Blogs from Swaziland, Africa

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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

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 20th 2018

So yesterday was a work/play day. We finished up painting at the pre-primary school. More work done on the playground and the electrical. Then after lunch we played games with the kids again. Same group of kids but different games. This time I was on the soccer field. 2 hours of running in the sun. At one point the clouds came in and I said to the auntie playing with us that it’s nice to have the clouds come. She said now it’s getting cold. The kids had lots of fun - well those that like soccer. The others just wanted to chat. Cam got accused of cheating because he had shoes on! I got smashed in the face with a soccer ball but luckily the brim of my hat saved me from broken glasses. Have ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 18th 2018

Up early to go for a tour. They’ve been telling us about limited access to the town from the south into Swaziland. Well we got to experience it today. They weren’t kidding...Potholes, boulders galore! Started our tour stopping at Hawane which is home/farm run by challenge ministries. We picked up an intern named Bongani - he was an orphaned child from the streets and became part of the program at age 11. He fell in love with the Lord and now is running programs with the ministry. He kept us in stories and laughter all day. We then went to the proposed new site for Bulembu to move to if the proposed mine comes back into the community. It’s another fabulous place they can start fresh from rather than making do with renovating the houses and ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 17th 2018

We broke off into groups and did a variety of tasks. Our 4 electricians went out and put in a new transformer. Surprised by the voltage - was supposed to be 380 coming in but it was 430. Apparently that’s not a good thing :) And so have some other work to do. Michele worked in the kitchen - made us homemade pasta for lunch. 2 of the guys went up to start building a playground template so that they can sell playgrounds to other communities as a new adventure. 4 of us went down to the preprimary school that needs painting. But first some scrubbing needs to happen. Not an easy task to differentiate where the dirt ends and the clay brick begins. After lunch, we spent the afternoon playing with the kids. Broke them ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Bulembu April 16th 2018

What a first day!! Up early for a 630 breakfast and on the road by 710. Started at the chapel, watched the high school assembly, then off to tour the schools. We started at the high school. It used to be a hotel but when they needed a new school they converted it to a high school. The wish list from bulembu made more sense to me after that. The youth have no cash but can earn merit points through their grades, athletics, behaviour etc. These points can be exchanged at the shop for luxury items. Luxury meaning deodorant, lotion, special clothes, personal soccer cleats, etc. The high school shop was quite barren actually especially compared to the primary school merit shop. If the school groups want to raise extra funds, they have to raise chickens. ... read more




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