DOMBEYA GAME RESERVE
nature at your doorstep
Please get in touch with us over email if you'd like to make a booking!
Email: or send a whats app to +268 76025277 Thanks!
Establishing the Reserve
Dombeya's Self-Catering Lodges
ABOUT THE GAME RESERVE
Peaceful Retreat- Located in central Eswatini, Dombeya Game Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful retreat.
With gentle rolling hills and Mliba Mountain in the distance, Dombeya is a gorgeous get-away, which is easy to access from town.
Ecology- We purchased Dombeya in 2014 and spent several years re-establishing its ecological integrity. Prior to this, the land was used for non-intensive cattle grazing, and it was under significant threat from poaching and illegal tree felling, for firewood. We re-introduced many indigenous species of wildlife and launched an active alien and invasive plant control programme. Dombeya is now in excellent ecological condition. In 2018 and 2021, we received generous grants from the UNDP 's SNPAS Programme (Strengthening the National Protected Area System in Eswatini) to expand and support protected areas throughout the country.
Our Conservation Model- Dombeya uses a model that links carefully controlled, low-density, home-development with conservation. There are a total of 18 title-deed home sites within the Reserve, and site owners can choose to build a home and live full-time in Dombeya. Site owners pay monthly levies, which pay for the operational costs of the Game Reserve- this provides a sustainable income source for onging, quality managament.
Wildlife Estate- With diverse wildlife and ecology, Dombeya Game Reserve is a wonderful place to call home.
Each site has a unique and beautiful view of the bushveld. The sites are private, and homeowners enjoy living with nature all around. Occasionally, a site becomes available for re-sale; please contact us for additional details. There are currently 2 stunning home sites and a 3-bedroom home available for sale.
Guest Lodges- We have 2 luxury guest lodges in the Reserve. Each lodge is self-catering, with 2 bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. The Lodges are extremely comfortable, with large open floor plans and verandahs. Each lodge has a private swimming pool and a lovely braai (bbq) area, and guests are welcome to explore the Reserve. Feel free to take your own game drives or to explore our extensive network of walking trails.
Wildlife- There is lots of wildlife in the Reserve- giraffe, kudu, nyala, waterbuck, zebra, impala, warthog, wildebeest, bushbuck, duiker, steenbok, caracal, jackal and lots more. Without the Big 5, Dombeya is a gorgeous place to explore on your own (no guides needed or provided). Our roads are all gravel and- while high clearance vehicles are helpful for spotting wildlife- they are not necessary.
Overninght Stays Only- We regret that we don't have any day visitor facilities- apologies!
Contact- To visit Dombeya Game Reserve, guests need to book an overnight stay at our Lodges- please enquire for more details: Email: Text/Cell: +268 76025277
In 2018, biologists from the University of Eswatini conducted a survey in Dombeya and found a species of bat not previously recorded in the country. Welwitsch's bat is a type of vesper bat with a diet of aerial insects.
Brown-veined white butterflies often migrate during summer, heading toward the Indian Ocean. There was a beautiful migration through Dombeya in January 2020.
Dombeya is working with the Universities of Cypress and Eswatini on a research project studying cross-breeding and geography of Red and Yellow fronted tinkerbirds.
In early 2020, researchers from the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen, Denmark conducted a study on moth diversity- they identified several new species of moth not yet known to science! They expect to publish research articles on their findings in the coming years.
A Grey Waxbill (Estrilda perreini) along the River Trail in Dombeya Game Reserve. These monogamous birds live on edges of forests and thickets, often in riverine areas, and-historically- their distribution did not include Eswatini, though they are quite common now.
We have frequent sightings in Dombeya, and many believe their distribution is growing as they follow the regional expansion of alien and invasive plants. The waxbills are lovely to watch and have a high-pitched “psee-psee” call.
Dombeya is also a wonderful place to find Pink-thoated twinspots, below, which have an extemely limited range (Eswatini, a small piece of South Africa and southern Mozambique).
Artifacts can be found all over Eswatini, and we have found many in Dombeya. We have found dozens of deep, grinding bowls and stones, which are estimated to be a maximum of 300-400 years old (maize was introduced in South Africa in the 1600s).
