Blogs from Ezulwini Valley, Swaziland, Africa

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Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley October 16th 2015

Whilst staying on the pine plantation we received an offer we could not refuse - Ivy, the Housekeeper, invited us to pay a visit to both her homestead and that of her parents. It was raining hard when we set off and thunder was rumbling across the tops of the hills. The start of the rainy season was well and truly here, hopefully ending the drought that had been afflicting the homesteaders and undermining their efforts at subsistence. We drove as far as we could towards Ivy's parent's home but ended up parking about half a mile away, on the opposite side of a small valley. After the previous night's adventures I didn't want to risk the combination of poor road, two-wheel drive car and deluge of rain. We walked down the track and then up ... read more
Ivy's Parent's Homestead
Ivy's Father
Ivy's Mother

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley October 15th 2015

According to Wikipedia, people in Swaziland have a higher probability of being struck by lightning than people anywhere else in the world. This unverified factoid became the subject of our thoughts in a very meaningful way when we got stuck on top of a mountain in a thunderstorm. This is what happened... We left Hlane around lunch-time after we had done another unguided drive, this time with absolutely no sightings. I had spotted a hot spring marked on one of our tourist maps and was keen to explore. It only required a small detour from our route back so we thought it was doable. Unfortunately the map we had in the car didn't have it marked. We took a 60km detour through some stunningly beautiful countryside and reasonably heavy traffic to find the springs but didn't ... read more
Cuddle Puddle
Buying Mealie
Songololo

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley October 14th 2015

We left the house as early as we could and drove down the hill. Fortunately a bakkie, which is a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a cab for two people and an open back for carrying cargo, had been placed at our disposal, which made the rough roads much more drivable. We had to drive through the tiny town of Malkerns which is set in a beautiful place and is covered in bright purple jacaranda trees. As we drove through we spotted market stalls and decided to stop to have a look. We were really glad we did. We didn't buy anything from the ramshackle stalls, which were selling snacks we didn't need, endless numbers of browning bananas and children's clothing. However the benefit of this experience was that we had conversations with local people. Lindsey was really ... read more
Mantenga Falls
Swazi Warrior
Lindsey Dancing

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley October 13th 2015

The place we were staying at in Swaziland was a pine plantation owned by Lindsey's cousin Heather and her husband Sakari. Heather and Sakari had kindly let us use the place but unfortunately they could not be there. Having arrived in the dark and discovered that our accommodation had no electricity we had the interesting tasks of trying to find light and make a meal, not to mention more mundane things like finding the bedroom and bathroom. Heather had foreseen that electricity might be a problem as their power is generated through a micro-hydro-electric power plant which crucially depends on the water level of the farm's dam. As the wet season rains had not arrived on time, by the end of September, the dam was very low. She had prepared by leaving out candles in wine ... read more
Farm House
Farm
Giant Insect

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley October 12th 2015

After the excitement of leaving Johannesburg, it was nice to be on the open road. It had taken us a couple of hours to get out but now we felt free. Gauteng, the province which contains Johannesburg and Pretoria, lies in the High Veld, a large flat expanse high above sea level. The road we travelled went mainly through endless farmlands. The landscape had gently rolling hills covered in yellowing grass or corn. The only exception was the sharply rising slag heaps, putting stark piles of rock in the midst of flatness. Some of these were well established and had bushes and trees sprouting. Tractors went up and down the green fields kicking up red dust as they went. I found the drive quite monotonous as the scenery didn't change that much. About 50km from the ... read more
Oshoek/Ngwenya Border Post
Swazi Flag
Entering Swaziland

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley January 26th 2015

GUBA: meaning “To dig” in Siswati, the native language of Swaziland. This is a truly special project, and quite unique, I think, in its impact, its ability to evolve with the needs of the community, and its scope. It’s a small not-for-profit set up just 5 years ago with limited funding, by an amazing British couple who’d simply had enough of working in NGOs filled with bureaucracy, politics and corruption and who wanted to make a real difference to the quality of life of people in Swaziland. Guba’s mission statement is “Alleviating poverty through training in sustainable agriculture, natural building and natural resource management”. And it's absolutely true to every word. Guba is run entirely on Permaculture principles - the space is laid out in a permaculture way - the garden is farmed using permaculture techniques ... read more
Tent with a view
Mister ducky
Gorgeous plant nursery

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley August 26th 2013

Inmiddels in Swaziland. Heel wat diertjes in de Zuid-Afrikaanse parken gezien • Maandag 26/08/13: Dag 4 : Hazyview - Kapama Game Reserve De weg van Hazyview naar Kapama Game Reserve, had een probleemloze hondertal kilometers moeten zijn. Dit was echter gerekend zonder het feit dat het 'Chrismas Fund of the Police Department' (zoals Claire, een van onze gastvrouwen, het later zou omschrijven) diende gesponsord! Net buiten Acornhoek, worden we door de politie ge ï ntepelleerd voor een vermeende verkeersovertreding, namelijk het negeren van een Stop-teken (ik bespaar jullie de ingewikkelde technische argumenten). Tarief : 1.500 Rand (± 120 Euro!). Na wat onderhandelen kregen we een 'discount' en werd de 'boete' (…) herleid naar 900 Rand (± 72 Euro). Hoeft het vermeld ? We kregen uiteraard geen kwijting... ... read more
Big 2
Big 3
Big 4

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley November 27th 2012

Tuesday morning we hitched up the caravan and set off for Swaziland. Andy hadn't towed a caravan for probably about 20 years but he made a good job of it, except of course for the stop signs he missed ('I'll stop twice at the next one') and the speed bumps (STOP!) that snuck up on us when he was admiring the view. The border crossing was quick and easy – where do they find all those incredibly miserable people – and we were 'asked' if we would like to buy a passport cover for 'widows and orphans'. We wanted to get through the border as quickly as possible so agreed we would take one each, the lady was so shocked she gave us 2 extra free for our 'daughters'. We eventually arrived at Mlilwane Game Reserve ... read more
Nyala come to visit
Horse Riding

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley September 15th 2012

This was my 1st time out of the country (RSA). I was so excited to get my 2st stamp in my passport and say that I went to the Magical Swaziland. This country is so rich in culture and heritage, that i just wanted to see every attraction and explore more. My visit was a Week away in the stunning Ezulwini Valley with the mountain range surrounding us as a maganifisant back drop. We went to see the royal cral and hear all about the culture of the swazi people, intresting as I got to see the dance of the people, drink of thier home made beer and met a Shangoma. The House on Fire is a unique attraction, fairly new. But ba site to see as there are many artistic patterns, statues, sayings and funny ... read more
swaziloand 2011 012
swaziloand 2011 013
swaziloand 2011 027

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley November 30th 2010

Well most of you are probably aware by now that my big African adventure for 2010 has actually come to an end and I'm now back in Auckland working away trying to save up for my next holiday :-) But I hate leaving anything unfinished so here are the last days of our trip......... We left Tofo very early in the morning....not as early as the 4 am we had initially been told, but we were waiting from 3am for the bus to leave. We finally got going at about 5 but the conductor then proceeded to tout for extra business...we can't have the chapa with a few empty seats all the way to Maputo apparently! So to cut a long story short about 9 hours later, with a few piglets along for the ride (boy ... read more
Maputo Train Station
Train Station Clock
Train Station in Maputo




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