Blogs from Swaziland, Africa


Africa » Swaziland » Hlane Royal National Park August 17th 2023

Dear All My last two days in the wonderful little Kingdom of Swaziland were spent at the very special Hlane Royal National Park. I checked out of my very spacious self-catering chalet and said goodbye to its very helpful host, Lello, before taking two minibuses from the nearby Gables shopping centre to the Park. The first minibus took a ridiculous one-and-a-half hours to drive the mere 15 miles to Swaziland's largest city Manzini, stopping off everywhere and often waiting ages for passengers - it was really frustrating. Upon arrival at Manzini's very chaotic minibus station, the minibus driver very helpfully pointed out the next minibus I needed to take heading to the eastern Swazi town of Simunye, but with an empty stomach and another potentially long minibus ride ahead of me, I thought I'd stop off ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Ezulwini Valley August 15th 2023

Dear All After overnighting again in my Johannesburg lodge, I flew to Swaziland on a beautiful Sunday morning in the southern hemisphere. I was seriously impressed by this country - it seemed to be the calmest, chillest African country I've ever been in, with good roads, solid buildings, plenty of shopping malls, and lots of happy people. While South Africa seemed a developed, westernised version of Africa, Swaziland appeared more of a developed yet African version of Africa, if that makes sense. I arrived in another 40-seater Airlink plane from Johannesburg - it was only around a third full, and I was clearly the only tourist, which is definitely my kind of travelling! I shall overlook the need to declare whether one has had a c-word vaccine or not, and the temperature check, at the airport, ... read more
Me, Sibebe Rock
Mantenga Cultural Village
Me, Mantenga Falls

Africa » Swaziland » Big Bend February 1st 2023

What to do about the nyala? We don't want to frighten them, they are easily frightened, but we would like to get into our little rondavel hut. In Hlane Game Reserve animals take precedence over people; are we allowed to walk through a group of antelope with our luggage? While we ponder, they wander - luckily in the right direction opening a clear path to our front door. Hlane is a game reserve best known for rhino but there is plenty of other wildlife in this corner of Eswatini, a small country completely surrounded by South Africa; we used to call it Swaziland but the country recently reverted to its original, pre-colonial, name. We are in Hlane for two days and soon get used to sharing the lawns around the hut with nyala and colourful birds. ... read more
Mother and baby
Breakfast under the sausage tree
Our hut in the jungle

Africa » Swaziland » Mbabane June 1st 2022

After another early morning and breakfast we started our drive towards the border of Eswatini and South Africa again, towards Kruger National Park. Before long, we stopped to visit the Ngwenya glass factory, where we watched the talented glass blowers create a range of enchanting African animals, birds, and fish, as well as tableware, made from recycled glass that is collected by the children of eSwatini. Although I have watched glass blowers at work before, it was interesting to see how well this large operation synchronized their work. They produced some very nice objects, mostly depicting some of the animals we had just seen, but I was deterred from buying any because of the weight of any of the bigger pieces. It was a consideration while traveling, specially since most flights have a weight limit, and ... read more
Glass Factory
Glass Factory
Glass Factory

Africa » Swaziland » Mbabane July 10th 2019

10 July - We left early with our driver, David from Southern Circle Tours, it would be just us three for the next seven days tranelling through to Durban. From Johannesburg we drove via Middleburg, Dullstroom and Robber’s Pass to Pilgrim’s Rest, a 19th century gold mining area now a tourist town deep in the mountains. We stopped at two waterfalls on the way to Ligna Lodge in Sabie our stop for the night. After a long day of travelling we were happy to find our room located in the lovely gardens on the rivers edge, very peaceful. 11 July - An early start to drive via the Panoramic route stopping at the Pinnacle, God’s Window, Berlin Falls, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the three Rondavels view at the Blyde River Canyon. We arrived at Mohlabetsi lodge ... read more
Kruger National Park
Saint Lucia wetlands
Kruger National Park

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary We woke up from our accommodation at Sondzela Backpackers to discover in our backyard warthogs grazing the grass. It finally dawned on us that we were in a sanctuary where animals had the right of way. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland's best known nature reserve. In 1961 Ted Reilly took action to save what remained of the kingdom of Swaziland's wildlife, converting his land into a sanctuary and rounding up animals from elsewhere around the country. In the sanctuary there are no large predatory animals like lions and cheetahs or leopards. Therefore, it is safe to walk around the sanctuary as long as you stay clear of the animals and let them mind there own business. After breakfast, Renata and I walked all the way up to the base camp where we ... read more
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Welcome to Swaziland Today we left St. Lucia and started to make our way to Swaziland. At the border because we were Canadian citizens we did not need to get a visa. However, one of the volunteers of the VESA African unearth group from Thailand had difficulty crossing the border because she did not have a visa. Apparently, the VESA leaders asked ahead of time at customs if the VESA volunteer needed to get a visa to Swaziland because she was from Thailand. The VESA leader was told that the volunteer did not need to get a visa to cross the border from South Africa to Swalizand. The volunteer was allowed to cross the border but she would have to go to the embassy in Swaziland to get a visa. We were all relieved because we ... read more
Ezulwini Handcraft Market

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 25th 2018

Today was our last full day in Bulembu. I can’t believe it has gone so fast. We spent our morning helping the Royal Rangers set up camp. I can’t believe the work the leaders put in to prepare for a week with the kids. They are so blessed to have these leaders planning and preparing for them. They will have such a great time. The afternoon was our last play day. We chose to do big team games instead of breaking into small groups. They had a great time. I’m glad we did it that way and both Nicole and I ended up with injuries and had to be cheerleaders. Nothing to serious and are feeling better but enough to side line us for the afternoon. We had a special guest join us today. Our Heartland ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 23rd 2018

We begin our final week away with a work day. We split off to our different projects after breakfast. The playground is coming along well. Teaching some of the guys here to use the welder and plasma cutter. The electricians are making some progress and learning how to use all the wire. The other ladies and I headed to Dvudvusi to paint one of the families homes. The auntie was so happy to have us coming. We painted the entire house in and out. After lunch we had games with the kids again while Rod went and welded a guys hitch. Tonight we were blessed to watch the Bulembu Children’s Choir. Wow!! I didn’t get to see them in Sherwood Park a few years ago but so incredible! Tonight be surprised the staff at the lodge. ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 21st 2018

So today was a free day built into schedule. We had a couple options but we all chose the hardest one. Climbing the highest peak in eSwatini called Emlembe. It took us just about 2 hours to the top. Our guide, Benjamin, was very gracious and allowed us to stop as needed. Fortunately, it was cool and socked in the cloud to help us not over heat. Unfortunately, it did not clear at the top but did start to clear on the way down so we could see valley after valley. It’s so gorgeous! Despite feeling a little inadequate from being passed in the way down but locals carrying large logs and wearing crocs, we all made it safely but will see how everyone is feeling tomorrow. The afternoon was quiet and sunny. Cathie, Dean and ... read more

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