July 26th /27th 2009
Total Distance travelled: ?? km from Lawra
Hlane Game Sanctuary - Mbabane - Lavumisa (Swazi exit post)
Just a fairly quick trip through Swaziland as we had bookings in Kruger Park for the last 4 nights of July.
We arrived in Swaziland at the ? border post on the east side of the country (Lower veld) and entered with very little formality - just a stamp in our passports and we were through; this was very flat bush country.
The road up to the east side of Swaziland passes through the main sugar belt region; in fact we drove through almost continuous sugar plantations from Durban onwards, hundreds of kilometres of sugar cane, interspersed with sugar refineries and the occasional banana plantation as we got further north.
We were going to stay at Nkoso Backpackers but decided that it was too early to stop, so we carried on up to Hlane Royal Wildlife Sanctuary. Big empty open campsite with bags of room. Great ablutions with oodles of hot water. On over-friendly ostrich was our only problem - she came around vacuuming the floor of freshly dropped leaves from the trees and any thing that we might leave lying around - good fun though.
Game Reserve - not National Park
The first game we saw was a group of 10 huge White Rhino, just lounging around the water hole near the camp, soaking up the sun as if they were enjoying a beach holiday!! Next to arrive were 5 elephants, waterbuck, impala, nyala and 3 resident hippos in the middle of the water. Not a bad viewing session- for the first 10 mins in camp! Our early morning game drive in the Reserve itself was not so rewarding; first of all we almost froze to death as we were inadequately prepared for the extreme early morning cold; secondly there was very little game to see. We did see a variety of animals but because this was a Reserve, it could only sustain a few of each species, 10 lion, 30 elephant etc - the whole thing was too contrived, for us, but if you have not seen much wildlife before it is a great way to see a reasonable variety fairly easily and quickly.
Mbabane - Swaziland's Capital City
We decided that to get a better overview of the country, we ought to go and visit the High Veld area on the west side,
so we travelled through increasingly hilly and then mountainous country to the seat of Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland in Mbabane - it was like being in the Alps! - a complete contrast to the east side. We can now understand why Nick and Carol (Ward) enjoyed their stay in Swaziland - the forests are still there Nick, looking very healthy!
We enjoyed our brief stay in Swaziland and as we progressed north to Kruger we were especially impressed by the immense sugar plantations and prosperous townships that flourished alongside them.
Main St- Mbabane, Capital of Swaziland
Next stop Kruger National Park - back into South Africa
Swaziland - Location