The Animal Roaming Park and Potholes of Swaziland, Africa

After pitching our tent, I took a breather by the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland, while admiring the array of bird life and animals including elephants, hippos and kudus. (Oct. 2, 2018)

Goodbye South Africa, at least for just a little while. Hello Swaziland and the Hlane Royal National Park! A developing country with a population of about 1.3 million as of 2016, Swaziland is ruled jointly by King Mswati III and his mother, Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala. The King along with his expansive family, including 15 wives and 23 children, own quite a bit of this developing Third World country where 63% of the people live on less than $1.25 per day while the King lives lavishly on an annual budget in the millions.

Crossing the border from South Africa into Swaziland, was rather quick and easy. No visa is required to enter the country. And, the road connecting South Africa to Swaziland is descent especially if you’re heading to the Hlane Royal National Park and I’m told, although we did not visit the area where the king lives in Lobamba that the roads there are good too, but the roads into the villages are infested with potholes.

The park where we camped, Hlane Royal National Park, was incredible. Although electricity was not available at the camp site or in the facilities, the park had running water and welcoming shower and toilet facilities. The park and camp grounds are smaller in comparison to Kruger National Park in South Africa but intimate, peaceful and full of roaming wildlife…the herbivores by the camp but the hippos hung out at the watering hole.

Getting to Swaziland from Kruger National Park in South Africa on Tuesday was a bit exhausting even the breeze from riding in the bus was stifling hot. I’ve really had to double my in-take of water, especially since I recently had both legs to cramp one right after the other. Plus, I’m taking anti-malaria pills and I’m told that these can add to the dehydration factor.

Here’s Swaziland. Next up is Mozambique and the St. Lucia Estuary in South Africa.

Inside the border of the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa. Nestled snugly between Mozambique, Northern Zululand and Mpumalanga, the border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland was very smooth and quick plus no visas…just my passport…was required at each border crossing. (Oct. 2, 2018)
Condomes are available at the Swaziland border of Swaziland, Africa, border. It is estimated that 26% of the adult population is HIV-positive. As of 2018, Swaziland has the 12th lowest life expectancy in the world, at 58 years. (Oct. 2, 2018)
After pitching our tent, I took a breather by the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland, while admiring the array of bird life and animals including elephants, hippos and kudus. (Oct. 2, 2018)
The various animals gathering at the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland. (Oct. 1, 2018)
Me, chilling by the hippopotamus watering hole, with other magnificent creatures, including rhinos, elephants, antelope, mating kudu and all forms of birds flying around as I sat under another magnificent African tree listing to the gorgeous birds chirping. Although it was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, the African weather changes like the topography of the land. (Oct. 2, 2018)
Yes, these are rhinos, casually strolling around the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland as I sat relaxing and enjoying the nature parade. (Oct. 2, 2018)
The various animals gathering at the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland. (Oct. 1, 2018)
The hippos at the watering hole at Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland. (Oct. 2, 2018)
When it got dark, there were no lights at the Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland camp site. And, the facilities, toilets and showers…(pictured here with the women t the left and men to the right) were lit inside by lanterns. It was one of the best showers and what made it even better is that the facilities were very close to our camp site for those middle of the night toilet runs. (Oct. 2, 2018)
At first, I thought it was cute that this female Nyala was following this female Nyala through the Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland as I was just sitting there relaxing. (Oct. 2, 2018)
Then it became clear to me why the male Nyala was following the female Nyala around the Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland. It’s the call of the wild. (Oc. 2, 2018)
Photos of the royal family hang in the office area at the Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland. From left: King Mswati III, his mother Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala and the former Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini. (Oct. 2, 2018)
Meshack, our guide and chef, explains what’s for dinner at our Hlane Royal National Park camp site in Swaziland…roasted chicken from a fire pit, salad and potatoes. We were also celebrating Helen, a tour member’s birthday. (Oct. 2, 2018)
The pothole roads of Swaziland. Although there are several clinics in the area, there may only be one ambulance so getting emergency services out to the people is oftentimes impossible. (Oct. 3, 2018)_
Leaving Swaziland for Mozambique on Wednesday morning and looking through the windshield of our Intrepid bus as our driver, Goodman, tries to navigate the potholes. Getting from place to place is both difficult and time consuming because the roads are so bad. (Oct. 2, 2018)
The homes of farmers along Swaziland’s potholed roads. (Oct. 3, 2018)
Many of the homes have electricity but don’t have running water in Swaziland. But there’s usually a pipe somewhere that the government provides so the people must carry the pipe to and from their homes. Homes which most likely, they themselves built. (Oct. 3, 2018)
Sugar cane is the main industry in Swaziland, which you can see growing for miles along this country’s beautiful landscape. (Oct. 3, 2018)
One of the sugar cane plants we passed on our way to the Swaziland border for Mozambique on Wednesday. The main labor force is agriculture and sugar cane growing is one of Swaziland’s main industries. (Oct. 3, 2018)
The fertile and stunning Swaziland landscape with the umbrella trees doting the land and the mountainside as a backdrop. This is Africa. (Oct. 3, 2018)