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The kingdom of Swaziland

o i had a list for Swaziland that ive made: Mlilwane Nature Reserve, Matenga cultural village and craft market, mantenga falls, gone rural, house on fire, swazi candles, baobab batik, ngwenpisi gorge/Kopho hut/rock lodge, manzini market wed/thursday, ngwenya glass, Piggs Peak Nsangwini Pass, Big Bend, Swazi Secrets. I've seen all but the gorge and piggs peak, and days have been nice and relaxed, which is nice. Isabel is very sweet, she showed me around Gone Rural. We cook about everynight and maybe watch a movie. I've had some real bad cravings for chips and chocolate! Swazis like to bicycle, love sweets and sugar (~60% of their exports is sugar/sugar cane) in their food, and is not spicy really..KFC is everywhere as well, but the countryside is lush and green and rolling hills and beautiful (I'm here at the right time thought)! they like aerobics too! the breast cancer walk had an outdoor class, which Isabel and i participated in. Swaziland has some really great handcrafts, weaving, candle making, glass blowing, recycled magazine art/jewelry, and much more! I've seen a fashion show, which was fun (I even managed to buy a pair of leggings from the show, they are one of a kind).

I drove to Big bend, the sugar cane capital of Swaziland and tried so hard to visit the factory! the road down is just lined in sugar cane fields. I got to town and the sugar assocation reception told me to go to the factory across town, then from there I was told to go find the training manger and the training office so i went there. He told me he would need to call the factory and since the lights/electricity was out i would have to wait, so i did. Once that came back, he realised he would be the only one that could give me the tour and that wouldn't work, so he showed me a video instead and explained the process to me. Semi success!

When I walked around Mlilwane Nature reserve, I have to admit I was always ready to run up a tree! I walked the 2 hour trail and saw different antelope, crocs, zebras, warthogs, many birds. It's funny how safe you feel once you are back in the car around these animals..

The Mantenga Cultural village was interesting, I saw some traditional dances, then took a tour of the village with a guide who just loved to emphasize that women are just not as important as men. Ah! The women cook, farm, raise the children, all while the men go off and have wives and many girlfriends. I guess to each their own..

So for my birthday, we started the day off with Yoga followed by coffee/breakfast which was nice. Then we met up with Teagan (another Australian) and heading out to find Ngwempisi gorge and the Rock Lodge. After a nice little hike out, we got in the river for a bit, then as we were heading back up, it started storming. Now Swaziland has the highest lightning strikes per capita in the world, so Swazi's are understandably scared of storms and lightning. We managed to get to the car before it really started coming down, and the sky on the drive back was filled with lightning! Once we got back we cooked up some dinner and got ready to head to a concert (lucky timing!) at this cool eclectic venue called House on Fire where some local artists were performing. It was great fun dancing 'til 3am :) Oh! and Isabel had made this delicious pudding cake with some nice candles for me :D

The following day, Isabel had organised a French Lunch, there were escargots, coq au vin, baguette et tapenade, quiche et salade, and crepes suzettes for desert! The company was nice (french, canadian, australian and me) and food delicious! Now i'm off to The Kruger Park :)

Posted by dutchnomad 10:13

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