This was the day I was most looking forward to! First we put on our gear and went to find the horses. 3 of the more experienced riders went out first for a longer hack whilst we groomed and got our horses ready. I was matched with sighted guide Jo for this which was nice as we are both of similar age and have got a sense of humour so I knew we’d get on very well. Our horse was called Huckleberry and was a beautiful grey/white horse one of my favourites. Such a lovely patient horse having us digging around in his hoof and fiddling with his mane and tail. Once finished we put the saddles on and then swapped horses, I was gutted not to be riding a white horse but when I met Baloo a beautiful dark brown horse I fell in love and I was ok knowing Huckleberry was being ridden by my good friend Sarah.
Anyway after having photos taken we set out on our horse riding safari. We rode through long grassy areas in the midst of Wildebeest which are beautiful dark brown animals which never look very friendly, Impala, Nyala and Blesbok as well as beautiful zebra. We also rode towards the crocodile pool where I very nearly had a bad accident as Baloo bolted as we went down a slope towards the lake but somehow I managed to hold on tight to Baloo and stop him just before the croc pool, a scary experience but one which hasn’t put me off horses!
Riding on horseback through the wilderness is something spectacular, you can get closer to animals than you ever can on anything else and it just feels so wonderful. The crocs and Hippos were in the lake lurking somewhere. Crocs are weird creatures like from the dinosaur times with their skeletal skin but it’s amazing they allow little birds to sit on them and ducks to sit nearby without batting an eyelid. Unfortunately a zebra had lost its life thanks to a croc so it’s odd to thing these birds Trust these crocs.
Pic shows me standing next to white horse smiling at the camera
Pic of the grassy areas with blesbok and Wildebeest
Pic of the lake with the croc lying on land
A close up of the croc and the ducks sitting next to him
A close up of a Wildebeest standing in the grass
Pic shows Jo and Chris on their white horses with the green grass below and mountains behind
Close up of me smiling as I ride a dark brown horse which is Baloo
A group photo of 8 of us Riding the horses back to the stables on a path
Day 3 we transferred and said goodbye to Mbabane and moved to Mlilwane were we were more in tune with nature than I have ever been before. We stayed in what the swazi’s call beehive huts but I have always called them half coconuts because that is really what they look like. They are beautiful little huts and I was so looking forward to staying in one and being in the midst of some wild animals. At the camp we saw Nyala, Impala and Blesbok which are all a type of antelope, they have the most beautiful and soft eyes and were just happily munching the grass at the camp. There were also warthogs which are the cutest little things but with the most annoying voices screaming the place down if the babies couldn’t locate their mothers! We did witness some people being stupid with the warthogs trying to get near them and touch them and it really annoyed me because these are wild animals who can do damage if they want to, they are not to be played or tampered with, leave them be and observe them from afar. Yes I so wanted to feel their fur because not being able to see them touching them enables us to build a picture of whatever it is but I know that they are wild animals and we were told not to go near them. We were very fortunate in that we were able to feel crocodile skin which is very weird, Impala, vervet monkey, blesbok and Nyala fur which was incredible all so beautifully made, we also allowed to feel skeletons for various animals included elephant, rhino and giraffe and the various antelopes and it was amazing just to feel the solid but fragility of these skulls, a very unique opportunity to feel how carefully and wonderfully made these animals are.
Later in evening we went on a safari drive where we were able to see wild blesbok, wilderbeast, nyala, impala and Zebra. All these animals in their natural environment was amazing to see. All with their unique colours, coats and antlers. Take the Zebra for example with it’s most amazing stripes and just being out in the jeep sitting near them as they happily eat the grass. We also got to see not so nice snares which poachers put out to catch different animals all collected by the rangers of the Mlilwane national park rangers. What a valuable job they do keeping these animals safe from poachers. Out in the wilderness with these wild animals was tranquil, we were able to sit by the dam drinking and listening for the different sounds of the animals. Pure Bliss
First pic shows me in a beige polo shirt and beige shorts with a black bumbag on standing in the doorway of a beehive hut or half coconut as I would call it.
second pic shows a Nyala which is a light brown antelope with white stripes eating grass
Pic 3 shows an elephant an rhino skull both extremely large skulls.
Pic 4 shows Impala which is a dark brown antelope with a lighter brown half way down its body before going white underneath eating grass.
Pic 5 is a Blesbok which is a really dark grey/brown colour again going lighter towards the bottom eating grass.
Pic 5 shows a dark brown wildebeest standing tall in a patch of grass.
Pic 6 shows a baby black and white striped zebra in the grass standing next to the back of its mum.
and pic 7 shows the mountains and hills and lake as we sit by drinking and listening for sounds of the different animals.