26th October 2014
We've spent a number of days exploring this tiny country which is surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique to its east. It is ruled by a king but you are not allowed to visit the royal kraal. To enter the country you have to go through normal border procedures so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we have not invalidated our extension to our 90 days stay for South Africa.
Much of Swaziland is mountainous but the clouds have been down so we haven't seen the landscape at its best. We visited a Swazi cultural village and were entertained by some excellent traditional dancing.
We also have spent time in the Hlane Royal National Park. Here you could take a short self drive through part of the game reserve. In the space of about a mile we saw giraffes, a herd of elephants, a number of different species of deer, warthogs and two black rhino. The next day these same two rhino visited the waterhole by the campsite where we were staying so we were able to view them at very close quarters.
6th November 2014
Stayed longer in Swaziland than expected. We had pulled into a fuel station car park hoping to buy some pies for tea.
Fortunately we were next door to the main Ford dealership in the country. Unfortunately it was Saturday afternoon and they weren't open again until Monday.
As we pulled away we heard a loud clanging noise from the engine. We had no choice but to drive slowly to the nearest campsite and sit it out until the Monday when we drove the 20km back to the garage.
It turned out that the problem was a broken crank shaft pulley and the part had to be ordered from Germany. So.......... We hired a car and spent ten days using backpacker hostels. The ancient Toyota Yaris we rented from "Affordable Car Hire" cost us more per day than a nice new hatchback from Avis or Hertz, but as they were the only car rental company available we had no choice. We thoroughly enjoyed our enforced extended stay and it was nice to slow down our pace and relax for a while. We visited the Mausoleum of King Sobbuza II and spent several days driving and walking in Mlilwane National Park. Lunch there was delightful, watching the weaver birds building their nests in the eaves of the lodge whilst hogs roamed around outside. In the lake a resident crocodile regularly appeared above the water. John enjoyed his huge steaks and enormous glasses of red wine!