Located in:

Sondzela Backpackers is ideal for:  Exploring Swaziland • Budget Travel • Chilling in Peaceful Surroundings • Experiencing Nature Up-close & Personal • Photographers 

Welcome to Sondzela Backpackers

Sondzela Backpackers is located within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary's southern boundary overlooking the beautiful Mhlambanyatsi Valley. It offers travellers visiting Swaziland an unbeatable range of excellent value accommodation in stunning surroundings, with its own Swimming Pool, large garden, ample safe parking, camping ground, Braai area, Bar, Laundry, DSTV & Games Room.

 

Just a 15min walk from Mlilwane Rest Camp and within walking distance to the Malkerns main road and Mahlanya fresh produce market, Sondzela offers comfortable accommodation in scenic gardens with easy access to the numerous activities and site-seeing opportunities that Big Game Parks and Swaziland offers. FREE Sondzela Shuttle pick-up and drop-off from Malandela's can be arranged, to further enhance ease of travel.

 

Known as the WILDest backpackers in Swaziland; after wrestling the resident Ostrich for your spot by the pool or becoming at one with Zebras on horseback you'll understand why.

 

 

Accommodation at Sondzela Backpackers

From R95.00

Camping at Sondzela Backpackers (Own Tents only)

Set in the beautiful Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Sondzela offers campers a spacious camping ground.

Set in scenic gardens, the camping ground is close to Sondzela's swimming pool and is perfectly situated with access to numerous activities and site-seeing opportunities.


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From R110.00

Sondzela Main House Dormitory - Single Bed

Located in Sondzela's Main House is a dormitory with single beds and a communal bathroom.

The dormitory offers excellent value for money, with a swimming pool, lounge, games room and bar all nearby. Bedding provided.


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From R185.00

Sondzela Main House - Private Double Room

Located in Sondzela's Main House are private double rooms with access to a communal bathroom.

Perfect for those who prefer a bit more privacy, with a swimming pool, lounge, games room and bar all nearby. Bedding provided.

 


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   online booking

From R185.00

Sondzela Main House - Private Twin Room

Located in Sondzela's Main House are private twin rooms with access to a communal bathroom.

Perfect for those who prefer a bit more privacy, with a swimming pool, lounge, games room and bar all nearby. Bedding provided.


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From R200.00

Sondzela Huts (Rondavels)

Overlooking the beautiful Mhlambanyatsi Valley are 12 private Huts/Rondavels.

Each Rondavel includes one double and one single bed with a cold-water basin and is located near to the ablution block.

  


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Activities at Sondzela Backpackers

From R120.00

Mountain Bike Hire (per hour)

Hire a mountain bike to get up close and personal to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary's rich flora and fauna. Bikes are well maintained and available at Mlilwane Rest Camp Reception.

Mountain Biking in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular game-viewing activitiy along a series of trails and roads.

 

Enjoy a gentle hourly ride along the plains or a 3-4 hour mountain bike trail into some of the most beautiful mountains in Swaziland.

 

Guests are also welcome to use their own mountain bike at no extra charge or guided mountain bike hire is also available.

 

Mlilwane is also the home of the extremely popular annual Nedbank Swaziland's Imvelo MTB Classic mountain bike race which draws cyclists from afar. The event offers marked trails of different distances and levels of difficulty to ensure that everybody is catered for and is a fun day out for all with the added bonus of perhaps winning a prize to boot! This exciting event takes place in June and includes a category for children called the 'Hoglet Race'.

 

 

 


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From R150.00

Guided Mountain Biking (per hour)

Enjoy Swazi-guided mountain biking through Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mountain Biking in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular activity which enables guests to experience nature up close and personal from a series of trails and roads.

 

Enjoy a Swazi-guided hourly mountain bike ride along the plains or a 3-4 hour mountain bike trail into some of the most beautiful mountains in Swaziland.

 

Mlilwane is also the home of the extremely popular annual Nedbank Swaziland's Imvelo MTB Classic mountain bike race which draws cyclists from afar. The event offers marked trails of different distances and levels of difficulty to ensure that everybody is catered for and is a fun day out for all with the added bonus of perhaps winning a prize to boot! This exciting event takes place in June.

 

Guests with their own bike are also welcome to use the roads and trails within the park at no extra charge.

