Life is an Adventure.

The Kingdom of Swaziland.
A small landlocked country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique.

By now we were part of a slightly larger group but primarily traveling in our due (Me and PJ) and a new member Amy. The three of us had planned on getting to Mozambique together.

One of the highlights of Swaziland was a trip to the Manzini market.

After 5 months without a haircut I decided it was time - however the market in Swaziland may have been quite an adventurous place to try it!

We also went on a walk to a waterfall and to see some traditional dancing.

SOUTH AFRICA (Kwazulu Natal) APRIL 08

Life is an Adventure.

After the snowy mountains of Lesotho our trio arrived back in Kokstad and hopped on a bus headed to Durban. From the cold Southern Drakensberg to the tropical temps of Durban - as the bus travelled we were striping layers off by the minute!
We arrived in a great hostel in the city of Durban and went for a wander.
EEK cities are horrible after so much time in the wild. Cars, noise, people, tall buildings.... it was crazy!
That evening the three of us settled down to our last dinner together and our last tournament of a card game that we had become addicted to 'Backpacker'.
The next day we would be heading to my friend's Duck Farm - PJ and I would be staying and Orla would be catching a bus out of there to get her flight home.

Seeing my friend Sally again was fantastic - we had worked together in London in a bar along with Andy (Cape Town). We had caught up at Andy's wedding and now PJ and I would be spending a couple of nights on Sally's family Duck farm! Fantastic! And our first night there they were having a party!

Our days in Durban with Sally and Mark were great - they showed us the tourist sights and we had a good catch up.

Soon enough though it was time for me and PJ to hop back on the bus. This time headed to explore the zulu culture in Eshowe.
We explored the Dlinza forest and saw some traditional dancing.

Then we spent a day with a wonderful character in a local zulu village.

One of the last things to do in Eshowe was to visit the local orphanage.
I was interested to see how it would compare to Tanzania. 


Life is an Adventure.
Leaving Bulungula was tough but soon the excitement was mounting for the next destination.
Again we were headed somewhere on a recommendation. Mike and Jo back in Buffalo Bay had told me about a horse trek that they had done. They had ridden from the Southern Drakensberg mountains up in to Lesotho. And I was off to find the hostel and the infamous 'Steve' that had made it all happen.
Orla, a keen horse-rider, was particularly excited and PJ, always up for an adventure, was on board too.
We got a bus to the town of Kokstad and waited for a pick up from a service station - another hard to reach place that I was taking us to!
When we finally arrived in the town of Underberg at the Khotso backpackers we were greeted by the famous steve and his team, holding cold ciders for us with a roast dinner almost ready!

Steve certainly was a character!
We spent a couple of days taking long walks, admiring the horses and gasping at the snowy peaks of the Drakensberg mountain range.

We had reports of snow in the mountains and it was touch and go regarding our planned horse trek.
However the night before we packed our saddle bags and went to sleep hoping the weather would permit us to ride the next day.
The next morning it seemed luck was on our side.
A canadian guy called Jonathan was joining us for the trek, he had been traveling about for what seemed like forever working from place to place. His girlfriend Simone was working at the hostel and would be staying behind.

The 4 of us jumped in the back of a truck with our saddle bags ready and were driven to the start of the trail.

We got our horses saddled up and hopped on.
And away we went.
Soon in to the trek we reached the border to exit south africa. It was fantastic crossing the border on horseback - we reached in to our saddle bags to hand over our passports without even dismounting!
And so we exited South Africa and after a long trot through No Mans Land we crossed in to Lesotho.
Lesotho is the southernmost landlocked country in the world.
The landscape was incredible and it wasn't long before we were crossing fast moving streams and rivers, climbing steep rock inclines - moving ever closer to the snowy peaks.

When we first hit the snow it was incredible - SNOW IN AFRICA!!

We had a wonderful picnic on a rocky ledge admiring the deep snowy patches and the signs of life still living amongst the snow.

As we got further in to the mountains the rocky ridges became narrow and the rocks icy - I had to put all my trust in to my horse HP. He was doing me proud. The wonderful thing about traveling on horseback is that you reach places that you'd never get to on foot.

We arrived at the lodge that night exhausted and very sore after a long days ride.
We got the fire going - it was freezing and settled our weary bums on bean bags!

The next morning we saddled up and got out on the horses again! Now that the snow had stopped coming down the sun was out and beating down! Riding through the snow in the hot sunshine!

Late morning we 'parked' our horses up and went to admire some fascinating cave paintings.

And on we rode.

Our lunch spot that afternoon was lots of fun!

We spent the late afternoon riding - our final stop to see some ruins.

On the ride back we had let the horses have a bit of a gallop - PJ had been racing along with Jonathan and was covered in slush and mud when we arrived back!
The boys headed off to the village shop to stock up on drinks for the evening and the girls got the fire started.

We spent the evening curled up under blankets with our sore backsides on bean bags (!) playing cards by candle light and chatting about past and future travels.
And when one of the puppies managed to get in I couldn't help but warm it up under my blankets. I loved it so much!

The next day the time came to bid farewell to the lodge, get back on our horses and spend the day riding back to South Africa.

And eventually we can to the end of the trail. A fantastic trip had come to an end.
We boarded the back of the pick up truck again and were joined by a group of children in need of a lift to school. And soon we were heading back to the farm.