffe in Wild Magazine.

Mkhaya is staffed and patrolled entirely by Swazis from neighbouring communities and currently boasts what is arguably Africa's most effective anti-poaching unit. It is totally self-financed through visitor revenues and your support is greatly appreciated as a means of sustaining this unique international conservation effort. 

A trip to Mkhaya is a trip into Real Africa - a soul enriching, quality experience you'll never forget.

Essential Information: Please note pre-booking is essential; No children under 10 years; There are fixed entry and exit times of either 10am or 4pm depending on your chosen package.  The meeting point is not staffed and guests are met by prior arrangement only.

Mkhaya Game Reserve Information Sheet

Wildlife
Game Drives
Birding
Big Game Viewing
Conference Facilities
Guided Walks

FACILITIES

Nature’s simplicity is best experienced in quiet time and through observation, both highly recommended. 

Dining

Mkhaya dining focuses on the campfire and hearty bush meals, including fresh salads and vegetables, game meat, local ‘phutu’ and freshly home-baked bread.  Depending on the size of the group, some meals are prepared on the fire.  Breakfast and dinner are served around the fire, while lunch is often set up under the giant Sausage Tree.  In inclement weather, dining is moved under our large thatch roof, suspended on hardwood tree trunks, planted in the sand.

Kirky's Hide

Just across the riverbed from Stone Camp a short path leads to Kirky’s Hide, a solid building with viewing windows overlooking a busy pan.  For the patient observer it can provide hours of pleasure whether you are interested in birds, mammals, reptiles, insects or amphibians.  Time spent here is about what is happening outside and respect is requested for those who may have travelled some distance for their daily water.  Waterholes are obvious places for predator ambush, causing wildlife visitors to be extra alert - a sudden movement may result in the bush exploding with a surprising number of nyala, kudu and other wildlife… and a day without water for the scattered.

Kirky’s Hide takes its name in honour of a precious friendship with a wonderful man, whose love of, and commitment to Nature in all its magnificent glory, was unlimited. “Kirky” was a man of great compassion. He practiced respect for trees and worms and decent people and beetles and birds… all creatures and all things natural. He was the gentlest and the most honourable man and one of Africa’s greatest naturalists – and for those who did not know this, it was because he was so modest.

Howard Douglas Kirk was a gifted wildlife documentary film-maker, tragically killed in a car accident on his way to film a documentary on St Lucia’s wetlands.  His talent and bravery are evident in the successful documentary “Jezebel” recording the beginnings of Nature conservation in Swaziland, produced by Anglia TV as part of its Survival series. Other documentaries include ‘The Year of the Dragons’, ‘Miniature Monsters’ and ‘Rhino Ride’. As a young ranger in Kruger Park, Ted Reilly met Howard busy filming beetles. A firm friendship developed and years later Howard married Ted’s sister Roma. Of Howard, Ted always said: “He was the finest naturalist I ever knew, and easily the most modest.”

For the consideration of the animals and the enjoyment of all guests we ask that you please remain still and quiet.

In typical Ted speak: "the golden rule: sit still and shut up!"

Executive Lounge

Fashioned in the same architectural style, the cool Executive Lounge has a solid stone wall along one side, sloping down each side to a low wall in front.  Settle down quietly with a book or binoculars on comfortable furniture, aware of the nyala, suni and guineafowl passing by. 

Our Executive Lounge was also developed with Bush Think Tanks (conferences) in mind.  Stone Camp is perfect retreat for uninterrupted strategy sessions for small executive teams.  Solar power is set up for laptops and projectors, and sketchy cell reception negates pesky interruptions.

Reception, Bar & Curio Shop

Stone Camp’s Reception area doubles as a bar, offering a selection of drinks kept cool in gas fridges.  Alongside, a small curio shop sells bush-related curios and high quality branded merchandise.

ACTIVITIES

All activities at Mkhaya are guided and form part of the various packages, both Day Tours and Overnight.  Whether on foot or Land Rover, guests encounter a myriad of species, including endangered mammals, colourful birdlife, interesting insects and the all-important vegetation.  These fascinating creatures and life forms are woven into your Swazi safari.  But yes, the highlights of Mkhaya are definitely the Black Rhino, Narina Trogon and Crested Guineafowl.

Mkhaya has a handful of knowledgeable Field Guides who enjoy hosting small groups, weaving our history and ethos into interpretation of the environment. Local knowledge allows them discretion with individual animals, some of which are incredibly tolerant, while others are best viewed from further away.

Activities take place pre-breakfast, mid-morning and mid-afternoon into the evening, and are built into packages as appropriate.

Please note child restrictions: 10+ years generally and 13+ for walking safaris.

