There were so many animals I looked forward to seeing at Hlane, like the lions and elephants, but also some of the smaller animals like the honey badger and colorful birds. As it turned out, we saw only large animals and two bird species, which is nothing to complain about.
When you visit Hlane, you are almost guaranteed to see the lions, white rhinos, and elephants. The park is not exceedingly large and it is fenced into three sections to provide better protection to the large animals, which means you search for a certain kind of animal in a certain area.
I went on the sunrise game drive and the weather was perfect. The drive started just as the sun came up, but cloud coverage made the day extremely overcast and kept the temperatures down.
The first area we visited was the lion area. As soon as we found the lions, we realized that the terrifying growling noises we had heard the previous day were coming from the lions. We found a family of five lions with year-old males and older females. The males’ manes were just starting to grow.
I had seen two lions in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, but they were sleeping and not very exciting. These five lions though were on the prowl, watching for antelope. Surprisingly, they behaved just like domestic cats, lying down to take a nap and lick their paws, and rub heads with their friends.
One thing I learned about lions is that they have black patches of fur behind their ears so that lions following behind can more easily see the lion in the front.
Check out the photos below of the lions I saw on my visit to Hlane.
Looking for game.
You can see the beginnings of this lion’s mane.
This one checked us out for a few minutes but never moved or showed real interest.
A good view of the black patch behind the lion’s ears.
The lionesses watching for game on the other side of their enclosure. They were more active than the males.
How many lions can you find? They blend in so well with the dead grass and trees.
The five together with another good ear view. They were talking via growls to a lion friend in quarantine on the other side of the fence.
If you go:
The only moment one of the lions looked like the terrifying beasts they can be.
Transportation from Manzini to Lomahasha or Simunye: E30-E35 (The khumbi will drop you at the gate and it is a short walk to the toll booth and then another short walk to the camp.)
Park entrance fee: E30 per walk in
Campsite per person: E105 (Huts start at about E450 per person sharing.)
Dinner: E100 (We took breakfast and lunch. Braai grates are available.)
Sunrise/sunset game drive: E335
Rhino drive: E240
Bird watching walking tour: E200
Stay tuned for elephant and rhino photos in the next few days!