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  1. #1
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    Default Swaziland trip report: Sept 2010

    A small contribution (with photos) of my trip to Swaziland.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    I might be a FOOL, but I am an OLD fool - from unknown.

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  3. #2
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    Very nice TR Ockert. Some very good photo's too. I agree with you wrt the friendlyness of the people.

    In all fairness, once you've been to Hlane, you will not enjoy Mlilwane as much.

  4. #3
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    Thx Ockert123, very nice report.
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  5. #4
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    Nice report Ockert, I was there in August, exact same places as you, but won't go back again.
    "If it ain't broken - Modify it"
    -------------------------------------
    Ben
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  6. #5
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    Nice to read these things... we've booked in at Ndlovu for 2 nights and am looking forward to getting away!
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  7. #6
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    Default Mlilwane Visit: Jul 2007, April 2009, April 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by Morne Snyman View Post
    In all fairness, once you've been to Hlane, you will not enjoy Mlilwane as much.
    Hi Morne,

    I beg to differ .

    Call me biased, but having already been there six times (now also August 2015) - and planning to go again - this must hint that I like the place.

    In all fairness, I have not been to Hlane. But judging by the photos, it's a dusty, sparsely treed area. Frankly, I've seen enough wild animals in my lifetime, and prefer nature itself, especially shady forestry areas with views.

    Also, I'm not a camper, and the accommodation at Mlilwane is unique and very reasonable, at R390 p/p in Aug 2015.

    But, different horses, as they say.

    The fact remains that Swaziland is a great destination for Gautengers, being in such close proximity. I mean, less than 3 hours on good roads, and you're there - just avoid the Oshoek border post on Easter weekend .....

    Even from a long week-end at Badplaas - how much warm water can you reasonably take before you get bored with it ? - we've done 2 daytrips through Swaziland. This is how we discovered Mlilwane the first time - literally following my wife's instincts.

    In 2007, we went via Barberton through Bulembo via Mlilwane and out at Oshoek. They were in the process of tarring this road, but I see from images posted elsewhere, that this construction is now complete.

    In 2010 we followed the gravel road through Josefsdal, up the mountain, also entering via Bulembo. An incredibly scenic road, leading through the time warp abandoned mining village of Diepgezet. Being boomed off and let through by a security guard, the dorpie is intact, complete with school and houses and not vandalised at all. It looks like it could start up again tomorrow.

    The road is extremely snotty when wet - to the point that we came across two abandoned logging trucks. If they tried to extricate themselves from the mud any further, the sideways slip would have sent them over the edge. So they must maar wait untill the road surface dries out sufficiently to complete their journey.

    Another thing about Swaziland, is that the locals seem to understand that their income is derived mainly from tourism, and they are therefore very service-orientated. Friendly and helpful - none of the arrogance and neediness you tend to get at home. A most welcome change, I find.

    So, attached a trip report compiled following our second visit.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JJJ; 2015/08/31 at 07:55 AM.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
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  8. #7
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    Default Mlilwane again!

    OK, so here follows a report of our 4th visit to Mlilwane. And we're not done yet.

    The Journey
    Having previously entered Swaziland via Josefsdal/Bulembo (from Barberton) and Oshoek/Ngwenya (via Carolina), we decided to this time try the next border post: Nerston/Sandlane, via Amsterdam.

    Actually, not really via Amsterdam, as what is indicated as a gravel road on the 2007 (2nd Edition) Infomap of Swaziland, is now the main route – yellow lines and all – clearly signposted 16km short of Amsterdam.

    The border post was not overly busy – in fact, you could say we were the only people there. The condition of the road is bad, said the immigration official on the Swaziland side. We were somewhat surprised, as to date our experience had been different. Slow, yes, but not poor.

    Anyway, turns out he was right. Not vrot-bad, but daylight ONLY. Frequent pot-holes, but not large and you can see them well in advance. Also, as the average going on the secondary roads – MR19 in this case – is slow due to its winding and hilly nature, this is fine. The tar disappears completely on occasion – 3 times – but reappears anywhere between 100m and 2 km later.

