After leaving Jo-burg early, we travelled across to Swaziland. The boarder wasn't too busy and we got through without any problem. Swazi is a little country with few roads, but plenty of cows! Not kept in fields like in England or even tethered to the common like in Guernsey no just roaming around on the grass verge and hard shoulder! Every few miles there was a sign saying high accident area, yet most of the time there wasn't a house or people in sight just lots of cows ? go figure!
We travelled past the capital Mbabane and headed through the next biggest town Manzini, stopping briefly to shop! The high street was reminiscent of Tooting (for those of you familiar) on a Saturday, not very big but hugely busy full of people selling things on the edge of the pavement and not looking as they cross the road!
We drove through Hlane Royal national park (think Richmond park but with lions). There is a main road running through the middle and lots of tracks leading off for animal viewing. The main road is used by commuters from one of the main Mozambique boarders to Mbabane city centre, there are no fences so it was quite amusing to see a sign asking cyclists and pedestrians to beware of the elephants and lions crossing!
We also passed through some of the sugar cane plantations, this is vast!
We did some more animal spotting in the Mbuluzi game reserve, there were lots of Warthogs running around and shy Giraffe. We also saw some Impala. We spent the night in the campsite near the river, it was very rustic! We were the only ones there as the staff didn't think there would be a water delivery (the place is so remote the water has to be brought up by tractor to fill the local tank) but as we have our own water it was ok. As it happens the water was delivered that evening so there was plenty. There was also plenty of fire wood so J.P made a huge fire enough to cook and keep us warm, actually it was really hot!! This camp is also completely open so I was quite glad of the roof top tent as we could hear the hippos "singing" for a lot of the night. As there was lots of water we managed to have hot showers in the morning. You have to light a fire under the boiler and wait an hour or so but it was lovely and warm ? (I told you it was rustic!)
Next we travelled through the Mlawula nature reserve. This is more about plants (notice my sad attempt at proving I was looking at the plants, although I had to get out to take the photo which was a little scary as the Leopards were supposed to be around that area!) and birds than animals, but we did spot a nursery group of Impala (apparently all the kids stick together in one group and the adults take it in turns to look after them!) It was really hot so all the crocks were hiding as the river was almost dry. The scenery again is quite amazing, there are several caves that have been formed halfway up a cliff side and the climb up to the top camp is very steep. They have built a new luxury lodge at the top sight it was ready nearly two years ago but unfortunately whoever designed it forgot to put in a water pipe!!! Not sure the 5* guests would be happy to wait for the tractor and then light a fire and wait for it to get hot like us! So its still empty ? and deserted ? so we could look around. It all looks very posh and the views are amazing.