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“Birder's Paradise”

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Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 4, 2013

If you like birds and/or Cycads, this is a must to visit. It is situated in a game reserve. There are short paths around the lodge through well established trees and natural vegetation with name plaques on a lot of the plants for identification. Unfortunately also a lot of invader trees. The history of the hotel is also fascinating to red - there are booklets in each room about it.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Andre S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 - 45 of 75 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2013

When you decide to return somewhere there is always the concern that it might spoil the memory of the first experience. Not the case here at all. I couldn't imagine coming to Swaziland and not staying here. By Swazi standards this accommodation is expensive but in my opinion worth every penny. Do not expect polished luxury (a previous reviewer mentions lack of plugs, bed size on the small size etc) what you are buying into here is the experience of stepping back in time, and that includes iron beds, a slightly worn Victorian ball and claw footed bath and brown water. I would describe it as a colonial homestead feel. Our "green" room was part of the separate 2 bed property complete with fireplace and lounge and wrap around verandah. The gardens of the property are absolutely delightful with amazing views and wildlife. As well as housing the Royal Botannical collection of Aloe it is also home to protected species of antelope so you can expect to see red and grey duiker (the tiniest species of deer) up, close and personal and a myriad of birdlife since it is policy to put out food for the birds. You can also see bush babies being fed at 6pm each evening. The two ladies that run the establishment, Ruth and Lizzie are charming with two enormous smiles. Unfortunately, I have to agree with previous reviewers that the food could be a lot better, particularly the red meat which was rather tough on both evenings that we were there. However this is a minor blip compared with the plusses. Tip: take your own wine and save some money. One of its main assets is location. Arriving at the main gate you have to drive a fair way going through two sets of gates and on your way you will see lots of animals; many different species of antelope and zebra. We arrived after dark and got lost despite the night guard's directions, so second tip: arrive before dark as it is quite stressful knowing you are lost and hoping they will send out a search party! Also arriving in daylight allows you to appreciate the spectacular setting. Of course you are already in the Milwane game reserve and there are plenty of activities to choose from. On our last trip we went down to the main camp where you can see hippo and crocodiles in the neighbouring waterholes. We were recommended by fellow guests to take the early morning bird walk but unfortunately didn't have time to do this (one to keep for next time). Also don't forget to go into the main building where there is a lot fascinating historical memorabilia and natural history information. If you like slick hotels this property won't be for you but I for one absolutely love the ambiance of this place and wouldn't want it changed in any way.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ladylumpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

It felt as if we had stepped back in time and were guests of the Reilly family rather than in an inn in the former family house. There were so many places to sit -- inside the sitting room, the main lodge, on the verandas and in the gardens -- that we kept on moving places. The gardens are lovely with an arboretum, cycad and aloe collections, with informative labels. Duikers and other small antelope graze on the lawns, and a family of bushbabies living in the palm trees that come down to be fed bananas each evening. The staff are very helpful. Ruth went out of her way to get me honey and lemon for a hot drink to ease my sore throat. The food was good and it was fun to meet the other guests around the fire. There are lots of walking trails from the lodge and you can walk down to see the roan antelope in the breeding program. If you want a modern hotel with all mod cons, this is not the place for you. But if you like a place with character and history, I highly recommend it. Highlight of my trip.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Melissa A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

Beautiful colonial house with firmly staff, pleasant food and an overall good experience, but the letdown was the huge amount of lights in the distance that distracted from the bush experience. The gardens are stunning and take a lot of work to maintain. It was amazing to be part of ths African history

Room Tip: All the rooms at Reilly rock were gorgeous looking!
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank travellingzimbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

We spent only one night in this lovely property full of historical and family memories. Yes, it is a bit old fashioned, but this is part of the charm!
We shared with another couple, which we did not know before, a separate 2 bed-room cottage (each bedroom had it's own bathroom!) with a common living room in between which we did not really use, because there was enough space in the main house. Absolute privacy is not the most important factor for us when travelling, the contact to other people from all around the world is a much more enriching experience! That's normally what you travel for!
In the evening a common typical african braai around a fire was organised with Mister Reilly taking part. This was really very romantic and we found that the food was very good!
Breakfast was served on a nice terrace and was also very good.
The property is nicely situated on top of the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and there are many trails you can walk with zebras and impalas all around.
A very nice experience, a bit pricey though!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank globetrotterLyon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013

lovely setting,very typical atmosphere.
staff is very friendly.
we had a nice braai with a good glas of wine and a hugh steak.
rooms are colonial style and you cannot expect them to be contempory but they had everything one needs good bed and shower with hot water.
go for the has been feeling and the location.
the lounge is a real museum with plenty of interesting artefacts.
the feeding of the bushbabys is an axellent way to meet these shy animals witch you can harly spot in nature.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank 794margot01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

This was an overnight stay in Swaziland in route to an area south west of Kruger N.P. An exquisite B & B on a pristine hilltop on an old plantation. Arriving, you are greeted by varieties of antelope surrounding the property as you meander through the fields towards the secluded hilltop destination. Make no mistake about it, this is your destination, this is why you are here, there is nothing else to do and you will be secluded, pampered, relaxed and comfortable. Incredible views surround you while you hike the small trails surrounding the lodgings.This is a comfortable and quiet surrounding to commune with nature, relax, read, enjoy good home cooked food, visit with guests or watch wildlife.
The ladies will greet you, carry your luggage, and get you settled in to your cozy rooms or suite. Friendly, they will make you feel welcomed immediately. You'll see these ladies over and over, from check in, to drinks before dinner, to serving dinner and ready for breakfast. They know service, they know local food and customs and will delight you with their attentiveness to your needs. Give them a big tip and you'll see joy in their face and exuberance in the dance as they know you are satisfied with their service.
Clean, comfortable rooms, fresh linens but don't expect wi-fi or television. You are secluded. You step back in time a hundred years + to a quiet and different time period frozen on top of this mountain ridge in Swaziland looking over a beautiful valley. Breakfast/ lunch on the veranda overlooking the valley watching birds feed at the many feeders and trees. Beautiful!
The food is delicious and the meals prepared as if you are an African family, authentic and savory. Nothing too eclectic, so a good meal will be enjoyed by all.
On the opportunity we had to stay here, we arrived in late October during a short rainfall, this didn't matter as the ladies were there to welcome us and show us to our suite. A fire was started in the lodge where all the guests, all 7 of us, gathered before dinner for drinks, conversation, reading or warming by the fireplace. Very comfortable settings and interesting antiquties to explore while visiting.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank jmufan24401
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge

Address: | Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Mbabane, Swaziland
Location: Swaziland > Hhohho District > Mbabane
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Mbabane
Price Range: $156 - $205 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge is a colonial-style lodge which enjoys a commanding position in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland's pioneer conservation area. The lodge is set against the backdrop of the Nyonyane Mountain with views of the Ezulwini Valley. Within the gardens you'll find secluded spots where you can relax and enjoy the surrounding birdlife. There are a variety of optional extras that you can choose to get a feel for the area, such as open Land Rover tours, horse riding, mountain biking, traditional Swazi dancing, whitewater rafting and sight seeing. Location Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge is situated on a hill overlooking the Ezulwini Valley and Mlilwane Game Park in Swaziland. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge Swaziland/Mbabane

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