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Located in Eswatini a tiny country in Southern Africa, the Malolotja Nature Reserve is in most cases not visited due to its location but once you get there you will be surprised by how much it stands out from the other tourist destinations in the country. The Malolotja is not filled with as many animals as one would want and this is because of the poaching that was done in the previous years. However some animals have been re-introduced into the reserve and these include zebras, the blue wildebeest and the Swazi thick tailed gecko among others. You should also expect to see some birds, the rare vegetation, go for a canopy trip on the longest zip line in the country and try out those difficult hike routes within the Malolotja.

The Malolotja Nature reserve is located in the capital city of Eswatini that is Mbabane. A home to one of the greatest attractions in the country that is the Ngweya Mountains, it acts as a home to a wide number of birds, animal species and a dense vegetation that is quite unique from the rest of the vegetation found in the country.

The Nature reserve has a proper drainage system that is got from the numerous Rivers and streams that flow from the Ngweya Mountains keeping the Reserve fresh throughout the whole year. The vegetation that is found in the Malolotja is known as the Afro Montane forest and this acts as habitats to some of the bird species that are found in the park. You will also find orchid trees, swampy vegetation and lilies scattered all over the Reserve.

Getting to Malolotja can be easy but only if you are using a four wheel drive vehicle to get you there. The roads leading to the park are not the very best but with the appropriate vehicle you can easily drive to almost all the hidden points within the Park. However it is advisable that if you are not so good at driving along rocky roads you get a driver who is well versed with the roads so that you avoid accidents.

Activities carried out in Malolotja

As earlier on noted, Malolotja is not a favorite for tourists who are into all the wildlife that can be found in other African countries especially the big five. This is a destination for the open minded who are willing to see some rare plant, bird and animal species.

Game drives through Malolotja

The game drives that are carried out in Malolotja are best done during the dry season and you can either drive yourself through the park or get a tour guide to get around. Some of the animals that you will get to see while here include leopards although these normally come out at night, zebras, the red hartebeest, the blue wildebeest, Oribi, Jackals, bush pigs, reedbuck and aardwolf among others.

Go swimming in the Reserve

The good drainage system that is experienced in the Malolotja Nature reserve that is from the waterfalls, the Rivers and streams has led to the formation of water pools where you can swim from and also enjoy a picnic after the swimming session. The pools from which you can go swimming are found as you head to the Northern part of the Reserve.

Birding in Malolotja Nature Reserve

The Malolotja Nature reserve is one of the best birding destinations in Eswatini with a total of over 280 birds that have been recorded by the government. The reserve is a home to some of the endangered species in the country and some of these live in the swamps, the tress while others breed around the Rivers and streams that are found in the reserve. Some of the bird species that you should look out for include bee-eaters, the bald Ibis, the bush shrikes, the ground woodpeckers, the Stanley’s bustard, the half collared kingfisher, the blue crane bird, the black winged plovers and the blue swallow bird among other species.

Hike through the park

Malolotja is known as one of the best hike destinations in Eswatini. The hike trails in Malolotja are about 200 kilometers long and these can be trekked at your own pace depending on your choice. There are three hike trails that you should try out while in Malolotja and these are:

Malolotja Falls trail

The Malolotja Falls trail is one of the hardest hike trails in the reserve and it is about 11 kilometers long. If you decide to take on this route, it will take you about 8 hours before you complete it. The trail will take you past some of the most fascinating scenes like the flora, animals like the gemsbok, the black backed jackal, the reedbuck and as you slop down the River you will notice that the hike route here is a little bit steep and you will need to be careful. Some of the most entertaining rewards that you will get to see include the Silotfwane Mountain and the Majolomba Falls.

Upper Malolotja trail

The upper Malolotja trail takes three hours before it is completed and it is 8 kilometers long. It is also a difficult trek to make however it is much better than the other routes that are found in the reserve. It will take you around the reserve and some of the things that you will get to see include animals like the warthogs, elands, Oribi and aardwolf among others.

The Upper Malolotja falls trail

This is just 8 kilometers long and takes 7 hours to complete. It will take you past the waterfalls to the Malolotja valley where you will get to see the different animal species like the black backed jackal, the red hartebeest among other species.

Malolotja canopy tour

The Malolotja canopy tour is one of the most participated in activities in the reserve by almost every tourist who visits Eswatini. Although the cost of the canopy ride keeps on changing, it is in most cases 20 dollars per person and you get to enjoy one of the longest trails in the whole of the southern continent. There are over 11 platforms and a 50 meter long bridge where the zip line exercise is done. It does not matter whether you do not know how to Zip line because there are experienced tour guides who will take you through the fundamental rules before you are given the equipment that will keep you safe while zip lining.

 

Accommodation in Malolotja

The accommodation that you will find in Malolotja Nature reserve includes backpacking camps, the cabins and the main campsite that is found within the reserve.

The Malolotja cabins

These are found within the Reserve and can cater for ten people only. There are two cabins and each of these cabins houses five people, they are fully equipped with everything that you need that is water, bathrooms but when it comes to food, you will have to prepare it by yourselves. There is however a restaurant that is located near the cabins and it provides all meals at an affordable price from breakfast to dinner.

Camping

Malolotja nature reserve has its main camp situated in a perfect location from where you can easily spot the animals. The campsite has fourteen sites from where you can set up your own tent but note that there is no electricity here and you will have to share the bathrooms with other guests.

Best time to visit the Malolotja Nature reserve

The Malolotja Nature reserve has two seasons that it experiences that is the summer season and the winter season. Winter in Malolotja is experienced between May to August with the coldest months being June and July whereas the summer season is experienced between the months of December and April but the summer months also receive occasional rainfall and a few thunderstorms. The best time to visit the Malolotja Nature reserve is during the summer season when the walk routes and the whole reserve is not flooded due to heavy rains that are seen during the winter season.

The Malolotja nature reserve is a perfect get away for all those that love outdoor activities, all those looking for adventure and not forgetting those travelling with children. Besides the mentioned activities you can also go for horse riding, fishing and mountain biking done on a relatively smaller scale.

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