BGP Overview

Big Game Parks is a private non-profit Trust which manages three game reserves in Swaziland: Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Game Reserve.

With a conservation mission encompassing Swazi wildlife, culture and heritage, Big Game Parks is Swaziland's leading eco-tourism destination. Its wide variety of accomodation, activity and dining options set within three distinct ecological habitats provide the perfect get-away to suit all pockets, leisure preferences and palates.

 



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BGP Mission Statement

View Big Game Parks' Mission Statement here.


 

 


Big Game Parks' Mission Statement


Parks are not only for wildlife,
Parks are also for people


Believing in one without the other
Is a recipe for poverty,
The mission of Big Game Parks is:


To promote environmental literacy;
To develop, conserve and expand
Her land base to increase scale, ecological
Viability and protected bio-diversity;



To achieve and sustain optimal economic
Viability in order to facilitate a safe and secure
Future for Swaziland's historically beleaguered
Wildlife within representative habitats;



To promote and to marry eco-tourism
With all other ethical components
Of environmentally friendly land use and to
Develop these collectively as justification
Against contesting land use



To uphold and sustain the highest levels of
Conservation integrity, discipline, conservation
Ethics and the rule of law as necessary
Elements to conserve nature and natural resources



To propound the necessity for limits to growth,
Thereby keeping options open for a better
Quality of life for future generations
Of wildlife and people.



 


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BGP Trailing Philosophy

View Big Game Parks' Trailing Philosophy here.

 

 

 

 

 

Big Game Parks' Trailing Philosophy 

 

The trailing philosophy of the Big Game Parks of the Kingdom of Swaziland is to promote an affinity with nature and kinship with all life. 



The walking trails which meander through game country are not intended as endurance walks, but should be seen as providing an opportunity to walk with nature. If this is done slowly and sensitively, it may bring rich reward, a renewal of soul and a better understanding on man's place in nature.



If you are quiet, you should see a wide variety of faunal life along the different trails, varying from giraffe and kudu to dassies, black eagles, red rock hares, field mice, centipedes and ants. Our message to you is " treat them all with respect and don't unnecessarily cause them harm".



The emphasis here is on the word " unnecessarily" for you will undoubtedly take life on trail; you will tread on an ant or a bug for instance, and if you do so unintentionally and without malice, you will be excused. It is when such things are done deliberately and for no good reason that they become unacceptable.



With this concept, let us develop and foster a national ethic of respect for, and coexistence with, our wild places and the plants and creatures that inhabit them. Let us all leave them clean and tidy and unpolluted for those who follow unimpaired for the enjoyment of the future generations.


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Tourism Introduction

Swaziland is well-situated between Kruger National Park and Kwa-Zulu Natal as well as Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Maputo. Big Game Parks' well positioned and diverse game reserves are an essential destination in any itinerary.

Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Game Reserve are the three Big Game Parks that enjoy a common management, have a good choice of accommodation, an interchange of staff, a wide diversity of habitats and a common mission: “To conserve the rich biodiversity of Swaziland's natural heritage'.

 

Big Game Parks’ contribution to the restoration and protection of the Kingdom’s biodiversity is of great significance and can truly be appreciated by the discerning traveller.


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Tourism Contact Details

Interested in adding Big Game Parks to your itinerary? Simply use the contact details here and we'll be in touch.

For Tour Operator Queries please email:

Mike Richardson, Big Game Parks' Tourism Executive



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Hlabazonkhe Community Assistance

The Imvelo Mountain Bike Classic event, staged on Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in June each year, has been raising money for various community projects including the current assistance for Hlabazonke Community.

 

Hlabazonkhe Community

 

The Imvelo Mountain Bike Classic, staged on Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in June each year has been raising money for various community projects. Nedbank Swaziland has been a sponsor of the MTB race for a number of years and with their sponsorship and the race entry fees collected, funds have accumulated in the BGP Projects account. These funds have been used strictly for community projects and the value of money in this account now is such that a substantial project can take place. The neighbouring Hlabazonkhe School, bordering Mlilwane North in the Siphocosini district has been a project for some years now, and these projects have led to the evolution of the Water Spring project.

