Well it’s time to leave South Africa, just for a short while, well three nights to be precise, to visit the Kingdom Of Swaziland. The distance was 211 miles and took around 5hrs. We crossed the border at Jepp’s Reef and was immediately confronted by stunning scenery, which was so green and lush. Our journey took us to just outside the capital city of Mbabane, at a place called Silverstone Falls. Originally we were only going to stay two nights but after getting some great advice on Swaziland at the Destinations Travel Show we decided to stay another night. Our first day took us to Swazi Candles a great place to visit. Next it was the House On Fire, a great open air music venue. Although there was no music on when we visited there is plenty to see, also a good place to have a coffee. They have a large music festival once a year where around 20,000 people attend, Swazilands Glastonbury I suppose. Our final stop of the day was Mantenga Cultural Village where at 11:15 and 15:15 you can some great authentic Swazi singing and dance. Afterwards you can take a guided tour of a replica Swazi village. I would throughly recommend a visit.
Day 2 took us to Mkhaye Game Reserve a sanctuary for Rhinoceros. They do some great work in protecting this magnificent animal as there numbers are declining due to poaching. Our day started badly as the directions given from our lodge were pretty poor and we nearly did not get there in time. When we finally found the entrance no one was there to meet us. So we paid a friendly local 10 rand to top up his phone and we made a call to the tour company. Our guide Sibu eventually turned up in the most clapped out Land Rover you had ever seen. He told us to follow him into the park where we were to park our vehicle before embarking on the game drive. This was easier said than done as the antique Land Rover would not start, but after some perseverance it fired into life. Once inside it was not long before we saw our first Rhinoceros, two baby ones in fact, one black and one white, one was only a month old. They were being reared by hand by a ranger until they were old enough to let off into the bush.The reason being that currently there is a drought in Swaziland. There mothers were unable to produce enough milk due to lack of water. So the mothers abandoned their new born. Just to clarify black and white rhino are not denoted by colour but by the shape of there mouth, amongst others things. White being wide mouthed and the black having a more chiselled mouth. Next we saw at a water hole maybe nine or ten Rhino’s just whiling away the day. Sibu stopped the Land Rover turned off the engine (bad move) and got out of the vehicle to explain more about them. We then watched these magnificent beasts for quite a while. It was next that two or three Rhinos decided to take and interest in us and stood up out of the water, at which point Sibu looked very anxious indeed and made a beeline for the vehicle. Just when we thought they were going to charge (you guessed it) the Land Rover did not start. Nerves were a little fraught for a while but eventually it fired into life again and we were off. On our journey through the park we saw many deer, bird. Sibu also explained a lot about the trees and plant life which was very interesting indeed. He then took us to a clearing where we saw the most amazing sight. Around 16 giraffes eating the leaves off the tall trees, and we were right in the middle. They are the most graceful and beautiful creatures, but still look very bizarre indeed. A great day and a lot learned, thanks to Sibu.