We arrived late in the afternoon at Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Eswatini (Swaziland) in 2012 (https://biggameparks.org/properties/mlilwane-wildlife-sanctuary-2) after driving up from South Africa. This pioneering conservation area provides important education facilities for children and welcomes visitors from around the world. Accommodation is in traditional huts which are very spacious inside and comfortable with ensuite toilet and washing facilities.
After unpacking we walked to the main Lodge/Reception Area, passed wild animals like Impala and Warthog that wandered untroubled around the site. There are no big cat predators here so they - and us! - were quite safe walking about. Shortly, we arrived outside the Lodge where a camp fire burnt that never went out and we had dinner.
The next day, we set off on a bush walk, past the inevitable warthog as well as a grim reminder of why this sanctuary had been set up. As we wandered in the beautiful countryside led by our guides at a gentle pace, we saw Hartebeest in the distance and some Kudu quite close by, not at all bothered by us.
Further along the trail we were fortunate to see some birds, such as a River Cormorant – they really are quite small, looking almost like a bat from a back view when perched near water! We also saw Southern Masked Weaver birds, sitting in a thorn tree, and a warbler watching us warily. In the distance we saw herds of Wilderbeest
In our stroll through what looked like parkland – but it wasn’t! –we saw a notice that seemed strange to us, warning of hidden dangers. But when we got to the lake we didn’t see any Crocodiles, only a Hippo hiding in the reeds. Unbeknown to us then, the Crocs were much nearer to home! The last lap back to the Lodge seemed like a walk in the Big Country with horsemen gently rounding-up cattle (Wilderbeest) before going home for tea.
The sense of idyll was rudely dispelled on the back veranda of the Lodge, overlooking some water, where we met later for drinks. There were huge crocodiles waiting for dinner!! And a few birds like White-Faced Ducks, and Egyptian Geese, and some Sacred Ibis as well as a Green-backed Heron skulking almost under the veranda. Surprisingly, the Crocs took no interest in them what so ever.
After dinner, as the sun went down, we strolled outside to sit round the camp fire. Nearby were some antelope grazing peacefully. Then something magical happened. Sit still they said! Don’t worry! Don’t move! An antelope came and joined the group briefly peering over my shoulder, unafraid. After it had wandered away, we slowly went back to our huts, looking for the owls that were hooting in the trees near where we slept.