    After turning right at the Bhunya junction heading for Manzini, matters improved, and the road is excellent. The Sappi paper mill here seemed to not be functional, although a large number of vehicles were parked there. But it is impressively large, looking like a mini-Sasol.

    Note that when coming up to the MR4 junction 20km down the road, similar to many other Pretorians, the locals also don’t quite know how a traffic circle works, although it’s the size of the one at Fountains. First come, first served, here.

    Left at the Manzini junction, following the road signs to the Mlilwane turn-off.


    Fees
    There is a conservation fee to be paid at the entrance of R40 pp/day, Wild Card holders free. The Beehive hut fees have increased slightly, but for R315 pp sharing is still excellent value.

    Let me rewind here, somewhat.

    One of the unique things about Mlilwane, is that unless you are a large group of say, 12 people, there is ALWAYS accommodation at very short notice. One can check availability and book online here - http://www.biggameparks.org/bookings/. I phoned the morning of our departure, as you cannot book online on-the-day, and there was space.

    So for a last-minute getaway or when everything else is full – like any of the Forever Resorts over holidays/long weekends – you’ll come right here.

    Once there
    Amongst others, here is what you can do:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Previously – see attachment of post above – I had waxed lyrical about the 4x4 trail, but that my car was somewhat lacking at the time, so I could not complete it. This time I had a proper offroader.

    Ja, it’s still only a Freelander 2, but compared to what I had last time, it is proper, mos?

    First, up through the plantations via a forestry track. To preserve it somewhat during the rainy season and prevent it from becoming a donga due to the water running down it, rather large diagonal rain gulleys had been built across it at a number of places. A rear wheel lifted a few times when crossing these, but the TC sorted this out.

    Once up at Birds Eye, we took a break before attempting the trail proper, this time in the other – clockwise direction. Very easy, as it is basically one long down-hill. Refer to the map below.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    For a more detailed view and an idea of the elevation profile, open the attached kmz file in Google Earth, right-click on the track and select Show Elevation Profile from the drop-down menu. You can now zoom, follow the track and get spot elevation and distances.

    Beautiful views, often from under the tree canopy, with the bushes on either side recently severely cut back. So no scratching of paintwork or mirror-slapping.

    Going is slow – HDC required sometimes, otherwise continuous modulation of the brakes – but not a single zingclangthud along the way. You will have that if you go too fast though.

    When I started recognizing the part of the trail I did the previous time, I thought “No Ways!” How did I even get that far with the Tiguan? But then I remembered mine was lifted by 30mm and the road was in a lot better condition the previous time, with a lot fewer wash-outs.

    We stopped along the way for another visit to the railway tunnels, which always gets me going – the infrastructure is there, but not the will or knowhow to utilize it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The tunnels were constructed in 1963, so my dad’s tax money probably contributed towards it.

    More pictures to follow.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by JJJ; 2019/11/17 at 12:20 PM.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJJ View Post
    ..................

    More pictures to follow.
    Now when do U deliver zzzeeeche photos? . Nice report Johny. tx
    Rulof
    Ford 3.0TDCI DC 4x4 2008- Wit Blits. LR Defender90 2.8i.-Bulletjie. Heeltyd speeltyd!!!
    ......you only experience the bush when the engine is switched off
    <v:shape id="_x0000_i1025" style="width: 415.5pt; height: 105pt;" type="#_x0000_t75"><v:imagedata src="file:///C:%5CTEMP%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.jpg" o:title="untitled"></v:imagedata></v:shape>

  10. #9
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    Jammer Rudolf, hier's nog so 'n paar.

    The overgrown railway line. The trees are all quavas. In April they are very edible.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Inside the restaurant

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    The restaurant deck

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    Hippos lazing

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    Depending on the season, sometimes the hippos are fed at the restaurant.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by JJJ; 2019/11/17 at 12:29 PM.
    If my post insulted you, wonder where the smiley went .

    Johnie
    Volvo XC60 T5
    180kW/350Nm (1500 - 4800 rpm)

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