Just back from a 12 day motorbike trip around some of Sri Lanka and feeling so glad to be back unscathed, in one piece, and able to sit still, to write feels like a pleasure not a chore!
So back to March 2016, to my final few posts on Southern Africa, and into the Kingdom of Swaziland….
Landlocked by Mozambique to the North, and South Africa to the rest, TKOSL is an absolute monarchy, ruled by the King, who is also head of state, and appoints the prime ministers to govern.
The first thing I noticed (from a layman’s point of view, as I am sure there are many dynamics to a country being run like this, beyond the scope of this blog), was how much more relaxed and chilled things seemed to be, at least coming from South Africa.
People were friendly, roads were quiet, and i was able to travel with no hassle at all. I came with no expectations and left with great memories.
It was my (legitimate) birthday whilst I was there, and after spending the eve in a spooky and empty converted stables, attacked by mosquitoes, with no sleep, I was upgraded, for free, to a local style of Rondaval on the proviso that I went out and bought a cake for the staff.
Seemed like a fair deal to me, and with the help of 2 young lads, who at first wanted my car, I found what must be the only patisserie in Swaziland, right on my doorstep. The staff loved it, and even though it was kind of weird being on my own without family or friends, just to celebrate with the staff was quite cool.
I decided to treat myself to something new for my birthday, so spent a few days learning to ride a horse…..total new experience for me.
My instructor (local legend Star) did not hold back, and after giving me a hard time on how bad I was, riding around in figure of 8’s for a few hours, it finally clicked, I got the connection with the horse, and was able to head out into the open countryside.
The rest of my time there was spent hiking out in the ozulwini valleys and mdzimbe mountains.
…learning how they dye the local materials that are exported across the country and further afield….
…and checking out famous music venues – House On Fire, no music on while I was here, but potential for great vibes….
…and eating corn on the cob, roadside.