 

 

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From R105.00

Umphakatsi Cultural Experience

Visit Mlilwane's neighbouring real Chief's Village to experience authentic Swazi culture.

Enjoy a hands-on experience of our neighbouring lady chief 'Inkhosikati' in her homestead 'Umphakatsi' - a very real glimpse of Swaziland's culture that will leave you with a newfound respect and basic understanding of the Swazi way of life.

 

Your guide, who will hand the ladies in your party traditional Swazi cloths 'Emahiya' to wrap around their waists, greets you at Mlilwane's main gate. The homestead is a short drive from the main gate and a short walk from Mlilwane's boundary fence. 

 

Before entering the Inkhosikati's homestead 'Liguma', you are requested to remove your shoes. On entry, the Inkhosikati and the village children, often wearing traditional clothing, will warmly welcome you. The standard Swazi greeting to the Inkosikati is 'Nkosi'.

 

The Inkhosikati has a vibrant, energetic and infectious mannerism and not only talks you through how the huts and traditional items are made but also teaches you the siSwati words for them. She encourages interaction; so ladies try your hand at grinding maize and plaiting mountain grass or gents, join the children in Swazi song and dance.

 

This is both informative and memorable - a taste of true Swazi hospitality - and should not be missed!

 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY INFO PDF


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From R305.00

Sunrise/Sunset Game Drive (2hr)

Enjoy a Swazi-guided Sunrise or Sunset game drive through Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Embark on one of Mlilwane's open Game Viewer vehicles with a trained Swazi guide to explore Mlilwane's nature-rich plains.

 

Apart from abundant bird life and nesting water birds, there are a number of animal species to be seen including Hippo, Crocodile, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Warthog, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Klipspringer and Blesbok.

 

Seldom seen, but present in the reserve are the ever-elusive Leopard and a variety of smaller mammals including Bushbaby, Mongoose, Aardwolf, Genet, Porcupine and Civet. 

 

Tea/coffee and a snack is included on the Sunrise Game Drive which offers a wonderful opportunity to observe and take stunning pictures of the reserve and its residents in the early morning light.

 

A drink is included on the Sunset Game Drive which takes guests towards the infamous Execution Rock to enjoy the sunset over the mountains and plains. 

 

 

Mlilwane Species Information:

 

Mlilwane Fauna Species List

 


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From R240.00

Game Drive (1.5hr)

Embark on one of Mlilwane's open Game Viewer vehicles with an Swazi guide to explore Mlilwane's nature-rich plains.

Apart from abundant bird life and nesting water birds, there are a number of animal species to be seen including Hippo, Crocodile, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Warthog, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Klipspringer and Blesbok.

 

Seldom seen, but present in the reserve are the ever-elusive Leopard and a variety of smaller mammals including Bushbaby, Mongoose, Aardwolf, Genet, Porcupine and Civet. 

 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY INFO PDF

 

Mlilwane Species Information:

 

Mlilwane Fauna Species List

 

 

 

 

 


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From R105.00

Guided Services (per hour)

Enlist the help of a local Swazi guide to explore Mlilwane according to your area of interest.

Mlilwane has a team of a  Swazi guides whose knowledge will enhance your particular interest. Please note the price excludes equipment hire.

 

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From R200.00

Guided Birding Walk (2.5hr)

Enjoy an Swazi-guided Bird Walk through Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Includes bottled water.

Departing from Mlilwane Rest Camp, your Swazi guide will take you on a trail through Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary where you'll have the chance to spot a wide variety of bird life.

 

See if you can spot Black, Crowned and Fish-Eagle, a wide variety of Kingfisher species, Red Bishop, Bee-Eaters, Purple-Crested Touraco and at least three species of Robin-chat to name just a few of the hundreds of species of birds found at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

 

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Self-Guided Walking Trails - FREE

Enjoy a self-guided hike through Mlilwane's game-studded plains free of charge.

 A network of self-guided trails - traverse through the variety of habitats on Mlilwane.

 

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the plains where a variety of game is often found including Wildebeest, Zebra, Blesbok, Kudu, Impala, Warthog to mention a few, or  try the harder trails leading up to the infamous Rock of Execution. Remember to sign the hiker's register and indemnity before walking.

