We’re up at 6am, bags are packed, we eat breakfast and meet our new group at 6.30am. We are 12 – 4 Germans, 4 Brits, 2 Americans, 1 Spanish and 1 Swiss. Dion is our guide and Parra our driver for the tour – South Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique & Soith Africa.
We leave our hotel beside Jo’Burg Airport headed for Eswatini (Swaziland). We stop at the supermarket to stock up on provisions but have to wait until 10am to purchase the all important red wine and beer as its a Sunday.
We’re driving on the N4 headed for the border and stop at a service station for “bushy bushy”. As we park, Dion advises that there is a game park at the back of the service station that is worth a quick visit. We see 13 rhinos – more than I’ve ever seen in my entire life either in the wild or in a zoo. There’s also Zebras, Oryxs, Ostriches and Buffalos. A most bizarre and incredible sight something we can’t quite ever envisage seeing at Clackett Lane service station on the M25.
The drive to the border of South Africa with Eswatini is abundant with pine forests and ever increasing hills. We reach the border post at 2pm and for the 2nd time we exit South Africa. Passport is swiftly stamped for entry into Eswatini and we wait for the truck to be searched. We cross the border at 2.32pm marvellous, the swiftest border exit and entry yet. As we cross a poster proclaims “Welcome to Eswatini the land of doers. What are you going to do today?” Where shall we start?
We arrive at our base for the next 2 nights, Sondzela Backpackers at the Miliwane Game Reserve around 4pm. The Reserve covers 4,560 hectares in the Ezulwini Valley or “Valley of Heaven”. Formerly a farming and tin mining area, the area has been rehabilitated and is now Eswatini’s most frequently visited reserve. Its grassy southern plains are home to animals such as antelopes and zebras, as well as many birds. The vista is stunning and we have a pool. Here’s hoping the weather improves from its currently cloudy and grey mood. It’s noticeably cooler here, 24 degrees as opposed to the searing 34 degrees we’d surprisingly grown used to in Zimbabwe.
Tent pitched, we attack our growing laundry pile, take a shower and adjourn for a pre-dinner beer. Dinner is a delicious spicy beef and vegetable curry and rice with salad on the side. It’s very easy on the road to slip into bad dietary habits so it’s essential to eat plenty of fruit and veg in order to stay fit and healthy. We retire to our tent around 9pm for a well deserved rest.
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Really enjoying reading of your exploits. What fabulous things you are seeing. xx
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Thanks Mary we’re having a fantastic adventure Xx