Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge is a relic of the past, and echoes the history of Swaziland and the Reilly family. The lodge was built of granite stone which was exchanged for an ox-wagon in the early 1900s by Mickey Reilly, one of the first white settlers in Swaziland. It has remained in the family ever since and is now managed by Ted and Liz Reilly, who have become pioneers for conservation and wildlife in the Swazi kingdom. It is located in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, the country's premier reserve which hosts an abundance of wildlife. In fact the Reilly farm was essentially converted into this sanctuary when Ted Reilly decided his 450-hectare farm could be used to conserve wildlife - since then the sanctuary has grown to 4560 hectares and has become Swaziland's beacon of conservation.
The lodge boasts spectacular views of the Ezulwini River Valley and is nestled around lush gardens teeming with birdlife. The original main house has 4 bedrooms, each opening out onto the verandah and the inviting gardens. All the rooms are en-suite, and there is a communal dining room and living room, each with a roaring fireplace to keep you warm at night. A short distance from the house lies the cottage which boasts 2 en-suite bedrooms as well as a communal lounge and fireplace. All the rooms are decorated individually and echo the colonial theme with artefacts and hand-carved wooden furniture - it really does feel like you are stepping back in time!
Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge oozes history throughout. The stone for the lodge was exchanged for an ox-wagon in the early 1900s and this main building is still standing! It was pioneered by Mickey Reilly, and is now run and managed by Ted and Liz, who have created the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary from what was once their private farm. The sanctuary is home to hippo, giraffe, crocodile, zebra, blue wildebeest, kudu, nyala, impala, warthog, waterbuck, reedbuck, steenbok, grey duiker, red duiker, klipspringer, blesbok, oribi and suni, as well as the elusive leopard. Game drives and bush walks can be organised, or you can explore the region by horseback or mountain bike. There are many attractions within the Ezulwini River Valley, such as the Mantenga Falls and white water rafting on the Usutu River. And by staying here, you are doing your bit for the conservation of Swaziland's reserves and animals.