 

 


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Nature Education - FREE

Visit Mlilwane's Interpretation Centre to gain a better understanding of Swaziland's natural heritage free of charge

Further your knowledge by visiting the skull room, read about rhino salvage operations, poaching and anti-poaching efforts and the habitats of Mlilwane.


 


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Swimming - FREE

Take a dip in Mlilwane's beautiful swimming pool with stunning views.

Mlilwane's swimming pool is located close to the Rest Camp's braai/bbq area and children's play area. 

Please note it is the parent/guardian's responsibility to supervise their child at all times while swimming. Customers use the swimming pool at their own risk. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is not liable for any injuries.


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Children's Play Area - FREE

Mlilwane offers a set of children's swings close to the bbq/braai area and swimming pool.

Please note the swings are for children's use only and must be supervised by an adult. Mlilwane is not liable for any injuries.


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Self-Drive Roads - FREE

View a wide range of wildlife from the comfort of your own vehicle on Mlilwane's self-drive roads.

Apart from abundant bird life and nesting water birds, there are a number of animal species to be seen including Hippo, Crocodile, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Warthog, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Klipspringer and Blesbok.

 

Seldom seen, but present in the reserve are the ever-elusive Leopard and a variety of smaller mammals including Bushbaby, Mongoose, Aardwolf, Genet, Porcupine and Civet.

 

 


more info  

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Dining at Sondzela Backpackers

Dining at Sondzela

Enjoy a delicious breakfast or home-cooked dinner at Sondzela Backpackers. Please note guests are also able to make use of Sondzela's kitchen should they prefer to self-cater.

Breakfast at Sondzela

 

Sondzela Backpackers offers a light continental breakfast for guests. This breakfast is prepared by Swazi hosts outside on an open fire and includes eggs, toast, and cereals. It is also served at the outside eating area with stunning views of Mlilwane. Guests wanting to experience Swazi culture can try out the indengane, a thin porridge prepared by boiling mealie meal, also served as part of this filling breakfast. Enjoy this local delicacy with sugar, milk or margarine...or all those together!

 

Just ZAR35.00 per person (2012 Rate)

 

Lunch at Mlilwane

 

Just a short walk away from Sondzela is Mlilwane's Hippo Haunt Restaurant where you can enjoy excellent value cuisine from its A La Carte Menu. Lunch is not available at Sondzela itself. Prices vary - please see Mlilwane Dining Options for further details.

 

Dinner at Sondzela

 

Sondzela Backpackers also offers plated home cooked dinners. These are prepared on an open fire at the outside Braai area. Meals range from Swazi bush braais which include venison to potjies (stews) prepared by your Swazi hosts.  

 

Just ZAR55.00 per person (2012 Rate)

 

How to Book

 

Breakfast and dinner are served daily at Sondzela. Simply put down your name for the meals beforehand (the previous night for breakfast and in the morning for supper) and prepare for a hearty feast among nature.


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Directions for Sondzela Backpackers

Directions from Lavumisa/Golela Border

 Distance +-174 km; approx driving time 2hrs.

 

• Travel 64 km to Big Bend and continue to Manzini – Approx 84 km.

• Drive through Manzini and follow signs to Mbabane – this will bring you directly onto the Manzini / Mbabane highway.

• Travel +-20 km on the highway.

• Take the 2nd off ramp (“Lobamba, Elangeni and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary”).

• Turn left towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

 

Option 1

 

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s/Malkerns. After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Mahamba Border

Distance approx. 145km; approx driving time 1hr45.

 

• Travel past Nhlangano and Hlatikhulu and join the Mbabane / Manzini highway about 3km before Manzini. The distance from the border to Manzini is approx. 115 km.

• Turn left onto highway towards Mbabane

• Travel +-17 km on the highway.

• Take the 2nd off ramp (“Lobamba, Elangeni and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary”).

• Turn left towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Option 1

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to Sondzela +- 2km from Sangweni Gate.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Drive for approx 3 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Matsamo/Jeppes Reef Border

Distance approx. 135 km; approx driving time 2hrs.

 

• Drive through PIGGS PEAK (40 km) and continue to the Oshoek border / Mbabane highway (50km).

• Turn left onto the highway towards Mbabane. Travel approx 15km to MBABANE. This becomes the bypass road.

• Ngwenya Glass turnoff approx 5km to the right. Good place to visit - open from 9am to 4pm from border – very worth a visit.

