On New Year’s Day 2013 we rented the smallest car ever (Chevy Mini Sparks) in Durban, parted with my parents who had been our travel companions in South Africa so far, and went on the long drive (which was longer than I had thought) to Mlilwane Wild Life Reserve near Malkerns and Manzini.
Coming from Durban, we had almost crossed the small country which amazed us by the sheer amount of speed limit signs Swaziland had put up. They were put closely together, so they didn’t feel alone along the road. You would get a limit, a few meters after another limit and then the limit was lifted and a kilometer after reinstated. Besides this interesting deployment of street signs, it was a nice drive through hut villages, towns, goat herds and the Southern African landscape.
We arrived in Mlilwane after darkness. Our completely inapt car had to go through potholes almost as big as that little car with wildlife at the side of the road which we couldn’t really see. The signs were only partly helpful but we guessed our way correctly in the end and ended up in our cool round hut. The next morning we were greeted… or observed… by some blesboks and a warthog ran through the hostel garden, having a little sniff around.
We ventured out to Malkerns to get water and an adapter in the local shopping mall which was pretty well equipped. We then had a walk around the reserve. It was full of antelopes but hosted also hippo (which we didn’t see) and a croc (which we did see). It was a bit strange to walk through all those impalas, blesboks and wilde beests but also quite cool. Monkeys had of course also their home in the park, close to a camp (and food).
The next day we took our little car to the East and the biggest of Swaziland’s parks, Hlane. In front of the reception was a little lake with a hippo and her baby, so we finally ticked that off the list. On the tour we saw a rhino with her offspring which was really cool. Some more elephant, lots of pumba (warthog) and impala but no lion (middle of the day the lion sleeps). Nice little park!
Very early the following day, we headed back towards Joburg and left Swaziland behind. We’d like to come back though!