Monday, May 29, 2017

Easter Swaziland day 4: Hlani to Mlilwane

Hlani - Manzini - Ezulwini - Mlilwane
About 120 km

It was the first time on this trip that we woke up to a (partially) blue sky. We left the tent pitched so that it can dry while we had breakfast at the tourist center. The reserve has a very 'Africa' feel to it - Botswana, Kruger - except maybe for the size of the game fences. Three hippos grazed about 20 meters from where we were having breakfast, on the other side just on the other side of 3 lines of barbed wire.

One of the problems with leaving home with full rain kit on, and riding with it for 3 days, is that the top-box space where the rain-kit usually go, kind of disappears. But we managed to fit everything in - just! It was late-ish when we left, but we only had about 100 km to ride for the day, and the sum was shining (at last!)

We followed the MR3 past Manzini. Manzini is a huge town and looks a bit like inner-Johannesburg with a few Spars and Woolworths added.

 It was Easter Sunday and there was a big gathering just outside Ezulwini - later we learnt that the King and King mother attended service there. Huge traffic congestion, but we found a way past it (and almost ended up back in the same traffic jam due to a slight detour)

The plan was to camp at Mlilwane, but they were fully booked and sent us to the Sondzela backbackers in the reserve. They were fairly busy, but we were the only campers - everyone else preferred to stay inside.

The path to Sondzela. After we checked in, we rode to Malkerns to get something for supper. The Shoprite had a far more Western feel to it, and we found Turkey drumstick and some chakalaka wors to braai with nicknaks for salad.  We paired this with some Sibebe and sunshine.  

Had a great evening mingling with some other tourists (from Canada, Norway, China) around a camp fire.

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