 

There are 2 directions to the park:

 

Option 1

 

• Travel +- 8 km on the highway.

• Take MR103 off ramp (to Sun International Hotels, Lobamba and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary).

• Travel +- 11km past the Royal Swazi Sun, Lugogo and Ezulwini Hotels, the craft markets, Gables Shopping Centre (Pick ‘n Pay) and Happy Valley Motel.

 

Option 2

 

• Travel +-17 km on the highway.

• Take Lobamba / Elangeni off ramp (also signposted “Mlilwane”).

• Turn right under highway towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• You will pass Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right.

 

Then:

 

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Alternative Route

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Alternative Route

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s/Malkerns.

After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge


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Directions from Ngwenya/Oshoek Border

Distance approx. 49km; approx driving time 40min.

 

• Ngwenya Glass turnoff approx 5km from border – very worth a visit!

• Follow the main road from the Border to Mbabane (about 20 km). Please beware of road works at the moment.

• Continue on the road from the border – this becomes the bypass road.

 

There are 2 directions to the Park:

Option 1.

 

• Travel +- 8 km on the highway.

• Take MR103 off ramp (to Sun International Hotels, Lobamba and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary).

• Travel +- 11km past the Royal Swazi Sun, Lugogo and Ezulwini Hotels, the craft markets, Gables Shopping Centre (Pick ‘n Pay) and Happy Valley Motel.

 

Option 2

 

• Travel +-17 km on the highway.

• Take Lobamba / Elangeni off ramp (also signposted “Mlilwane”).

• Turn right under highway towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• You will pass the Parliament Buildings and Memorial Park.

 

Then:

 

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Alternative Route

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs)

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Alternative Route

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s / Malkerns. After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela backpackers – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Emahlatini (Houtkop)/Sicunusa

Distance approx. 77 km; approx driving time 1hr.

 

From Piet Retief

 

• As you approach Piet Retief from Ermelo / Amsterdam, Turn left into Theo Mocke Street at the new Spur / garage complex.

• Travel +- 500m.

• Turn right (signboard reads “Emahlatini via Klein Vrystaat”) and continue straight on to the border post - approx 20km.

 

From Sicunusa Border

 

• Travel on new road past Mankayane for +- 45km to join the Bhunya / Malkerns road at a traffic circle.

• Go ¾ of the way around the circle; take the road towards Malkerns / Manzini.

• Travel +- 13km.

• Turn left to Malkerns (M27) (if you pass Swazi Candles you’ve gone too far).

 

Option 1

 

• Travel +- 7km past a shopping area, the Malkerns police station, a number of botanical nursery’s and Malandela’s Restaurant / Gone Rural).

• Turn left at "T" junction.

• Travel +- 5 km.

• Turn left at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary sign onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Sangweni Gate of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

• The Rest Camp is +- 3km from Sangweni Gate.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Drive for approx 3 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Lomahasha/Namaacha Border

Distance +-140 km; approx driving time 1hr30.

 

• From the border travel past Simunye Sugar Estates, through Hlane Royal National Park and continue to Manzini.

• Drive through Manzini and follow signs to Mbabane – this will bring you directly onto the Manzini / Mbabane highway.

• Travel +-20 km on the highway.

• Take the 2nd off ramp (“Lobamba, Elangeni and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary”).

• Turn left towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Option 1

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s/Malkerns. After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Mananga Border

Distance approx. 132 km; approx driving time 2hrs.

 

• From the border you travel a few km and the road will turn left towards Mhlume.

• Cross over the traffic circle and travel to Tambankulu.

• Cross over traffic circle, continue straight.

• At the T-junction turn right and travel +- 85km past Simunye Sugar Estates / town (+-15km); through Hlane Royal National Park and continue to Manzini.

• Drive through Manzini and follow signs to Mbabane – this will bring you directly onto the Manzini / Mbabane highway.

• Travel +-20 km on the highway.

• Take the 2nd off ramp (“Lobamba, Elangeni and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary”).

• Turn left towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Option 1

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s/Malkerns. After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge


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Directions from Mhlumeni/Goba Border

Distance +-120 km; approx driving time 1hr30.

 

• From the border travel to Siteki – approx 19km.

• Turn right towards Manzini at petrol station.

• Turn left at the T-junction towards Manzini.

