Thursday, May 25, 2017

Easter Swaziland day 3: Malalotja to Hlane

Malalotja - Piggs Peak - Hlane
+- 170 km

It was still raining.
Visibility was low, but through the mist you could see a herd of curious Blesbokkies a few meters from our camp. It was Saturday morning, right in the middle of Easter weekend, and we were the only two people in the whole campsite.

We stoked the donkey again, had the last of the soetkoekies with coffee, and packed up the wet tent.

The TW didn't like getting rained on all night, the kickstarter was useless, so I warmed up running around the campsite to get the bike going.

There was almost no visibility, so it was very slow going. We were on the M1 for only about 6 kms, but we rode about 20 kms an hour. Not for the first time I was amazed and relieved that the Swaziland drivers seem to be more patient than the Sandton drivers I am used to - all cars were driving very slowly and I saw no one trying to overtake.

Once we turned off onto the SZ30 (to go see the dam wall) we dropped to below cloud-level. It was still raining, but at least we could see where we were going. And the weather forecast DID say that maybe by this afternoon the rain will give us a breather.

We followed the SZ30 until it joined the M1 again just before Piggs Peak.

Hardy filled the bikes up while I tried to get something to braai that evening. Piggs peak is huge with at least 2 big supermarkets. In Shoprite I had a choice between 10 kgs, 5 kgs or 2 kgs of frozen chicken pieces. Even the 2 kgs sounded a bit much for supper and breakfast for 2 people ... the other option was fish fingers, but I wasn't entirely sure if (a) they can be braaied, and (b) how quickly they will defrost, leaving the top box and everything else smelling of fish. (*1)
The other supermarket had the same selection of bulk frozen chicken, but no fish fingers.

So we opted for a pack of nicknaks, 12 chelsey buns (the closest I could get to hot cross buns and the smallest pack they had) and a buddy <some sweet fizzy drink>

From Piggs Peak we followed the MR2. It's a lovely road, beautiful condition, very little traffic. Not much happening on the about 130 km stretch of road to Hlane.  Sometime during the afternoon we stopped to refuel and eat lunch ont eh pavement (nicknaks and chelsey buns). It was the first time since we left Randburg 3 day ago that we could take the raingear off. (*2)

The initial plan was to kind of circumnavigate Swaziland, but by the time we entered the Hlane national park, the thought of setting up camp in daylight became very appealing.

So we stopped at the office. The campsite at Hlane was a lot busier than Malalotja, but they could squeeze us in.

Some daylight time to dry the wet tent out a bit.

Since we didn't get anything to braai in Piggs Peak, we cooked the emergency tuna-and-cheese. But there was an unlimited amount of firewood available, so we made a big campfire anyway.

*1 - For future reference: I turns out you can braai fish fingers. Once home we bought some fishfingers to experiment with. We put some straight on the braai, some on foil on the braai, and some inside a foil packet with tomato sauce and onions. The packet with the tomato sauce and onion worked the best - not only does it taste the best, but its also far easier to manage one foil packet than 16 loose fish fingers.

*2 - One of the problems with leaving home with your full rainkit on and riding with it for 3 days, is that the 'rainkit'-space in the topbox mysteriously disappear.

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