Swaziland by car. Ezulwini Valley and Mlilwane Wildlife Santuary

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)

From Hlane National Park we continued our trip around Swaziland crossing the Ezulwini Valley. Till Milwane it´s aprox. 100 km. We did this route in one day.
All the roads are tarred.

We crossed Manzini, the most populated town, and Mbabane is the capital city. We did not stop there. No real interest for the tourists.
There´s a highway (no toll) between both.

   Ezulwini Valley   

It´s the resort valley of Swaziland. The location is nothing very special, for us. It´s green, big granite mountains around, a good place to relax with confortable accommodation suiting all the budgets.
There´s a big shopping mall, Gables, in the middle of the valley, not far from the backpackers. And many craft shops around the area.
Cheap accommodation in Ezulwini Valley

There are a couple of backpackers in the valley and also budget accommodation in Milwane Park. 

We saw 2 cheap options:
  • Lidwala Backpacker Lodge (just on the Ezulwini Road, MR103, 2 km from Gables mall). 
Price for camping: 60 R/pp. Cheap!Beautifull garden to put your tent but not possible to access by car directly to the campsite). 
Price for Dormitory: 160 R/pp. 
Small pool. Commun area and kitchen. A good place to relax. Very nice staff. Recommended.
Free 15 min internet voucher (it didn´t work) or you can use their compute (it was ok and free... but internet not always working). 

Even in the middle of December during school holidays, the campsite was empty and easy to get a dorm too.
Possible to get there by public transport, the main road is just down.

They are specialised in activities (rafting, quads, etc.) and free wifi. We didn´t stay here, we prefered Lidwala (also better and cheaper campsite). Just a few km away.

   Mlilwane Wildlife Santuary  

Price - Entrance fee is 40 R/pp, included with the South Africa Wild Card.
That´s why we went there to have a look... if not we don´t recommend this park: just a normal place with a few animals, the activities are expensive and so is the campsite compared with the ones at Ezulwini.
Just a few km (around 10 km) southeast of Ezulwini Valley. 
Roads inside the park are gravel, muddy if rain.
Possible to walk, ride a horse or bicycle (135 R/pp/h! too expensive to rent one)… if you feel like…

 Rooms and swimming pool in Mlilwane Santuary

Miliwane is nothing very special in our opinion. Not so wild forest as there are many eucalyptus. It´s more a recreational reserve, where many local people go for the week-end and holidays to do a BBQ and swim in the big pool.
Jus a few animals, antilopes, warthogs, zebras, etc. Nothing “big”.

Where to sleep inside the Mlilwane Wildlife Santuary

Sondzela Backpackers: camping is 95 R/pp (www.biggameparks.org). Also dorms and rooms.
Lots of people around the day visitor area (pool, BBQ). 
The campiste was quite empty, even during holidays.
There´s also another expensive resort in the park.