We have also found many stone tools and scrapers from the Middle Stone Ages, as above. A local archaelogist estimates these to be ~ 70,000 years old based on their size and technology. A stone smoking bowl was also found in Dombeya. When used, it was attached to a horn, as shown in the picture, below (photo courtesy of Bob Forrester).
Please- enjoy these artifacts if you see them- and please leave them in the bush!
Dombeya is home to a wide variety of wildlife. It is common to hear the call of hyena and jackal at night.
Above, caracal (l) and genet (r) are captured on a motion sensor camera in Dombeya.
Below, a kudu bull and giraffe are released as part of Dombeya's wildlife re-introduction programme (2015-2018)
OUR GUEST LODGES
We have 2 beautiful guest lodges available for overnight stays: Mkhiweni and Shonalanga Lodges.
The lodges are self-catering, with well-equipped kitchens and big, outdoor braai (bbq) areas, stacked with firewood.
Each lodge sleeps 4 adults, though we can accomodate additional children on mattresses. Each lodge has 2 bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms, and a lovely private swimming pool.
Contact us to enquire about dates! E:
2018, 2019 & 2020 SUPERHOST
2020, 2021 BEST VALUE AWARD
Self Game Drives
If you are a homeowner, or visiting one of the Lodges, you are welcome to explore the Reserve on our network of gravel game drive roads. It is an wonderful experience to set your own pace, stop and have a picnic, or watch a herd of animals up close...enjoy!
Hiking and Walking Trails
We have about 10 kms of trails in the Reserve, which are lovely for walking. The trails weave in and out of the road network, so you can easily hop on and off. We recommend spraying with peaceful sleep and ask you to stay on the trails- thank you.
Each guest lodge has a private swimming pool. Please note that there are no pool covers, fences or lifeguards, and children must be under adult supervision at all times.
Dombeya has recorded 209 species of birds (as of 2021), and we are constantly expanding our bird list. Please ask if you'd like us to send you a current list.
Keep you eyes opened for Pink-thoated twinspots, Grey waxbills and several species of migratory Coucous. Birdwatching is best at dawn and dusk.
Take Only Photos
Please do not remove anything from the Reserve. If you see something wonderful, please take a photo and share it with us, and leave the item for the next person to enjoy!
We have found many artifacts in the Reserve...stone tools, grinding bowls, and smoking pipes....please tell us about your find, and please leave it exactly where you found it- thank you for protecting our shared heritage.
Logistics & Note on Covid-19
We're about 30 minutes from shops and restaurants, so please bring all your groceries and supplies with you.
We are committed to the health of our visitors and staff. We offer "contact-free" tourism, with many precautions to ensure your safety. Dombeya uses a 100% self-check-in policy, with no face-to-face arrival procedure. We adhere to international, best practices on hygiene and safety and look forward to your visit!
THINGS TO DO IN THE REGION
In the Region- Ezulwini & Malkerns
About a 45 minute drive from Dombeya, guests can enjoy lovely crafts shops, cafes and restaurants. Visit House on Fire- Eswatini's eclectic venue for the annual Bushfire Music Festival, have a delicious meal at Malendela's Farm Pub, Vickery's Cafe or Sambani Restaurant, and enjoy crafts shopping at the Gone Rural complex, Swazi Candles or at the many roadside markets (photograph: beautiful hand-crafted bags from Khokho in the Malendels Crafts Shops).
Other Natural Areas
Eswatini has many beautiful places to visit- for all fitness and adrenaline levels. Try hiking or booking a canopy tour in Malalotja, visit one of the country's stunning rivers or caves, or try "slackpacking" trails in the lowveld with All Out Africa. There is wonderful whitewater rafting on the Great Usutu River and outstanding hiking at Eswatini's famous Sibebe Mountain, an enormous, vertical sheet of granite (with some gentle, alternative trails; photograph: view of Malalotja National Park)
Nkwali Construction: Pride in Quality
Nkwali Construction is based at Dombeya Game Reserve. We specialise in ecologically-sensitive custom builds and are experienced with turn-key developments. We can help you plan and build your home- or weekend lodge- from start to finish. We have built all of the 7 homes and lodges in Dombeya Game Reserve, as well as several at Mbuluzi Game Reserve. For more information, please email:
"This place is magical!! We started the braai/fireplace and enjoyed the pool until sunset!! During nightfall it was very peaceful with all the animal noises in the background. Like everyone else, we should have stayed longer!"