West to East, Swaziland can be split up into four general areas. To the very west of the country is the mountainous Highveld with its rivers, waterfalls and gorges and a generally temperate climate that consists of warm, wet summers and dry winters, when the temperature can rise sharply during the day, but with cold nights. Next to the Highveld comes the Middleveld, which is at a lower altitude with lush, fertile valleys and a warm climate that is ideal for cultivating several crops. It is here that much of the country's agriculture occurs. Still further east is the sub-tropical Lowveld, which has two major export crops, sugar, and citrus that are each widely cultivated. There is also plenty of cattle farming in this region, much of which is typical African bush with plenty of indigenous wildlife. The smallest area is Lubombo, which runs along the eastern border with Mozambique. This subtropical region is mostly mountainous and supports abundant plant and animal life. The main activity is mixed farming.
Swaziland South has its share of each of the above natural areas, but relatively few Nature Reserves, the area mostly being taken over by farming. There is, though, one reserve in the southern half of the country, and that is the Mkhaya Game Reserve.This small private game reserve is located in south eastern part of the country and covers an area of approximately 7,500 hectares. The reserve is home to a great number of animal species, among them black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo, roan and sable antelope. This is one of the few places that you will find the indigenous and rare Nguni cattle. The name Mkhaya comes from the Mkhaya tree (a member of the Acacia family) which can be found throughout the park.
The Mkhaya Nature Reserve is particularly good for bird watching, and a number of rare species have been witnessed here, including the Goldentailed Woodpecker, the Purplecrested Lowrie and the Yellowspotted Nicator. Other species to be found here include the Redbilled Oxpecker, the Plumcoloured Starling, the Yellowbreasted Apalis and many others.