 

Big Game Parks together with Nedbank Swaziland have been assisting the community of Hlabazonkhe since 2008. We have assisted the community in the following ways: 

 

1. Painting of the School

2. Installed gutters to capture rain water for collection in the school in 2008.

3. Donated 2 water tanks to the school to store the water collected through the gutters. 

4. Donated office equipment which included a desk, office chair and photocopying machine. 

 

Our current on-going project is the construction of a borehole, not just for the school but for the entire Hlabazonkhe community. Big Game Parks together with the Nedbank and The Community are hard at work to see this project through as it will not just benefit the school, but the whole entire Hlabazonkhe community. 

 


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Umphakatsi Experience

The Umphakatsi Experience is an activity offered at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Hlane Royal National Park and is also one of the ways in which Big Game parks assists the community.

The experience consists of a visit to the nearby chief’s village at Esitjeni for Mlilwane and KaLanga for Hlane for guests to see and experience authentic Swazi culture through dance. The two and a half hour cultural experience allows guests to engage with the residents as they show them their culture and traditions by inviting them to participate in their cultural practices. Visitors observe how Swazi rural women weave indigenous grass into beautiful baskets and help prepare traditional thatching for Swazi beehive huts. The women will also engage guests in the process of grinding grain to make the Swazi local staple food, mealie meal.



Big Game Parks markets the activity at no cost to the Umphakatsi through the nothing for nothing concept. A share of the costs of the experience goes directly to the Chief and this is in turn used by the chief for the upliftment of the community.


By having guests enjoy themselves while learning the Swazi way of life, the Esitjeni and KaLanga Community benefit directly from BGP.


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Esitjeni Paper Mache Project

BGP and Grand Circle embarked on a project called the Piggy Bank Project to assist in the alleviation of poverty at the Esitjeni Community.

A meeting was called with interested individuals within the community – anyone who supports OVC’s, orphans themselves, anyone who is jobless or those that just want to earn a little extra. In October 2007, a group of 10 people began making piggy banks out of balloons, scrap newspaper, egg boxes and the like. Grand Circle Travel sponsored materials for the project, while Mlilwane Management set about holding a number of skills workshops on paper mache – and dishing out the Sanctuary’s raw materials.



As we worked through physical manufacturing skills, we discussed accountability, responsibility and the idea that progress was completely up to the individual. As part of the training, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary organised a walk in the park, identifying the animals and discussing details of their individual design. We spoke about creativity, abstract and realistic representation, variety of size and species. The idea was to link this exciting project to conservation and wildlife.



Once the basic manufacturing skills were learnt, accounting books were handed to each individual. Materials (paint brushes, glue, balloons, the book itself) were issued and recorded to each individual with a price tag so that they knew from the start the value of input into their produce. 10% of every sale would be paid back to the project to buy materials at cheaper bulk rates, and this percentage will grow as the sponsorship runs dry making the project sustainable.


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Harvesting of Thatching Grass

Mkhaya Game Reserve enjoys an abundance of thatching grass called Luhlonga. One of the ways BGP assists the community around Mkhaya Game Reserve is the 50-50 exchange of thatching bale.

The unique semi-open accommodation found at Mkhaya is thatched and so is most of the accommodation featured at other BGP reserves. Every year, Mkhaya Game Reserve, because of this abundance, opens her doors to the community to cut some grass for themselves.

The 50-50 approach to the project is quite simple. With however many bundles one harvests, half of them are kept by BGP and half is taken home by them to members of the community.

This grass is used by the community to thatch their own homes or sell for profit.

  

 


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Subsidised Meat

Big Game Parks is widely known for being the pioneers of conservation in the Kingdom of Swaziland. One of the methods of which conservation is practiced is the controlled culling process.

This is also a method of giving back to the community of Swaziland by selling game meat at subsidised rates.


Big Game Parks sells game meat in the form of carcasses at subsidised rates. The idea being that game should cheaper than beef.



During the culling process, which is done by BGP conservation, the animal carcasses from the reserves are all collected and placed at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The public is then informed through newspaper advertisements to purchase the carcasses at Mlilwane.



