Wildlife tally for Friday & Saturday Feb 6 & 7
antelopey thingies – impala, springbok, nyala and a new one that we hadn’t seen before
New to the list – a bontebok that was beside the path as we drove out of Malolotja Nature Reserve yesterday morning.
The day started off cool and misty, but once the mist had lifted, it warmed up. We had planned to have a drive around a couple of the places of interest in the nature reserve, but the first track we took was so bad, we gave up and left the reserve. The previous afternoon the receptionist had marked a map to show us the ‘roads’ we could take, and the 4WD-only tracks, but they all seemed more like 4WD tracks!
I’m feeling even more relieved that we spent the night in the log cabin rather than the tent – a Swazi newspaper headline this morning reported that ‘2 students were struck by lightning, 1 died’ after the Thursday afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
We drove to Mbabane, the capital to find some internet access and lunch. We tried an internet cafe, paid for 30 minutes each, but it was so slow we gave up after 15 minutes, having achieved absolutely nothing for the $5 we spent. The steakhouse chain we had lunch at offered free wifi, so we were able to get a few things done while we had lunch.
Then on to Manzini, the largest city in Swaziland, just for a look. We wandered around the local market, but by this stage our nerves were so frazzled by the appalling driving that we really just wanted to get off the road and stop for the day.
We got an unpowered tent site at the Mlilwane Wildlife Santuary – all the powered sites were reserved by a large contingent of campervans, the most we’ve seen in Southern Africa. We could have stayed in ‘beehive hut’, a round, domed structure made of woven grass arranged in 3 circular ‘villages’, but we were both happy to get back to our tent. We were visited by the local wildife – zebras, warthogs, impala – and a couple of other families arrived later and set up their tents.
Today we have driven back to Jo’burg, where we’ll spend the next 4 days staying in a loft apartment in Maboneng, a newly trendy part of town. Formerly an industrial area, the developers have bought up a lot of factories and warehouses and turned them into housing, restaurants, arts spaces and shops. The apartment we’re staying in belongs to a young man who works for the developer. You can see photos of it and the surrounding area here.
It’s all happening down on the street, 2 floors below us, and we’re heading out to find some dinner. The Maboneng Precinct website lists over 20 local restaurants & cafes offering a variety of cuisines, so I’m sure we’ll find something interesting down there.