Day 3 of my holiday to Swaziland (4th April): Today was a busy day. First we went to Maguga Dam so we could have a boat trip on the dam which was unfortunately incredibly low due to the drought they had experienced so instead of a 1 hour boat trip we could only do 30mins. We learnt all about the dam, when it was first built, when it was last at its fullest point and how many years it takes for the dam to get to its capacity, I found it very interesting and tranquil even though there were supposedly crocodiles and hippos in the dam we didn’t see them thank goodness! We then got back on board the bus and went to visit Sipo’s homestead to meet his mum and dad and see his village which had a Parliament House were they would take people who had had disagreements etc and put it right, we found out where they keep their cattle, were chickens lay their eggs on side of the crawl (cattle barn) in nests made for them and about a little cat who is there to catch “mouses”. The swazi’s have a unique way of saying certain things and it’s quite cute! Definitely made me smiles :). We tried sugar cane which was lovely and met the children before heading back via a very muddy, rocky path. We then headed to Maguga lodge for lunch and to see some traditional dancing which was incredibly entertaining and then Sipo tried to imitate which had us in stitches. Over lunch we had the discussion about how to say “Pap” the correct way but I didn’t get it right according to Sarah so I gave up and after this me and Sarah got on so well we had each other in hysterics constantly, just thinking about it makes me chuckle! The traditional dancing especially from the girls was something incredibly special which normally only happens during the reed dance in August so we felt incredibly privileged to see this in full action and in the beautiful traditional dress. We then got back in the bus, Jack did his counting again and we went back to the hotel where I went for a swim with Carol (my sighed guide), Anja and Dietmar (The Germans), Christine, Jo and Jack and Jo M sat on the side watching us. We had a great time, lots of laughs, a good swim and then we went back to our rooms, had a bath and then rested before Jack’s and Jenny’s chat and dinner which again was a variety of different foods to try all very nice. Then it was bedtime ready for the next day.
Day 2 of Swaziland: We made our way through Johannesburg airport after being warned not to accept any help from people offering their services as we had our transfer minibus waiting outside. I have to say walking through the airport I didn’t feel safe but we were soon out in a big circular area where we met Sepo (I think) who was our minibus driver. He and Jack loaded the suitcases into the little trailer at the back and we got on the bus via a very tall step which I struggled to get up as we were seated at the front so didn’t have the steps to help us but I got a push up from my sighted guide which made us laugh and then we climbed into our seats. We had more travelling now to do, 4 hours in total to get to our first hotel. We stopped halfway through at a service station where people immediately were gobsmacked when they spotted a Nandos because they couldn’t believe they could have a Nandos in Africa! We resisted the temptation to go in and just went to have a leg stretch, look around the shops, pop to the ladies and then outside of this service station was a water hole where we sat and watched Water Buffalo, Ostriches and Emu’s and possibly a couple of rhino grazing, what an amazing and unique service station to start off our adventure! After about 30mins we boarded the bus again with Jack counting to make sure we were all here saying “it wouldn’t look good on me if I lost someone at the very beginning before we even get into Swaziland” we all laughed, he closed the door, got in and we went on our way to our first destination but we had to pass through the South African and into Swaziland boarder which fortunately wasn’t complicated. We arrived at just after 12pm where we were greeted by Ruth who runs the Forresters Arms in Mbabane and Jenny our fantastic tour guide who would be with us for the rest of the trip. They had the fire roaring because they were cold whilst we were lovely and warm and slowly began to roast as we sat in the room where the fire was so our cardigans and jumpers etc came off so we were just in tshirts. They delivered our suitcases to our rooms and gave us our keys so we could go to the loos and sort ourselves out before having lunch in the restaurant. I decided to stick with something healthy as I didn’t feel like eating much still due to my nerves so I had lots of salad, some ham and some bread and then I think I had dessert after as I was feeling a bit better by this point and was quite hungry after not eating much on the plane and during the transfer to the hotel. After lunch we were asked if we fancied a walk with Jenny which all of us wanted as we needed a leg stretch so she said we should meet outside the hotel at 4pm I think, we were then given wifi codes and we were then given a bit of time to settle into our rooms before the walk. The walk was through a woodland with not much there wildlife wise apart from a few birds but it was lovely and quiet and seemed like just what I needed to loosen up my legs. We then got back around 5:30, had a little rest before we had dinner at 7pm meeting at 6:30pm for Jack and Jenny to do their spiel regarding the following day. Our drinks were bought by Jenny to welcome us to this amazing little kingdom. We moved into the restaurant then for dinner where I had mixed creamy vegetable soup for starters, I can’t remember what I had for dinner or dessert but it was all very nice smile emoticon. Then we went to bed to get some proper sleep which we had been deprived of during the flight so that we were ready to face our first busy day on 4th April.
Day 1 of my holiday was spent travelling. Arrived at the airport just after 3pm on 2nd April met up with a couple of travellers coming on the trip, had a drink with them before ringing Tour Manager Jack to tell him of our arrival so he turned up to introduce himself before heading to the meeting point within the airport. Just before 4 we made our way to the meeting point where we got introduced to the rest of travellers who were all very nice, down to earth people. We checked in and got our bags sorted before heading for a look around the airport and buy anything we needed before we boarded the flight to Johannesburg. We arrived at the boarding point at 6:10 I think but were the last ones there which we didn’t realise as we thought we would get there early but the others got there first! We got priority boarding which was good but we were sat away from the rest of group which didn’t really matter and I had my sighted guide next to me who was lovely. The flight left at 19:05 and was an 11 hour flight but it was better because it was overnight. I felt really nervous so didn’t really fancy eating much food but I ate as much as I could, I then tried to go to sleep which was sort of successful but woke up early hours not knowing the time and wishing we were nearly there as I needed the loo but didn’t want to wake the people next to me so had to hold on till morning which seemed like an age away lol! Finally the lights came on around 6 I think and they brought round breakfast which was nice considering it was plane food. Once the guy next to me on my left had woken up we went to the loo thank goodness I felt so relieved! We arrived at just after 7am on 3rd April in Johannesburg were we had to go through passport control and retrieve our bags before transferring to Swaziland by minibus. Day 2 of trip to follow tomorrow.