Friday, 22 April 2011

The Valley of Heaven

Also known as Ezulwini Valley. We left Nelspruit in the morning, luckily didn't have to wait so long for the mini-taxi to leave (as it was already almost full when we got to the rank, and they don't leave until it is full). Waiting to cross the border into Swaziland was another matter, we stood in the queue for 2hrs, in the cold. Lizzie was only wearing a t-shirt, so she definitely felt it the most.

An angel in the form of a nursing student by the name of Lindelwa helped us find our feet. She was getting picked up from Mbabane, the capital of Swarziland, by her taxi driver friend. She ended up going to the hostel, Legends Backpackers with us to see us off, and she was calling hostels for us on the bus. So incredibly sweet of her, we have met some really helpful and nice people on our travels so far. We also took Tulan's number in case we needed a taxi. It has worked out pretty well, considering we didn't get a car, and were told by various people that we won't get there. 

So it was Earth Day yesterday and we had a braai (or barbeque) at the hostel. We managed to get food from the supermarket before it shut, a man from Thailand who was also staying at Legends created a diversion whilst we ran in. The security guard was being difficult. Anyhow, we were walking down there with a young architect who has been on the road for 2 years now since he left uni. He sleeps in a floating hammock (his own design and making), works via the internet, and cycles his way around Africa. Balthazar Sieders (what a name) was from Holland originally, studied in Switzerland and moved around the world a lot when he was a child. His dad was a scientist, and his mum, an environmental activist. I was in awe of his nomadic lifestyle, he takes only one shirt and one pair of trousers when he is travelling. He stays in a place for 4-6months at a time, and buys clothes for that time, donates them when he leaves on his trusty bicycle. It was his last day at the hostel yesterday, and he got us beers, it was lovely to meet him. Such a nice guy. Must get lonely though, he doesn't have a home to call his own, his parents are always on the move, and so is his sister.

So we had a great Earth Day, eating by candlelight outside, music playing, people laughing. The man from Thailand kept cutting us pork chops. Balthazar teased me about how many photos I took of the fire. Someone else joked that I was on drugs because I said that the fire was talking to me.  Never had banana with energy bar on the fire before either - we all had a wonderful evening. I got up at 6.30am this morning, but I think I have just missed him leave. Managed to make tea, and then spill tea all over my hand and all over the floor this morning. Man from Thailand now laughs every time he sees me. Gave up on keeping a banana count, because I eat them more than I drink water over here. Ok, maybe not quite true, but I do eat a lot of bananas.

Plan of action today, going for a hike to see Sheba's Breast, named after the Queen of Sheba who supposedly seduced King Solomon. Then we're getting more food to cook tonight, before going to House on Fire for live music (two girls from the hostel were going and have a car). Also there's Going Rural in the evening, selling crafts made by local women, so we will have a look at that also. Must have will-power. 

Anyhow, caving, white water rafting, cultural tours are some of the things we will get up to in the next few days. Got to go now and get ready for the hike. 

To Lizzie's mum, Lizzie says not to worry about the credit card!, Thank you very much for asking. 


  1. It is good to hear from you. So glad that you were able to make the trip to Swaziland.

    Was the border into the country busy simply because many tourists had the same idea over the Easter weekend?

    Tis funny, after the death of Elizabeth Sladen (the woman who played Sarah-Jane Smith from Doctor Who), I watched an episode of Sarah-Jane Adventures on iPlayer. One of the character's mothers was an environmental activist, and he globetrotted around the world, never staying in place for too long. Didn't look like he travelled with a single set of clothes though.

    Were you able to see the interactive google Earth Day logo? If not, a video can be seen here:

    I suppose that the Sheba naming is somewhat related to King Solomon's mines, due to SA's rich mineral deposits. Wish that I could be there sometimes, but know that I would simply hold back the fun.

  2. Hey there! Sorry it took so long to get onto the blog, I lost it and didn't think to look on your Facebook to retrieve it until now. >o< I love your crochetted bunny friend! Reminds me of my rainbow bunny Smidgen, my old baby toy I take to every new place with me. XD

    I'm glad you guys are doing okay out there. Here's a cat made out of a poptart flying through space to amuse you:


  3. Nooo... not the Nyan cat >°ᴥ°<

  4. Tashie! What a nice surprise! The net is somewhat slow, so I was only able to see the first 8 seconds of the poptart cat, but wow, what the hell! I say this after not having much sleep. I too thought of Smidgen when bunny arrived :-)

    Peter, many a time I've wished you were here with me on the trip. Generally not when I'm in the hospital, but everywhere else. Ok, maybe not downtown Joburg. The soil here is so red with the haematite.