On our first full day in Africa we set out on a drive around Swaziland. We left from our campsite near Mbabane to the Sibebe Rock (world’s largest exposed granit block – pictured below). The steep ascent in the heat made for a tough hike but grasping the sheer magnitude of this “rock” made it worthwhile. From there we went on past the Maguga Dam to Piggs Peak. In this small town surrounded by tree plantations we discovered a small restaurant (quite rare in rural Africa) where we had our first real African meal (beef stew with rice and salad). Then we headed back South towards our camp.
Close to Mbabane we visited the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary where we did a small self-drive safari for the afternoon. Some impressions of the wildlife there:
Early the next day we took to the streets again towards the East Coast of South Africa. The plan was to take the highway all throught Swaziland to get to the border, however we took one early turn and after a while turned into a dirt track of very changing quality. It went from very smooth to barly passable in seconds (below is the best part of this road). Nevertheless it was very interesting to see rural Swaziland and some of the small remote villages. After about 2 hours we were happy to see the tarmac highway again and soon after we reached the South African border.
Directly after the border, the highway crosses the Pongolo Nature Reserve. In passing we couldn’t believe our eyes at first when we saw a couple of giraffes lying and eating of the trees directly next to the road. We stopped for a while to observe them and then also found 4-5 more of these magnificent creature further down the road.
We reached the destination of the day (St. Lucia – the entrance gate to the iSimangaliso National Park) in the early afternoon. We set up camp before having dinner and watching some of the rugby (New Zealand vs. South Africa) at the St. Lucia Ski-Boat Club. There, apparently Hippos can sometimes be seen in the evenings but we were not so lucky to see them 😦