Pictures from Swaziland
October 16 Hoedspruit to Swaziland
October 17 Swaziland to St. Lucia
Much of Swaziland was devoted to agriculture. In the banana plantations, blue plastic bags are wrapped around the flowers, and then the bunches of bananas grow until they fill the bags. Elsewhere there are fields and fields of sugar cane, and giant sugar cane trucks lumber about the narrow highways.
And in the mountains where bananas and sugar cane would not grow, there were timber plantations. We passed this lumber mill which rather resembled many we had seen in British Columbia, except for the small size and the beehive burner, both of which are passé now.
Higher up in the mountains we came to a resort with a collection of craft shops. We stopped for tea, which was served in blue English china cups!
As we came down out of the mountains towards Mbabane, the capital city, we came down into a thunderstorm. This lasted for several hours, with periodic downpours, lightning strikes, and power failures.
Our rondavel at Sondzela Backpackers, in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary just outside Mbabane, was next to the fence separating the animals from the people. But Mlilwane, unlike Kruger, has no animals that are dangerous to humans, so the fences are not very serious. Kruger was low and dry, Lesotho was high and barren, but Swaziland was in between and just right. In retrospect we wished we could have spent more time there.
We only had time for a morning in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. The hippo pool had a few hippos in it, and around the roads there were zebras and impalas.
But in one corner of the sanctuary we came upon some pens where they appeared to have a breeding program for antelopes like this bontebok.
We saw a lot of different kingfishers in Southern Africa—six of the ten different kinds, in fact. Some of them we spent too much time trying to identify, but this Brown-hooded Kingfisher was not so difficult.