Manzini (and Trudy's birthday)
Manzini Travel Blog› entry 8 of 24 › view all entries
We get up at 5 am to go to the waterhole and watch the birth of a new day. When Trudy opens the curtains she stares an impala right in the face. The animal is caught off guard and dashes off, away from the rondavels and these scary upright walking creatures.
At 5.30 we're at the waterhole, but there is not much to see yet. A small group of impalas pose beautifully for my camera though. When we hear a deep grunting sound, a member of staff tells us that this is what lions sound like. The noise comes from the other side of the premises and we walk in the direction of the sound to try and spot the lion. But alas, our efforts are of no avail. When we reach the tiny barbwire fence on the other side of the lodge, the sound and the lion have disappeared.
Before going back to our cabin (it has started drizzling) Cees and Anke congratulate Trudy with her birthday, the rest of our group will do this at breakfast. Back in our rondavel, Trudy lies down for a little while (because it is her birthday, so she says). It's cloudy and still nice and cool when I wake her up at 8.15, quite a difference compared to yesterday, when the temperature rose to 42 degrees Celsius during the day.
When walking to the restaurant for breakfast we spot ten rhinoes at the waterhole, from babies to very old pensioners.
After breakfast and another little beauty nap, we have to be on the bus at 11 am. Manzini, a city where there is not much more than industry, is our destination for today. We're visiting a market which is mainly visited by locals for their daily groceries. A space is present where souvenirs are sold, but that doesn't take us long to browse through. Real life is what interests us, so off we go to the barbershop, where Jos has his beard trimmed and where a musician plays his guitar and makes his little puppets dance. After a while we walk into a small shop where medicinal herbs are sold. When I ask the owner whether I can take a picture or not, he stares at me as if I've gone completely mad.
Even in a bigger city like Manzini, you don't really have to worry about your safety, crime is punished immediately. A pickpocket for instance will be caught by the people walking in the street, all you have to do is shout "Thief!!". He will then be brought to justice on the spot. But all in all the Swazis are very friendly and willing to help whenever you ask them.
We're having a very good lunch on the terrace of a restaurant next door to a place called Swazi Candles. The double thick milkshake honours its name, it's so thick we have to eat it with a spoon, instead of the straw that came with it. The people at Swazi Candles produce candles in every shape, form and colour by hand and we can walk through the little factory to watch the process.
At 3 pm we start our one hour drive back to the lodge. We want to go to the restaurant to have a drink, but the rhinoes, hippoes, impalas and elephants entertain us until 6.30, which is about dinner time. Before dinner Trudy buys everyone a drink, because it's her birthday today.
After dinner we get to see a traditional Swazi dance show, which is quite nice. The men are all bare chested, the women are wearing garments with a very large print of the king on them. At the end of the show (of course) we have to participate in the dancing. When the show is over the entire crew and all the instruments are packed onto a pickup truck and they disappear waving into the deep dark of the night.
When we walk back to our rondavel, at the waterhole 15 to 20 impalas are watching us, but because of the darkness, all we can see are the eerie reflections of their eyes.