Roaming Newton Chapter 10:
New Zealand was becoming very relaxed, in fact too relaxed for my own good. I like a city with energy and I like things happening around me, I wasn’t seeing too much of that in Auckland. However I knew my time in New Zealand was up when I came face to face with a Llama on Waiheke Island, I could handle the sheep and the cattle, but this was way too much for me. I needed something with a bite.
There I was packed and ready to go, saying goodbye to the slow chilled life of New Zealand and saying hello good old South Africa again. Sure the bite I was looking for wasn’t going to appear by magic in Johannesburg but I still new that Johannesburg was a lot more fast paced than Auckland, after all it’s the New York of Africa and if there can be Alligators and Ninja Turtles in the American sewers, Johannesburg could have something too!
After a few days of looking around and venturing through my backyard that is Johannesburg I didn’t find much. Besides the recent story of a pet tiger that got on the loose I couldn’t find anything that could crush my Llama debacle. That was until a friend of mine named Rusty - yes that was his name, well thinking of which I still don't actually know his real name - mentioned two things over a drink “Crocodiles” and a place called “Swaziland”. It sounded interesting and I decided to enquire more, Rusty the nicest and most rugged South African I know said it was an awesome place and the crocodiles there are just as snappy. Not one to turn down a challenge of going face to face with a reptile I took the adventurous Rusty’s suggestion. I decided to go check out what the Kingdom of Swaziland had on offer…with the hope of spotting a croc or two!
I left from Johannesburg with a printout of Google Maps and after a couple phone calls to the Human GPS that is Rusty, I was on my way. The drive from Johannesburg to Swaziland is pretty standard and it’s a great open drive, the scenery is spectacular and it reminds you that Johannesburg is quite simply a city that is surrounded by the greatness that is Africa. Once I had passed through the border I was pleasantly surprised with the calmness that is Swaziland, I had once driven through Swaziland on our adventure to Mozambique and this would be my first stay in the country. In fact, it was a nice rugged change from the chilled out environment of Auckland and the madness that is Johannesburg.
With the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel being set as a benchmark accommodation destination I decided to chance it and check out The Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary which had a curious Bee Hive Hut accommodation on offer. Cheaper than a five star hotel the accommodation wasn’t all that bad, fully kitted out and made of straw I did feel I was stuck in a nursery rhyme of sorts. However my challenge wasn’t the big bad wolf but rather to check out some reptiles. I had three days in which to see as much as I could in terms of breaking the mental hold of my Llama issues and this is what I found:
Day 1: Shower in Bee Hive made of straw is awesome! Sightings of Crocodiles zero, warthogs too many to count. I decide to get as close as I could to the lake in the sanctuary where my reptile beasts apparently roamed. This didn’t last long as I saw a Hippo and bolted.
Day 2: Decided to go horseback riding to investigate the croc habitat, apparently horses don’t like to go to close to the lake. However horses don’t mind letting it’s rider fall off whilst trying to eat wild fruit growing in the bush. At least my guide had a good laugh, I felt like Billy Crystal in the movie City Slickers.
Day 3: I got the fright of my life! Had a close encounter with a crocodile, silly thing was lying right next to me whilst eating breakfast (okay it wasn’t so close but close enough to scare me)! Decided that I would rather leave the crocodile chasing up to the professionals, my Llama issues are now over.
From inquisitive warthogs, to a placid lake filled with wonderful Hippos and crocodiles, to the very cool Bee Hive Huts. The Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary offered me a new outlook into Africa and the Kingdom of Swaziland definitely a quick reminder that even though the New York of Africa (Johannesburg) is just a round the corner, the unforgettable wilderness that is Africa is still just heart beat away.
Check out the following cool links:
For more information on the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary: www.biggameparks.org
The Kingdom of Swaziland: http://www.gov.sz
Royal Swazi Spa hotel and Lugogo Sun: http://www.suninternational.com/royal-swazi-spa/
City Slickers on IMDB.com: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101587