Tour of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Swaziland: 28 – 29 May, 2016 – Foresters Arms, Mhlambanyatsi

On the 28th of May we moved onto the mountainous area of Swaziland and into the forests. The Foresters Arms is a very quaint and peaceful hotel. Beautifully set with very comfortable accommodation and wonderful meals. This was the first time, after moving up from the lowveld, could feel the onset of winter. Fires will lit to give warmth and this created a very cosy atmosphere. Apart from walks and horse riding, there was there is not too much to do. As we were in close proximity to Mbabane, we took the opportunity to visit the town, the market and of course, to visit Sibebe Rock. This rock is considered to be the world’s largest exposed granite dome. It has huge significance in the lives of the Swazi people.

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From Sibebe Rock we headed to inquiry Ngwenya glass factory. This makes for a great visit. Glass is a very important industry and it has run in this area for close on 40 years. Producing some of the best glassware, all from recycled materials. It is highly sought after in the hospitality industry. There are also a number of animal glass products that they produce in varying sizes and very well made. The factory can be visited from the showroom. It is fascinating to watch how the production programme works and how everyone finds their way through the cycle of producing product without saying a word. It is as if they’re like programmed robots. Nearby there is an array of craft shops. On sale are products made locally from Mohair. They have everything from woollen garments to the beaded products that are produced locally to the vases that are made out of sisal.

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Just up the road is the Ngwenya mine. Here iron ore was mined by Anglo American and sent, by rail, to Maputo to be shipped to Japan. Mining operations ceased in 1999 but high up above the iron ore deposit, is the oldest mine in the world. It is known as Lion Cavern. There is evidence here that ochre was originally mined here by the San people 40,000 years ago.

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We also paid a visit to the Malolotja reserve which is set in the highveld of the Swazi mountains, with some brilliant panoramic views. Again, a 4 x 4 would’ve helped us on these roads. There is also an accredited canopy walk on offer.

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