• Drive through Manzini and follow signs to Mbabane – this will bring you directly onto the Manzini / Mbabane highway.

• Travel +-20 km on the highway.

• Take the 2nd off ramp (“Lobamba, Elangeni and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary”).

• Turn left towards Lobamba and continue up the hill +- 1,5km.

• At the traffic circle, keep left, passing the Parliament Buildings (on the left) and Memorial Park (on the right).

• Turn left at the next intersection.

• Pass the Caltex filling station on your left and travel +-500m.

 

Option 1

 

• Turn right to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to the Rest Camp, Reilly’s Rock or Sondzela Backpackers, where gate entry is paid.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Turn right towards Malandela’s/Malkerns. After approx 4 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Directions from Sandlane/Nerston Border

Distance approx. 76km; approx driving time 1hr30.

 

• The border post is ± 17kms from Amsterdam.

• Warning: the road inside Swaziland is narrow and winding with potholes in places. It is also used by timber logging trucks.

• Travel ± 35km to Bhunya (wood pulp mill).

• Turn right towards Manzini at the pulp mill.

• Approx 10 km from Bhunya there is a traffic circle – go half way around and travel +- 13km

• Turn left to Malkerns (M27) (if you pass Swazi Candles you’ve gone too far).

 

Option 1

 

• Travel +- 7km past a shopping area, the Malkerns police station, a number of botanical nursery’s and Malandela’s Restaurant / Gone Rural).

• Turn left at "T" junction.

• Travel +- 5 km.

• Turn left at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary sign onto a dirt road.

• Travel +- 5 km to Mlilwane’s Sangweni Gate (Open 24 hrs).

• Reception at the gate is open from 06h00 – 17h00. After 17h00 the night guard will allow you to enter and direct you to Sondzela +- 2km from Sangweni Gate.

 

Option 2

 

• Continue along this road for approx 5km – past the main entrance to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and carry on until you get to Mahlanya vegetable market on your left.

• Drive for approx 3 km turn right at Vickery Seedlings (you will see a small sign to Big Game Parks reservations office and Sondzela Backpackers).

• Follow the dirt road until you get to a gate with a grass hut – tell the guard that you are going to Sondzela – drive 200m until you see the Sondzela sign at the parking area of the main lodge.


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Reviews at Sondzela Backpackers

Liz Eldridge - USA on 02 October 2012

Sondzela was terrific, not at all what I expected from a backpackers. And the staff were marvelous. The beehive hut at Mlilwane Main Camp, and the mountain biking, were fun, too. I'm very glad that after all these years I finally took the time to experience a Swazi park.

Highbury High School - South Africa on 28 September 2012

I would like to say a sincere thank-you for all your help in arranging the bookings for Mlilwane & Sondzela. The boys and staff thoroughly enjoyed the stay and we were certainly well fed! I really enjoyed sleeping in the beehive hut at Mlilwane a true Swazi experience

Ellie Rhebergen - Holland on 30 March 2012

We visited Sondzela in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011, each time we stayed a week or more in one of the rondavels with a beatiful view. The staff is very friendly and the food is lovely. This is the only park we know were one can walk freely, even without a guide, amongst the animals. The place is very central in Swaziland. Within walking distance one can take public transport to all over the country.

Disy Corp - France on 14 August 2012

This very clean backpackers is really nice for relaxing and walking on a safety area, while having easily the possibility to see zebras, hippos and even crocodiles. The kitchen is well organised if you want to cook by yourself but you can be also be served a tasty and equilibrated dinner. The swiiming pool was to cold but ... it was winter anyway!

Alex - USA on 26 May 2012

This is your chance to stay in a comfortable place, for a very reasonable price, and to be surrounded by all types of antelope, zebras, wild hogs, and even one peaceful-looking huge crocodile in a lake nearby. We loved this place!

Anita Smith - UK on 07 March 2012

Really enjoyed my stay at Sondzela - it really does offer amazing value for money and what an amazing location! Loved the warthogs!

Adrian V - Philippines on 26 February 2012

dont think for the money you spend there to stay cant be beaten . i stay there when ever i am around swaziland at one stage i been there for 3 weeks and i love it up there .i have no complains about the staf or the rooms .just remember you stay at the backpacker in the best suroundings and safe its value for money.hope to be back for visit in 2013 all the way from the philippines.

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