We left the tourist filled spots along the southern border and turned northeast to drive into the heart of South Africa. Along the way, we entered Lesotho for lunch and a short day-trip visit to the country. Then we continued on to Swaziland where we stayed for a few nights in the airbnb home of Tera's cousins Misti and Sbu, and stayed next to Sbu's wonderful large extended family. We spent Christmas there in Swaziland.
1. Cool trip into Lesotho to see all the roadside pop-up shops and talk to some locals
2. Getting to meet Sbu's family at his airbnb place
3. Walking safari through Milwane sanctuary
4. Fascinating look into Native Eswatini culture and living
1. Long days of driving
1. Cool trip into Lesotho to see all the roadside pop-up shops and talk to some locals - We drove towards the border of Lesotho, and it is always fascinating to me to see the busyness and commerce and alive-ness of border crossings. Many locals were returning home for the Christmas holidays and it was a busy time. Every border crossing is slightly different, with different requirements for people and cars and one has to be patient and inquisitive to do it right, and risk being turned around if you didn't go to right desk in the right order the first time (as happened to us)
2. Getting to meet Sbu's family at his airbnb place - Tera's cousin Misti met her husband Sbu on a trip to Swaziland, and eventually they married and now have two daughters. They built a house for themselves in Swaziland next to Sbu's mother's house, and they put it out on airbnb. It was a wonderful place to stay, and we got to meet his brother and mother and cousins and nieces and nephews, and all the other friends who were staying in the house.
3. Walking safari through Milwane sanctuary - This was a great wildlife sanctuary, with wide open plans full of zebra and antelope and birds. It had just rained and parts of the trail were pretty wet and muddy, which made for an even more interesting hike experience. We spent some of the time wading through a river canyon. It was very enjoyable.
4. Fascinating look into Native Eswatini culture and living - We spent an afternoon at the cultural village of the native people, with various huts for the family head, and the children and the first wife, and the 2nd and 3rd wives, and the girlfriends, and the young boys and the older boys, and the younger girls, and the older girls. Such a different and interesting culture to learn about, and experience through walking in and out the old huts and family compounds.
1. Long days of driving - This wasn't an unexpected lowlight, because we had chosen to drive across the country instead of flying, but it is a big country with long distances to drive. Most of the roads were decent, and google maps led us mostly in the right direction, but we did have to be very careful and slow down in some places because the roads were so full of potholes and damage. One gets a bit spoiled with well-maintained roads. Those roads don't exist everywhere. In fact, in some stretches, we saw women and small boys filling potholes with gravel, probably paid pennies an hour to do some work for the highway company.
Friday December 23: Here we truly began then our drive into the heart of South Africa. We made it into Lesotho for lunch at a soccer training venue (highly recommended on tripadvisor). We drove more into Lesotho and departed out another exit point and continued on to Warden. (about 10 hours of driving today)
Saturday December 24: We continued east to Swaziland and entered the country about lunchtime. We toured the Glass factory and checked in to Misti’s Airbnb and went back out to a Cultural Village and dance show. (about 5 hours of driving)
Sunday December 25: We woke up to our decorated avocado tree, and exchanged some small gifts before attending church at the Swaziland branch. We spent a lazy Christmas day back at the cottage.
Monday December 26: We took a morning walking safari tour at Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary, which was full of zebra, various antelope, alligators, and great savannah and forest scenery. Then we drove north to Hazyview, the gateway to Kruger National park. (about 4 hours of driving)
Fall Semester 2022
Here we go again! Our 8 Suitcases have been whittled down to 4 suitcases as we take a four month world trip with our two youngest kids, Megan and Jacob. From Canada to Europe to islands in the Indian Ocean and finally to South Africa, from Sep to Dec 2022, here are our travels and experiences.