Monday, July 28, 2014


Over the 4th of July weekend we took a little road trip to The Kingdom of Swaziland! Paul spent a summer there back in 2005 but for Piper and me it was our first time (and Piper's 3rd country)!

The scenery from the car window once we were in Swaziland!

The drive to the border crossing was pretty boring, about 4 hours, crossing the border though was pretty entertaining. Checking out of the South Africa side was as expected - poorly labeled as to what to do/where to go, no queues, but organized just enough that we got through in about 15 minutes. Going through immigration on the Swazi side was amusing chaos. They were doing renovations to the immigration office so they moved the passport control checks to the back of a truck. Literally, the back of a truck. A swazi official was collecting passports that were being handed to her from the mob of people swarming the door of the truck. Once she had a large stack she would disappear into the truck and for the next 15 minutes you could here the thunk thunk of the passports being stamped. Then she was back to the door with the stack of passports reading off nationalities/ID numbers and handing the passports to whoever raised their hands. Our passports were stamped and our visa's issued while Paul and Piper were wandering around the border area, there was no identification or linking us to our passports at all. I was highly amused by the entire adventure! (Significantly better than my last overland border crossing - between Jordan and Palestine, Swazi was much more chaotic, but mellow and entertaining)!

Our first stop upon entering Swaziland was the Ngwenya Glass Factory where we watched the glass blowing artists create some very cool pieces. All of the glass that they use is recycled, mostly from soda bottles from all over the little kingdom. Of course we couldn't leave without some new wine glasses!

Piper and Paul posing with a glass blown ducky, and our new set of very solid, hand blown wine glasses!

Riding horses and checking out the grass huts in the Swazi valley

The following day we went on a hike in Malalotja National Park on the Northeastern border of Swaziland. We were trying to find the nesting Southern Bald Ibis (a bird found only in a small part of southern africa) but no such luck. Instead we enjoyed a lovely, strenuous, hike through the mountains. 

We did manage to see some birds (l to r): African Stonechat (female), Buff Streaked Chat (female), Plain Backed Pipit x2, Buff Streaked Chat (male)

It's a good thing Piper likes to hike, we were out there looking for those Ibis's for about 5 hours! We did see a couple of waterfalls off in the distance and one warthog! We were all exhausted that evening and after some milk and a delicious dinner at the lodge we retired to the room for a good nights rest.

The next morning, before heading back to Pretoria, we explored the grounds of the Foresters Arms, where we were staying. If horses are anywhere nearby we must go and visit them (this is for both Piper and my benefit)! Piper had a blast seeing and petting the horses, I can't wait until she is big enough to ride one!

Even in the winter there were plenty of birds at the lodge to try to identify, Piper is becoming a very good birder! Although her parents don't seem to be very good...we saw numerous new birds, but just couldn't agree on what they were!

 Pretty flowers and a Fork Tailed Drongo

More views from Swaziland out the car window!

Another great 4th of July get-away for the Plevasides family! We have three more years in SA, I think we'll be back to Swazi again! 

1 comment:

Marie said...

The one of her holding the binoculars is EPIC. Love love your pictures lady!