Download Activity PDF

Day Tour (10h00 - 16h00)

Mkhaya’s Day Tour is a great alternative for groups and those short on time.  Our guides and Land Rovers meet guests at the Mkhaya Pick up Point at 10h00 and transfer to our Head quarters.  Depart on a game drive exploring the endangered species section, providing incredible photo opportunities, before arriving at Stone Camp for a hearty bush lunch and chance to refresh.  A second game drive after lunch ends at your vehicle at 16h00.

Please note children under 10 years old are not permitted on game drives.

Game Drives

Open Land Rover Game Drives wind along bush tracks, revealing special species and sharing the cultural significance of our natural world.  Low hanging branches bring an ever-present element of adventure.  Guests are requested to bring sunblock and sunhats, preferably broad-brimmed, and a sarong or light long-sleeved cotton shirt in summer. Bottled water is always available on the drive.
 

Game Walks

Walking slows the pace, getting you closer to the environment and making your safari more personal. 

Guests are led through pockets of bushveld thickets and stunning climax Knobthorn (Acacia nigresens) Veld, with common sightings including black & white rhino, giraffe, nyala, an abundance of smaller invertebrates and birdlife including riverine, bushveld, forest and woodland species. Good closed walking shoes with solid soles to prevent thorn penetration, sun hats, insect repellant, long sleeve and long cotton trousers are recommended.  Binoculars and cameras are always an advantage. Walking Safaris are offered on the 24 hour and 24hr PLUS packages.  

Please note minimum age is 13 years.

Bush Trails & Luxury Walking Safaris

Mkhaya Bush Trails are a fabulous way for small groups (4-8 people) to really embrace the bush between 1 April – 30 September.  An option of 1 and 2-night trails are on offer, with improved chances of seeing giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, white and black rhino and kudu on the longer trail.  Moving on foot brings to life the smaller intriguing species such as bagworms and processionary worms. 

Bush Trails are fully catered in Jubela's Camp, a rustic tented camp with rudimentary ablutions and facilities.

More civilized Luxury Walking Safaris are based at Stone Camp.  Please note minimum age is 13 years.

Directions

Swaziland has 12 borders, making access easy from almost anywhere along our boundry with either South Africa or Mozambique. To assist, we have created a "Suggested Borders" document for you.

Suggested Borders

From Swaziland Border Posts

Ngwenya/Oshoek Border - Gauteng/Mphumalanga

Matsamo/Jeppes Reef Border

Matsamo/Jeppes Reef Border via Piggs Peak 

Mananga/Border Gate Border

Mananga/Border Gare Border via Hlane

Sandlane/Nerston Border

Sicunuza/Emahlathini Border

Mahamba Border

Lavumisa/Golela Border

Mhlumeni/Goba Border

Lomahasha/Namaacha Border

From within Swaziland

From Hlane Royal National Park

From Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Reviews

The reviews shown here are taken directly from TripAdvisor.  We encourage potential guests to visit the pages and read what our guests have said!

Please feel free to post your own review on Tripadvisor:

Mkhaya TripAdvisor Page

"A Very Different Experience"

12 December 2016

This lodge is so different to the norm. One leaves one's car in secure parking near the entrance and boards a safari vehicle. The first safari has started! A short stop for welcome, paperwork and refreshments and our ranger drives into the park in search of animals, the stars being the rhino, both black and white which we were privileged to see. Interestingly the usually solitary black rhino was trailing behind the white group. We were told this sometimes happened when the white females were in estrus. The camp with its private, open roundels, friendly and helpful staff and enjoyable meals is well documented. I will only add that the beds surrounded by a large mosquito net were very comfortable and cosy. We had heavy rain while there and were privileged to see water gradually flow along the normally dry river bed. Our drive that evening was a display of highly skilled 4x4 driving over very wet roads. That, together with the sightings and the information from our ranger, made it an excellent drive. Stone Camp and Mkhaya Reserve are special. It is not 5* luxury but offers so much more of a 'real' bush experience.

"the luxury is simplicity" (Google translation)

7 Nov 2016  A TripAdvisor Member

We spent 2 nights and it was a highlight of our trip. The meeting point is easy to find (our Polo was parked in a secure area) and then it was in the first game drive to camp bring so charged camera battery / cell phone (no electricity). For lighting are in the camp and in the chalets Petroleum lamps. Very beautiful! Food and service are impeccable. On the first night there was also a small dance performance around the campfire. The morning walk was rhino technically brilliant! Although there is no electricity is a hot shower and with a credit card but pay no problem. A pool does not exist. Guinea fowl, bush babies and nyala are constant companions. Great little park!

"A true wildlife experience"

29 November 2016

We did the 24 hour stay...4pm to 4 pm. This includes 3 game drives and a bush walk as well as full board. The accommodation in an open fronted, stone rondeval, was very private and extremely comfortable. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the Game Rangers ( especially Maxwell) were very knowledgeable. This is a totally different experience and is highly recommended.

Reilly's Rock is the perfect comfortable middleveld extension to an Mkhaya holiday