These carcasses are sold at a rate cheaper than beef. The policy helps with conservation efforts and indirectly discourages poaching. Also, by having game sold at rates cheaper than beef, this ensures that venison is afforded by all sectors of society.


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Water tanks at KaPhunga and Sigcaweni Areas

KaPhunga and Sigcaweni areas have had a borehole sunk with three 10 000 litre water tanks each, donated by the Canadian-based aid organisation 'Swazi Kids', in cooperation with the Minister of Agriculture, Mtiti Fakudze, and Big Game Parks.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Mtiti Fakudze, approached Mkhaya Game Reserve for help for his community, and so Big Game Parks in turn approached Mrs Pam Carlson, the instigator of Swazi Kids. As Pam and her family have been to visit Swaziland several times since, they have developed a friendship with Big Game Parks’ CEO, Ted Reilly, whom she approached for direction for the installation of a borehole. ‘Machobane’, as Ted Reilly is known in siSwati, knew that the area next to Mkhaya was also in dire straits caused by the drought and asked if there was funding for two boreholes – and a delighted Pam found that there was.



The boreholes have now been drilled in the two relevant areas, and the 3 x 10 000 litre tanks per borehole were installed on Monday 5 December 2011, and will soon ease the plight of the two communities and their animals.


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Additional Ways of Assisting the Community

Other ways in which BGP assists in Community development are:

1. Offering reduced rates to schools and churches when these groups organise a group visit in advance with our Central Reservations department at Hlane Royal National Park or Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.



2. Donation of Christmas Hampers to the Lobamba Lomdzala Constituency.



3. Stocking our Curio Shops at the parks with locally produced products only.


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Ngwenya Glass Recycling Project

Between all three game reserves : Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Game Reserve, a lot of bottles from the restaurants to the rooms are produced as 'rubbish' on a daily basis.

With our good, long-standing relationship with Ngwenya Glass, BGP collects the tons of glass from all the parks to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.



The glass is cleaned at Mlilwane and thereafter sent to Ngwenya Glass for recycling purposes. The hottest attraction in Swaziland then recycles the glass to make the most beautiful glass in the Kingdom. Our long-standing relationship with Ngwenya Glass has seen the donation of glittering Imvelo MTB Classic Trophies.


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Marketing Contact Details

If you require further information on any of Big Game Parks' reserves use the contact details here to get in touch.

For Marketing Queries please contact:

Katie McCarthy, Big Game Parks' Marketing Manager


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Accolades

Big Game Parks often receives much praise from visitors

Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge becomes National Finalist in AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards

Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge becomes National Finalist in the 'Game or Nature Experience' in the AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards.

 

Mkhaya Game Reserve wins 'Travellers Value Award for Top-End Leisure Travellers' in the AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards

Mkhaya Game Reserve wins the 'Travellers Value Award for Top-End Leisure Travellers' in the AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards.

 

 

Mkhaya Game Reserve - National Finalist in AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards 

Mkhaya Game Reserve becomes National Finalist in the 'Game Lodge' category at the 2012 AA Quality Assured Accommodation Awards.

 

'A rhino walk at Mkhaya stands on a par with a mountain gorilla encounter in Central Africa.', Stephen Cunliffe, Freelance Photojournalist writing for Wild Magazine, Winter 2012 Edition

 

‘The birding at Mkhaya was exceptional. The best sightings of the numerous Narina Trogons were right in Stone Camp.’ John Davies, Lawson’s Birding, 2012

 

‘[Mkhaya] boasts that you’re more likely to meet Black Rhino here than anywhere else in Africa and, judging by our experience, this is true.’ Kate Armstrong, Lonely Planet, 2012

 

'Mkhaya Game Reserve offers one of the most unique lodges in the continent', Awesome Africa, January 2012  

 

Additional Feedback:

Tried & tested: Overnight guests feedback here

Stayed at Big Game Parks? Leave your own feedback here.


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Christmas at Big Game Parks

Celebrate this festive season at Big Game Parks' Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary or Mkhaya Game Reserve. Enjoy amazing Christmas menus, stunning venues, unrivalled activities and beautiful surroundings. All offer superb value!


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