We were excited to be crossing into a new country and the border procedures were straightforward enough, after the usual paperwork on both sides we were in the kingdom of Swaziland.
Our plan was to drive across the south, up the eastern side then across the north to exit this small country in the north west. We followed some roads less travelled in the south camping on our first night in front of a small rural police station. The local residents seemed more than happy to have us there and we made a friend in a little girl who had to be dragged kicking and screaming from our camp by her parents at bed time!
The next night we had similar luck and by asking some ladies selling produce at the side of the road we were escorted to the local health centre where we were permitted to camp with amazing views across the surrounding countryside. We talked politics here with our hosts learning about the plight of the Swazi people and their autocratic King. It was an amazing place and nice to get an insight into local life. Pam was invited to attend the morning service held in the clinic the next day and was treated to an energetic pastor leaping around the place, including onto a table and bashing his head on the ceiling in his enthusiasm.
From here we moved north and visited the national park of Hlane. We had some good rhino sightings here but it didn't have the scale of other parks we have visited.
It was after this that we drove into the village of Bolembu looking for somewhere to camp overnight before crossing back to South Africa the next day. We found a white guy with a theodolite surveying a building and asked him where we could stay. To our surprise he offered us his "flat", a small self contained annex adjoining his house. It turned out he and his wife are missionaries working on an incredible project to rebuild this abandoned mining town and establish an orphanage for 2000 of Swaziland's huge orphan population. In the end we stayed the weekend and got the opportunity to help out at the orphanage and had a grand tour of the village.
We had a short drive to the border from Bolembu and after presenting my passport to the official it became apparent that it hadn't been stamped when I came into the country. Technically I had entered illegally and it seemed he was about to dispatch me to the post where we entered at the other end of the country. Fortunately for us a friendly local intervened and smoothed things over so he let us through :-)
We spent a few days in the lovely town of Sabie near Nelspruit to get some repairs done to the Landy. We used Sabie as a base to visit many of the local sights in the area like Blyde River Canyon and God's Window.
Then it was onto Kruger National park for a couple of nights. We unfortunately didn't see any lion or leopard but did see plenty of rhino and elephant.
We camped for a couple of nights in the service town of Komatipoort near the Mozambique border to get provisioned up and prepared for what lies ahead of us. On our first evening here the security guard saw us struggling to light our damp wood for our braai and suggested we use an African fire lighter, a plastic bag! Although it probably would have worked I didn't fancy the taste it would infuse our meat with so we persevered and got there in the end.
Now we head into Mozambique where the language will be unfamiliar and there is a sense that we are moving into the "real" Africa........