Within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary just 3 km from Mlilwane’s Rest Camp is Mlilwane Hill. The hill is fenced off to facilitate the breeding of endangered and locally threatened antelope as well as safeguarding the Royal Botanical Gardens featuring the Gilbert Reynolds Memorial Aloe Garden.
Near the top of Mlilwane Hill is Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge, the original home of the former Mickey Reilly, now converted into a ‘quaintly colonial’ comfortable 6-room lodge. Many a colourful story is told of Mickey Reilly, an entrepreneur who ran the McCreedy Tin Mines in the early 1900’s. His son, Ted Reilly, grew up here – and this is where Ted’s dream of nature conservation took root.
Linked to the greater Mlilwane Trails network, residents may wander the hillside, walk the trails, view the game, book an activity at Mlilwane’s Rest Camp or simply relax on the terraced lawns and take in the spectacular views. Breakfast on the veranda and campfire dinners followed by our bushbaby experience in the evenings are unforgettable.
Children 13+ years are permitted at Reilly's Rock.
Down Gran's Self-Catering Cottage (Max. 7 people)
Located approx. 200m from Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge, still within the Botanical Gardens, Down Gran's Self-Catering Cottage offers magical privacy for a small group of friends, keen for a little independence in serene surrounds with amazing species that call it home. This cottage is perfect for hikers, birders, horse riders, mountain bikers and quiet time in nature. Guests are requested not to cycle within the breeding areas, using only the gate provided through the orchard.
All Mlilwane Activities are available to Reilly’s Rock and Down Gran’s guests.
Mlilwane Hill has been fenced off to facilitate the breeding of endangered and locally threatened antelope as well as safeguarding the Royal Botanical Gardens, featuring the Gilbert Reynolds Memorial Aloe Garden, from browsers. A highlight however, are the bushbabies who drop down for their evening bananas on a regular basis.
Liz Reilly is daughter of Dr Gilbert Reynolds, the "Aloe man of Southern Africa." Gilbert travelled Africa and Madagascar researching Aloes for his books, collecting specimens as he went. His collection was shared between Mlilwane and the Botanical Institute of Southern Africa and many of these aloes are now on Mlilwane Hill. Ted Reilly has added his own flare in creating the gardens, planting cycads, baobabs and allowing the original colonial (exotic) plants to mingle in a wild manner.
Grazing antelope species that are locally threatened are being bred in separate camps on the Mlilwane Hill. These include roan antelope, oribi, blue and red duiker, suni, klipspringer, grey rhebuck, red hartebeest and waterbuck. These populations are responding well to protection and have tamed down remarkably, allowing for amazing photographic opportunities and quintessential game viewing.
Mlilwane Hill is semi-forested, with stunning granite outcrops and a small orchard. The Aloes successfully entice nectar feeders, including at least 5 species of sunbird. Grain is constantly supplied to the rock tables for the seed-eaters and slices of fruit stuck on dry Dichrostachys branches for the fruit-loving barbets. With particular reference to summer, Reilly’s Rock is always humming with birds.
Comfort and charm are foremost at Reilly’s Rock, which has been awarded AA Highly Recommended status. Each of the 6 en-suite rooms has its own character, working with the original sizes and aspects of each.
|Main House (DBB - Luxury Rooms - Reilly’s Room & Wallis Room)||Sleeps 2||From ZAR 1485|
|Garden Cottage (DBB)||Sleeps 4||From ZAR 1375|
|Main House (DBB - Standard Rooms)||Sleeps 2||From ZAR 1375|
Reilly’s Rock literally oozes historical antiquity. The original house was built in 1928, Mickey Reilly’s third attempt at building a home. His first two attempts were raised to the ground by lightning, but this house was built further down the hill, constructed of hand-hued stone by an illiterate Afrikaner, in exchange for an ox-wagon.
The main house has a wrap-around veranda, from which the 4 double rooms are accessed. Reilly’s and Wallis Rooms are larger luxury rooms. Palm and Fern Rooms are standard rooms, adjusted to include part of the original veranda for more private space.
Just above the main house is the Garden Cottage, with two standard rooms and a shared lounge. Red Room has a double bed and Green Room is the only twin room available at Reilly’s Rock. Both these rooms are en-suite with ball-and-claw baths.
