Swaziland the land of dreams
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I have been privileged to have been able to visit or live in 36% of the countries of the world, I only know this fact as the TravelBuddy map says so! I am originally a citizen of the UK and was working in the software industry, which gave me many opportunities for 3-6 month contracts in many countries. It was always my intention to retire in Thailand but when a friend asked me to help him sort out a problem in Swaziland I came to have a look. Swaziland is a beautiful country almost completely encircled by mountains and unlike most of Africa it still has much of its bush intact.
Its a long story how I came to be here so I wont bore you, but in essence a local chief offered me 40 hectares for free if I would come and open a business, and as swaziland is so beautiful and friendly I told him I would consider it. Well I went back to Singapore, where I was then based and spent a whole week!! thinking about everything before I decided to go. So here I am, you want to look me up you can find me at www.litubalodge.com where we offer accommodation and good food to the weary traveller.
There are 3 temperate zones in Swaziland, in the North the 'Highveld' with its mountainous grandeur, it looks like Switzerland, in the middle around Manzini, the 'Middleveld' is slightly warmer and rolling hills the 'Lowveld' where I live where it is true bush and even warmer. As I have seen in earlier blogs people have noticed that there is a difference between the people of Africa and it is true the Swazi's are the friendliest and most accommodating people I have ever met, similar to the people of Thailand and Indonesia. They have a problem with AIDS like all the African countries, but this has pretty much worked its way through the middle aged population, the younger generation are more educated, and the ravages AIDS has been reaking will come to an end. There is some poverty i.e. they dont have money, but remember for 000's of years these families have existed without work. Generally a family homestead has its own cows, goats and chickens and they grow maize (mealie) in the fields. Mealies are very versatile and can be made into everything they need including bread and the porridge (called PAP) they eat with everything. So generally a household is self supporting they have meat and veg. You do not often see a thin Swazi and it's very difficult to see one without a smile.
So what is there to do? well the 2 best game reserves in Swaziland are down by my lodge, Mkhaya and Hlane ....Hlane has all the big 5 but is especially noted for its herd of white rhinos. Using my lodge as an adress it costs just R15 to drive yourself around this game reserve, but its well worth taking the tour with the game ranger (about R150) as you will get to see much more including the lions (they wont let you drive into the lion enclosure on a self drive). Mkhaya is a dirfferent trip, it's the best reserve; almost untouched and certaily uncommercialised but its an all day visit inclusive of lunch. I dont know what the current cost is but it was around R250 per person.
Maputo is a vibrant city, the capital of Mozambique, where the nightlife doesnt stop on a Friday / Saturday night, if you like seafood then this is the place for you, I go to buy all the seafood for my lodge once every ten days from the market in Maputo. Further north the beaches and lodges are beautiful and the fishing is great, the diving gets good around Inhambane.
Kruger National Park for the serious safari goers, is 2 hours north of me but you must plan a 2 day stop if you ar going to visit as it's huge.
In Swaziland the 'Must sees' include Ezulwini or Manzini craft markets; Swazi Candles; Sibebe rock; Baobab Batik; Ngwenya glass, Mahamba gorge.
Must do's include too many thingsto list, see swazi trails for the more adventurous!! www.swazitrails.co.sz
Contact me if you need to know something or want help arranging your own tour; otherwise have fun!!!