From Stone Camp we drove through the Swaziland lowveld and into the heart of the Swazi sugar cane fields to Simunye. What brought us here was Pam’s fascination with the Black Mamba. The lady running the Country Club, Thea Litschka-Koen is the pioneer of snake capture and treatment for snake bite victims in Swaziland. We spent hours talking to her and listening to her tales of snake trauma and how the captured snake is released into safer areas.
In Africa 1,000,000 snake bites occur every year and there are 20,000 people that don’t get treatment and die. Thea has set up the Swazi anti-venom foundation which is an international charitable foundation. They have managed to secure funds from donations across the world including the UN to help pay for the anti-venom. A victim needs 10 vials of antivenom. Each phial cost about R1, 000 so it is an expensive exercise. Thea also runs clinics across the country and has access to government ministers. They are all putting their resources together to try and overcome this problem. They would like to establish two anti-venom clinics in Swaziland and to supply free treatment to victims within two hours of the snake bite.
Close to Simunye is the Hlane game reserve. We would like to have visited but we needed a 4 x 4. The roads are there but are impassable in sedans. I found this throughout our tour. In future a high rise car/pick-up would be even better.
There is a new Mbuluzi Game Reserve near Simunye which is something akin to a wildlife sanctuary. They have built lodges on the Mlawula Nature Reserve, a beautiful untouched natural area.