Swaziland - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 11
Sunday 23rd March
Another early start this morning, although not as shockingly early as the past couple of days. Breakfast is included in the cost of our accommodation here and it was very nicely laid on and personally served by the housemaid. It’s fair to say that we have been made extremely comfortable and welcome here on the Tambuti lodge estate.
I forgot to mention yesterday about one of the guests at the party was a Swazi who came in traditional dress. We had our photo taken with him and his wife and it was a real treat to see a true original inhabitant in full traditional attire.
The game drive this morning started off a little weird in that we were instructed to drive to a meeting point and to then wait until we were picked up by one of the game reserve staff. The place we waited at was no more than a shack off the side of the road. It was reassuring to see three other white, Europeans also waiting there to join the morning drive. We are still adjusting to being in Africa and are never really very sure about which situations are ‘safe’ for us. It has to be said, however, that we have never really felt unsafe anywhere here in Swaziland.
Our main objective for the day was to secure a sighting of the Black Rhino. The morning started off a little disappointing in that we saw very few new animals. The fantastic successes of Kruger have left us spoiled with there being very little new animals for us to see. We did, in fact, see a lot of game during the drive but mostly animals that we’d already seen. The two of us along with the three others (two Spanish and one Portuguese) were driven off in a dilapidated, topless, game drive Jeep in the blistering heat. Sandy does not yet have a hat and so had to make do with a silk scarf wrapped around her head. I dubbed her ‘The Gypsy Rhino woman from Swaziland’. The look suited her.
We broke for lunch after about two and a half hours of bumpy, off-road surfaces and were presented with a somewhat surreal sight at the rest camp. In the middle of this bush and tree savannah landscape, in amongst a collection of trees, were a number of restaurant tables laid out with tablecloths and china. It was a completely unexpected sight. Lunch was served buffet style with rice and impala on the menu. We ate a little and enjoyed following some Monkeys, Wart Hogs and a small flock of Crested Guinea Fowl around the camp for an hour or so before heading out again. During the afternoon drive, it was just the driver and the two of us. Luckily, the afternoon drive would prove more fruitful than the morning drive as we actually managed to locate two Black Rhino – a mother and a three-year-old baby. Luck was once again on our side again as we able to get in very close for some spectacular pictures. After a while, the two huge animals (although a fair bit smaller than the White Rhino) even got up and started to stroll off. This presented us with even more opportunity to snap some great full frontal and side shots. During the drive, we even got to see an Iguana and several species of Antelope that we had not yet seen. All in all, today has turned out to be a huge success. Since we won’t be Safari’ing for a while, it is fitting that this latest drive should be so fruitful.
After returning back to the Tambuti Lodge B&B, we rested and freshened up before a lovely home made meal was once again personally served. Other than the blistering 40oC sun during the morning game drive, the only problem we have encountered today was the invasion of our bathroom by huge swarms of ants, which have turned the place into a horror movie scene. Luckily, we are finished with all our washing and can easily use one of the other bathrooms for the remainder of the night.