Our Great South African Adventure: Days 5 & 6

Note: I'm posting the trip in increments of one or two days, so make sure you start from my first post and work your way backwards--just follow the titles!

  • We headed out early, but luckily we had about 2 hours worth of driving through the park to spot a few more animals. Saw one elephant up on this rock mountain and watched him for a while—no idea how he got up there! I actually saw him before Linda pointed him out, but after you spend HOURS trying to spot wildlife in the brush, every rock starts to look like an elephant or a rhino, so I hadn’t said anything because I was sure no elephant could be up on a mountain like that. We also spotted a baby rhino with its mother (although it was behind the brush so couldn’t get a good shot of it), and just as we were about to leave I saw a mama elephant and her two babies about to cross the road. Precious!
  • Once we were out of Kruger, it was on to Swaziland! Swaziland is a small country that’s landlocked by South Africa. It’s ruled by a king who gets a new wife every year. I think he’s up to 16, and he only turned 40 last year.
  • Once we got through customs, we went to the Swazi Cultural Village, where we were treated to some traditional singing and dancing. I really enjoyed this afternoon! We also got to see how they used to build their homes and such, and had an authentic Swazi buffet lunch, which Linda told us reminded him of home. Good stuff!
  • Our next stop was the Ngwenya Glass Factory, which was SO COOL. Well, I mean, it was really HOT in there, temperature wise, but watching them making things out of glass was really neat. I could have stayed and watched that for hours.
  • We stopped by the Swazi market to get some souvenirs, and I was reminded how uncomfortable bartering makes me. Got some good deals all the same, and then it was to the hotel to check in and get some dinner. A few of us went over to the hotel next door and visited the casino. We played a little roulette, a little black jack… it was fun, but a casino is a casino is a casino, you know?

  • On the way back into South Africa, we first visited the Swazi Candle Factory. Cool stuff there, but we were a bit early for the candle makers so didn’t get the full demonstration.
  • Driving through Swaziland (and most of this portion of South Africa) was an experience in itself. In Swaziland there are people walking along the roads EVERYWHERE—including children as young as, say, 5 years old. Linda told us there’s no fear of kidnapping or anything, so that’s how the kids get from school to home and such. I was quite surprised when, in one stretch of about 3-4 miles, we passed no less than 6 little boys peeing. Like, right on the side of the road. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go. There were also tons of cows everywhere—they’re not kept in any sort of enclosure during the day, they just round them up at night. Also, many people in Swaziland still live in thatched-roof, mud & stone huts that they build themselves. It’s fascinating to see.
  • Our stop for the evening was St. Lucia, back in South Africa. We arrived to discover that we were sharing our hotel with the Harley Davidson rally! So that was fun. J We had a couple hours to chill out, then we went on a sunset cruise on Lake St. Lucia, known as a sanctuary to hippos and crocodiles. Dinner that night was VERY fresh seafood… so good!

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