Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

A small country

June 24, 2015  —  Swaziland

The Kingdom of Swaziland is one of the smallest countries of Africa and is ruled by King Mswati III. The latter is one of three remaining monarchs still governing an African country. Nowadays, the country is most famous for its rich culture and heritage.

In everyday life, it is fairly difficult to see that culture for a visitor. Two festivals occur each year; the Incwala ceremony or the Umhlanga (Reed) dance. My visit of Swaziland didn't coincide with any of these festivals. Moreover, in winter, the country seems to suffer greatly from the lack of rain and the landscapes are a bit bland.

I don't want to demean the country, but it is a place that can be quickly visited and that is not as impressive as the neighbouring countries. To be honest, I think the country was a bit boring. Nevertheless, the next blogs will give you a glimpse of the kingdom...

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Bulembu

Bulembu - Swaziland

The travel guide I am using for Swaziland is more than 10 years old. Then, Bulembu was described as a ghost town with only a hundred or so souls living in a town that once sheltered more than 10,000 people. I was very surprised to discover the town now has more than 1000 inhabitants, with around 350 children, and a lively vibe.

The town existed only for the asbestos mine that opened in 1936 and closed in 2001. It is still possible to visit the installation used to carry the mineral from Swaziland to South Africa on a cableway. When the mine closed, everything was kept as is. Everything was locked down and the machinery was simply shut down.

Bulembu - Swaziland
Bulembu - Swaziland
Asbestos was loaded on these carriers to be transported for more than 30 km to Barberton in South Africa.
Bulembu - Swaziland
An old film projector.
Bulembu - Swaziland
Bulembu - Swaziland
Bulembu - Swaziland
Doctor's table.
Bulembu - Swaziland
For the milk.
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Malolotja Nature Reserve

Malolotja Nature Reserve - Swaziland

In this reserve, one the rare wilderness of Swaziland, hiking is the main activity. I must admit that at this time of the year when the vegetation is very dry and dying, hiking is far less enjoyable.

Some pictures are quite nice at sunset or sunrise, but for the remainders of the days, the landscapes become more drabber.

Malolotja Nature Reserve - Swaziland
The black or very dark areas have burnt recently.
Malolotja Nature Reserve - Swaziland
Malolotja Nature Reserve - Swaziland
Malolotja Nature Reserve - Swaziland
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Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland

This sanctuary is more interesting than the previous reserve due to the animals that can be seen and the waterholes created by small dams. It is possible to walk around without any restriction.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland

Oh! I would really like to see a flat dog as mentioned on this sign...

In fact, I saw many. It is a popular name given to crocodiles.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland
Here are some flat dogs.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary - Swaziland