Rates include Mlilwane Conservation Fee, dinner, bed and breakfast. All but one room have double beds.
Reilly's Rock luxury rooms offer extra space and comfort.
Set aside from the main house is the Garden Cottage with 2 independent en-suite rooms sharing a lounge. These rooms are booked individually or the cottage is booked for couples travelling together. Red Room is a double and Green Room is a twin.
Two original rooms in the main house have been enlarged by enclosing the original veranda for more private space. Both of these rooms are doubles.
Down Gran's Self-catering Cottage is a well-appointed stand-alone unit about 200m from Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge with spectacular views.
|Cottage Rate (Self-catering)||Sleeps 7||From ZAR 3570|
|Per-person rate (DBB)||Sleeps 7||From ZAR 1093|
Down Gran's is the perfect private retreat for three couples or a small group of Nature enthusiasts who want to self-cater. Linked to the self-guided walking trails and self-drive road network of Mlilwane, set apart from the Lodge and only 3km from Rest Camp activities, this is a great base from which to explore the region for a number of days.
Rates include Mlilwane Conservation Fee. Dinner, bed and breakfast are included if this is the chosen package.
Down Gran’s Self-catering Cottage has three en-suite bedrooms, each with a shower, basin and toilet. The Main Room is large, with an additional bath, couch and a door leading to the back garden. The guest room has a double and single bed, and the choice of bath or shower. The third room is a small en-suite twin room, accessible from the veranda.
Down Gran's Self-catering Cottage is often used as overflow from Reilly's Rock. It provides a similar sense of peace and tranquility and meals are served at the Hilltop Lodge.
A large lounge provides a warm gathering place with intriguing literature and displays, and serves as the lodge Reception. On cold winter nights, the log fire is lit, softening the atmosphere even more. A TV is discretely placed in a corner for those who prefer to keep up with current affairs.
The dining room, with cozy colours and beautiful indigenous wooden finishes, is used during inclement weather only, with preference to a decadent breakfast on the veranda and 3-course dinners around the campfire. Dining in the open takes advantage of the panoramic views, busy birdlife and the ever-present antelope.
Down Gran's Self-Catering Cottage
The spacious kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering, with a large fridge, stove and preparation area. The lounge and dining areas share a room, with a 6-seater dining table, large leather couches and a central fireplace. An adequate veranda has comfortable seating under cover, with outdoor options too. Alongside the cottage is a sizable outdoor fireplace, complete with braai grid and chairs. Should guests prefer to dine at Reilly’s Rock or Mlilwane Rest Camp, rates are available on request.
Guests staying at Reilly’s Rock and Down Gran’s Self-catering Cottage have access to the Mlilwane Hill and the greater Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. By nature, Reilly’s Rock is the perfect quiet retreat, with relaxing seats placed discretely in the Botanical Gardens and on the tranquil terraces. Numerous walking trails explore Mlilwane Hill, creating a “secret garden” ambience. Walking these trails, guests will certainly see blue duiker, suni, crested guineafowl and klipspringer.
The Mlilwane Hill trails link to the greater Mlilwane Walking Trails network, with its 9 trails. Energetic guests can summit Nyonyane Mountain or walk to Rest Camp. Reilly’s Rock guests are welcome to make use of Rest Camp facilities and to participate in Mlilwane activities, booked through reception and departing from Rest Camp. These include horse trails, mountain biking, game drives and guided walks. The guided Umphakatsi Cultural Experience and Esitjeni Village Walk give groups of 4 or more people an insight to traditional Swazi life.
Time is well spent exploring the botany around the lodge. Simply follow the little trails, reading the labels detailing information on the many species – highlights of which include Aloes and Cycads. Note fragrances, flowers, textures … and the little animals living amongst the plants!
Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge & DOwn Gran's Self-catering Cottage are based on Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Please see Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary Directions page for specific directions.
Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) has 12 borders, making access easy from almost anywhere along ourboundry from wither South Africa or Mozambique. To assist, we have created a "Suggested Borders" document for you.
From Eswatini Border Posts
From within Eswatini
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