Swaziland by car. Hlane National Park

We visited Swaziland during a 3 months road-trip through southern Africa
(Swaziland, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho). 


Average exchange rate: 1 € =  14,10 Emalangeni (1:1 with SA Rands)

Coming from Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa, we crossed the border to Swaziland in Golela - Lavumisa. The night before, we slept just a few km from Golela border, at Phongolo Reserve (South Africa) in a nice and cheap camspite (quite empty even during Chirstmas holidays) and with wild life around.

From the border to Hlane National Park, it´s around 130 km. We did this route in 1 day.
 
All the roads are tarred (MR8, MR16, MR3), but many potholes on the MR16 between Big Bend and Siteki. Not too much traffic. Not many interesting stops on the way.
Sugar cane plantations, not many villages.

Big supermarkets on the road are in Big Bend (3 km away), Siteki (8 km away), and if staying in Hlane the closest is in Simunye (6 km away). Small shops on the sides of the roads.

Some accommodation along the roads, specially private game farms.

   Golela - Lavumisa border  

This is the main border when coming from Kwa Zulu Natal. Good tarred roads on both sides.
Open from 7:00 to 22:00.
New offices, hassle free.
Entrance stamp, no days indicated (European passports are granted with 30 days), no visa needed. 

If you are crossing to Swaziland by car, you don´t need any special papers for the car, even if it is a rental one. You just need to pay a toll tax, of 50 R (3 €).


   Hlane Royal National Park  

It´s a super small park, specially the “big game” area (just 3x2 km aprox!) and then just a few antilopes in the other areas. Possible to do self-drives but only on the main unique road, very short (the other "roads" are terrible). It´s more a camp with a wildlife area than a national game park.



If you want to see the lions, you have to join a tour (price: 300 R/PP).   
The park also organises walking safaris.

Price - entrance fee is 40 R/pp, included with the Sout Africa Wild Card.
Location:  Only 100 km east from Ezulwini Valley.

There are two camps, at Ndlovu (near the main entrance to the park) and Bhubesi (14 km north, we did not go there).

The main interest of the park is Ndlovu Camp, with a busy waterhole with rhinos and hippos (there was also a crocodile). 18 rhinos were there early morning, what a special breakfast we had! Imagine!



We also saw a few giraffes, but no elephants (just poo). 
So, just sit in front of the waterhole and enjoy. 
In our opinion, save your money if want to book a game-safari drive, this is not a good place and choose another big park in South Africa (much more interesting to do a game-drive in Kruger or Hluhluwe-Umfolozi). 
Many groups stop at the camp so you are able to see a tribal swazi dance at night. We did.

Cheap accommodation in Hlane National Park. 


The cheapest option to sleep inside the park is camping. The place is good. We stayed in:

Ndlovu camp
Price for camping: 95 R/pp at the campsite. 
BBQ and simple kitchen. 
The rooms are much more expensive, it´s not for low-cost travellers.


During mid December (School holidays) the campsite was almost empty. So no need to book at the campsite.

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