Tuesday 2017/01/03

Krüger National Park – Swaziland


In the morning, we leave the Berg-en-Dal camp shortly before 5am. We want to drive east to the gate at the Crocodile River and from there to Swaziland.

Some last hours over the slopes in the Kruger National Park. We see a lots of animals, but no cats, which we hoped for. No cats today!

After a break at the Crocodile River (but without crocodile sighting), we head for Swaziland. After three days in the park with a maximum speed of 50 km/h on the main roads and 40 km/h on the gravel roads and a realistic average of about 20 km/h we now accelerate again to very unaccustomed 100 km/h. Speed rush!

The border crossing is somehow different than usual. First we have to get an emigration stamp for South Africa. There is an immigration stamp in the passport. Then continue to the Swaziland side of the border. There are four white containers, without any labeling. Some officials points us to one of the containers. There, various border formalities are done and various pieces of paper are filled out, some of them were given to us. Then we have to go to another container. We pay the road toll for Swaziland. Well, the poor King of Swaziland must also make his living, after all, he has fifteen wifes and all of them have to be provided with German luxury cars. Swaziland is ruled by a king and it is the last autocratically ruled kingdom in Africa.

The border crossing does not happen without an official, who's collecting some of the papers we received before. Well, we will not understand the procedure!

Swaziland. At the beginning it's only long straight roads. We decide to visit the Hlane Game Sanctuary. This park is distinctly different from the Kruger: smaller, the vegetation is more dense and the paths are not so wide and good. For some ways you would need a 4WD. We do not stay here very long. But It would be nice for a day more. There are two camps and certainly some lodges in the area.

Swaziland is very poor. This can be seen by the small towns and villages. Corrugated iron huts along the road, where everything is sold. Here also many people are standing on the edge of the street, hitch hiking or waiting for a ride in the mini busses, which are a kind of public transport system (same as in South Africa).

About 4 pm we arrive at our accommodation, the Umdoni Farm. A very neat, quiet farm. The room we have here is the best so far: from the bed we have a wonderful view into the garden. Instead of a bell, there is a dog, who first looks who comes, and if he does not know those, barks a few times without moving from his comfortable lying position. Then a mature and very friendly house maid, showing us the room and explaining where to can have a good dinner.

We are very tired and also a bit hungry, so we'll be out for dinner very soon. The Malandela is only in a few kilometers distance and offers accommodation next to the restaurant. Probably a quite good alternative to our accommodation.

The employees there have their own speed (or better slowness) and a brittle charm, but occasionally they even can smile. The best thing is the food today: fish (kingklip) and a vegetarian curry. Wonderful! No greasy meat! Just a dripping fish!

At 9 o'clock we fall to bed tired and sleep at least 10 hours. That's good!