Swaziland

 

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// Nikon D7200 |-26.49745 : 31.18498 | alt. 693m

Crossing the border is straight forward, nothing to do on the South African side, but this time, the customs officer put down the end date of my visa 6th july….. that’s coming soon, should be enough to cover everything before Botswana. I’m still hoping to get an extension on the way out of Swaziland !

Getting into Swaziland was really easy. All done in 5 min, I had to pay 50rand for a toll road, no paper at all for the vehicle, no inspection, just a smile and I was in 🙂
Today is overcast, with some big dark clouds, I may get some rain, and it gives a pretty dark face to this country famous for his hospitality. It looks a bit like Lesotho at first, very basic houses, lot of garbbages in the nature and along the roads, but no big majestic mountains or impressive landscapes. After a few minutes driving here, I was wondering what was I doing here !

First stop was Mlilwane Nature Sanctuary, and it was the beginning of my love for Swaziland. Despite its size, this country has 3 large national parks, and this is one of them. These parks also accept the wild card from South Africa, so you get in for free and only have to pay for camping and food.
This park is very particular and was highly recommended by other overlanders : there is no big predator here, so you can hike inside the park !! Yup ! And it makes a big difference, and thrust me, it’s a totally different experience to walk among zebras, wildebeest and antelopes. It feels like walking in Africa ! A good trail to take is the hippo one, taking a few hours. Very good place for birding as well, and you will have some close encounters with all the animals of the park (sadly, no hippo, or maybe thankfully :D)
The campsite area, as well as the restaurant are not fenced, so animals are free to roam everywhere, which they do ! Antelopes and warthogs are eating at the campground like I’m not even there !
I love it.
This park is also very nice, I mean nice landscapes, and rivers, nothing like the big reserves of Namibia or South Africa (which are flat, with some bush and plenty of animals in a fenced area) This place is incredibly relaxing, and I could wonder around for weeks. No big animal to see, but still a true paradise.
The restaurant was very good as well, and for once, I had to try the braai, done ! Love this place so much !!

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