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Published: November 15th 2015
I visited Swaziland at the end of a 3 month tour of Southern Africa, during which I went on a number of different road trips to keep my trip cheap and to be able to see as much as possible. By the time we arrived in Swaziland we (I was travelling with my mate Rich) had already driven about 30,000km around South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia, sleeping in the car or camping every night.
Our first stop was to a cultural village showing how the people used to live in the 1850’s, in wooden huts with fenced off areas for cows and goats. We also got to see a couple of traditional Swazi dances, although being a show for tourists it was a bit of a shock after our more authentic experiences in Namibia, but still a good show nonetheless.
We couldn’t resist the chance to white-water raft down the Great Usutu River, the must-do adventure activity in Swaziland, and I tried to eat Corn Flakes while floating down stream but that turned out to be too difficult in our i
nflatable raft bouncing over Grade II to Grade IV rapids.
We spent the rest of our time
at a really cool non-profit project looking to address some of the various social issues in Swaziland, such as the high level of H.I.V and therefore orphans, as well as the high level of domestic violence. The country is full of projects trying to help, like the one we visited called Guba
, which encourages members of the community to come and use their land to learn how permaculture can be used to provide food for their families in a way that benefits the environment. They have a school for children but also classes for adults who can come and train in natural building and natural resource management, with guest speakers coming to teach about things like diet and nutrition or nutrient cycling. Before we drove back to South Africa we visited one of the members of the community to see what a difference projects like these can make. We were shown his beautiful garden that was able to provide enough food for his large family of 27 people and still have enough left over to sell.
I thought Swaziland was very similar to South Africa, far more westernized than Lesotho, Namibia or Botswana, with chains of restaurants and plenty
The Cultural Village
It was interesting but far from amazing
of other obvious signs of capitalism. As we drove back to Johannesburg I felt like I would need to return to delve deeper into a country with a lot of skeletons in its closet.
There was a real revolutionary feel to all the projects we visited during the 3 months in Southern Africa, for example we visited an orphanage and school in Bloemfontein that was also teaching people from the townships how to make houses using earth-building techniques and how to grow their own food. Both of these projects will be featured in more detail in the Modern Explorers
film about eco-friendly and permaculture projects in South Africa which I will release in 2016.
It wasn’t long before I was flying back to Europe so I could start editing and planning for my next trip, below you will find the film I made for more about my time in this lush green country. Or to find out more about my experiences in the 75 countries I visited before Swaziland you can find things to read and watch on my website
Take a look at my film to see more
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