Wednesday January 21st ~ A game drive in Hluhluwe and on to Swaziland
Hluhluwe was a well-known hunting area in the 1800’s for the Zulu and then in the 1840’s by the Great White Hunters who came to plunder the ivory, skins and the rhino horns. By the late 1890’s fewer than 100 white rhinos remained.
Thankfully by 1895, the area got formal protection and the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve was established.
Loaded into a Range Rover, with our guide for the three-hour ride, we headed out to see what we could find. All of the “Big Five” animals can be found in this park.
Just to bring you up to speed, the “Big Five” are:
- Cape buffalo
Many of the big five remained elusive, but we are off to a good start. We did get to see an amazing variety of animals including zebra, giraffe, rhino, wildebeest, cape buffalo, nyala and warthog to name a few. Here are some of our favorite pictures of the day:
Our time with the animals flew by much too fast and it was time to get on our bus once again and head for the border crossing into Swaziland.
Officially known as the Kingdom of Swaziland, (the country is the last absolute monarchy in Africa), this small country is completely landlocked with South Africa on three sides and Mozambique on the NE corner.
“Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa. It is no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west.” ~ Wikipedia
Our border crossing went off smoothly, entering at the SE corner near Lavumisa.
All of us got off the bus, entered the South Africa control building, presented our passports for inspection, got them stamped and exited out the other door. We then walked a couple of minutes up the road and repeated the procedure with the Swaziland border control agent placing another stamp in our passport and welcoming us. Once again climbing on the bus, we headed for the Happy Valley Hotel in Ezulwini.
One final stop along the way at a candle shop where local artisans handmade a variety of animal shaped candles. It was fun to watch them take a lump of colored wax and within a few minutes turn it into an elephant.
We had all been handed a small ball of wax to feel the lanolin texture. Tim, instead of simply squishing it in his hands, turned his lump into a crocodile. The lady giving us the explanation got so tickled over his creation that she gave him two “eyes” for the head, cured it briefly in cold water and then bubble wrapped it for him to take home.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for Tim’s playful attitude and creativity.