Kwa Madwala, Place of Rock in Swazi

Kwa Madwala lies on the southern side of Kruger National Park and is home to the fabulous Manyatta Rock Camp.  Here, comfort comes as standard along with elegant African touches and commanding views over the surrounding bush from the stunning hilltop location.  Enjoy the exhilarating “big five” game viewing experiences and soak up the tranquility of this unique hilltop camp.


Located in lowveld bush to the south of Kruger National Park, this 4000 hectare conservancy is home to a vast array of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.  The reserve is a mixture of lowveld savannah and thick bushveld making for a highly varied biome.  Through hard work and perseverance, Kwa Madwala today boasts a hugely diverse variety of wildlife, both big and small.  The guides take pleasure in showing you not only the big 5 of course, but also in highlighting the unusual, the small and the rare.


Kwa Madwala has an innovative approach to game viewing experiences and offers more than the usual four wheel game drive.  Why not try an exhilarating arial safari flight by Microlight aircraft, flying low over the bush and up to the Crocodile River on the southern border of Kruger.  See the African bush and wildlife from a totally different perspective.  Or get really close to nature and experience the thrill of an Elephant Back Safari across the reserve.  Ranger led daily bush walks are very popular with guests and are a great way to get up close and learn more about the flora and fauna.


For those with time on their hands, Kwa Madwala also offers a 7 day “behind the scenes” conservation experience where participants get to see and better understand the work of the rangers and reserve as a whole.  To date a total of 223 bird species including 7 different eagle varieties and numerous kestrels, hawks and kites have been recorded.  Kwa Madwala is home to the rare and elusive Bat Hawk which preys on the two bat colonies found on the reserve.  The Bat Hawk is crupuscular and only seen in the early morning or late afternoon / early evening.


The reserve’s enviable location close to Swaziland, Mozambique and Kruger National Park affords the chance for visitors to explore the diversity of this region.  A range of guided day and half-day excursions are offered from Manyatta Rock Camp and a recommended minimum four night stay is necessary to fully appreciate the reserve and surrounding areas.


Kwa Madwala Private Game Reserve in South Africa is a leading provider of conservation experience programs designed for those taking a gap year, taking time out from work or just for the holiday of a lifetime.  Located just south of world famous Kruger National Park, Kwa Madwala welcomes applications from those interested in learning more about the African wildlife, conservation and eco-tourism.  The programs are fun, educational, highly varied and at times challenging; where participation adds to the sustainability of the reserve as a whole.  Choose from a variety of placement durations to suit your needs whilst career breakers can even upgrade accommodation to the 4 star Manyatta Rock Camp for more comfort.  Spending some time out on one of the programs is designed to be fun and rewarding with large helpings of adventure and once in a lifetime activities.  If you are an enterprising, independent person with an appreciation for Africa’s threatened wildlife and are willing to get your hands dirty, then Kwa Madwala might be the place for you.


Up until the 1920’s the Onderburg area encompassing modern day Kwa Madwala was pristine native bushveld with few farms, towns or inhabitants.  The topography of the region ranges between mixed grassland and thick bush interspersed by granite kopjies (hills) which are a feature of the area.  The nearest settlement to Kwa Madwala is present day Hectorspruit which was originally known as Majejane, taking its name after a local Swazi tribal chief.  The Onderburg area is very close to the Swaziland border and most local people are Swazi, who are very close in terms of language and customs to their more southerly neighbor, the Zulus.


In 1985 Jan Grobler bought an 800 hectare section of the farm “Lowhills” and developed it into a very successful cattle ranch through the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  He also realized that the natural beauty of the area far exceeded the financial gain of cattle farming and formed a vision for restoring the area to it natural rugged beauty for tourism.


With this in mind Jan started introducing a variety of indigenous animal game species onto the farm.  By the early 1990’s healthy populations of impala, bushbuck, nyala and zebra were established on the farm.  The old farmhouse was expanded to accommodate guests and renamed Gazebo Lodge.  Along with this transformation he visualized an exciting new potential in firstly hunting and later eco-tourism in this “Kruger Park south area” area.  It is through this vision that he created something different and special by developing a magnificent private conservancy with its unique Manyatta Rock Camp.  This unique hilltop camp must without a doubt be the true pride of Kwa Madwala and the Kruger Park south area.  In 1999 cattle farming was abandoned and the name changed to Kwa Madwala.  This truly African name means “the place of the rock”, in Swazi and is so much more descriptive of the area with its granite outcrops which reach a height of 513 m a.s.l. at Wilson’s Kop to the south-east of the main lodge.


Today the reserve covers an area of 4000 hectares (approximately 10,000 acres) in the heart of the “Kruger Park south” area.  The reserve boasts the “big 5” with healthy numbers of lion and leopard.  Expansions has taken the 4 star Manyatta Rock Camp to 28 units and a beautiful dining deck which affords stunning views out across the bush.  Jan Grobler’s original vision is now very well established and the reserve continues to pioneer through the introduction of Microlight aerial safari flights, elephant back safaris and gap year conservation.