Sunday, May 13, 2012


Look for a post in the next couple of weeks from my Mom!
The past 2 weeks have been incredible. Mom and Bobbo and Hannah (for the first week) came to visit. Here is a quick recap of the whole vacation:

Preparing for Mom, Bobbo, and Hannah to arrive. Mia and I (and Gaston, the cat) made a large Queen of Spades to welcome Mom at the airport.

April 27 (F)                Mom, Bobbo, and Hannah leave for Johannesburg!!!! I am staying at Bombaso's to catch an early morning bus to Jo'burg to meet them.           

April 28 (S)                All of us arrive in Jo’burg and stay at the Protea Hotel OR Tambo Airport Hotel.

April 29 (Su)              Travel to Swaziland; Drive North around Swaziland to enter through the Northern most boarder crossing, Jeppes Reef/Matsamo. Visit Emma’s homestead and family. Make is cooking a huge feast. Sitambo (samp and beans), Inkhukhu ekhaya (home chicken stew), and Lipalishi (porridge). Say hello to Gogo Matsebula laKunene and a few other surrounding homesteads. Derek/Mfanafuthi is home to eat with us and Babe pulls in just a few minutes before we were getting ready to head out. Drive to Big Bend, Swaziland and stay the the Lebombo Villa B&B. 

April 30-May 4            Kwa Zulu Natal, St. Lucia, South Africa   Stay at the Serene Estate Guesthouse in St. Lucia, on the edge of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Tembe Elephant Park

April 30 (M)                Drive to St Lucia. Walk to the beach (we saw monkeys and hippos!), eat some lunch at the St. Lucia Ski and Boat Club then get a feel for the town.

Vervet Monkeys on our way home from the beach in St. Lucia.

Hippos on our first day at St. Lucia.  Look at the babies.

May 1 (Tu)                After our phenomenal breakfast with the guesthouse we went to town to do some shopping and I got my hairs cut! Then we went on a horseback game ride! We saw herds of zebras, and since we were on horseback the zebras weren't even afraid of us, impala, wildebeest, water buffalo ( I think), and warthogs. Once we had all cleaned up from the ride we headed out to a fantastic dinner and hippo/crocodile hunt. Hippos are said to come up out of the estuary and into town at night to eat whatever grass they can find. We found two hippos and a small crocodile. One hippo was just standing in someone's yard, munching away at their yard! The other one was just on the side of the road, we saw it on the way to the jetty to look for the crocs. This hippo was HUGE!!

Turn off the surrounding lights to see this one better. He was practically in the road.

May 2 (W)                 We did a morning boat cruise through the estuary. We saw crocodiles, hippos, including baby hippos which are only 80 lbs when they are born, and tons of cool birds. Then I got my hairs cut and we went to the beach. The beach was awesome and huge. We had to walk for about 20 minutes through sand before we were anywhere near the water. 

This was one of the many crocs we saw on the estuary boat cruise.

Nyala or Kudu, I'm still unclear of the difference and Mom's tour book only had a picture of one. Either way he was big and his horns were even bigger.

May 3 (Th)                The big snorkeling day at Cape Vidal. Dunes and fish like I have never seen them, incredible. Then we drove through the Isimalango Wetland park. We saw a few animals, but mostly it was the views that were taking our breath away at this point. I won't even post any pictures, because you just have to go see it for yourself... Awe Some.

May 4 (F)                    Have our last Serene Estate breakfast and head for Jo'burg to drop Hannah off :(  Mom, Bobbo and I stay at the Protea OR Tambo again. I wish I had more pictures with Hannah.

May 5 (S)                     Drive to Mbabane, Swaziland, this time we drive through the bigger and more commonly used Oshoek/ Ngwenya Boarder Post. We drive straight to Pick N Pay to pick up groceries for the Bombasso’s Volunteer Chili Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo and for all of the volunteers that could make it to share a little bit of home with Mom's home made chili. She made regular chili with a skyline twist and white chili with chicken. Yum! Bobbo grilled veggies and Mia was in charge of whipping up the 2 cakes we had for desert, angel food and chocolate.
May 6 (Su)                   We (Mom, Bobbo, Eric, Matt, Mia, and Myself) pile into the Sportah-ge to drive to the homestead in Emkhuzweni.  Mom cooks an amazing dinner again, this time for Make and Babe and which ever brothers are home. We/She made meatloaf with roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, and an avocado salad. Just before the meatloaf was ready Babe got home and had brought emahiya for Mom and Bobbo. Mia stayed for dinner, we dropped Eric and Matt off in Buhleni. Then we drove Mia home so that Mom and Bobbo could meet Gogo Kumedze and Make came with us to say hello. This night we all stayed in my hut. Mom and Bobbo got the bed and I was on the floor. It wasn't bad at all. Actually, even though Mom had given me previous warning that she might need to spend the second night in a hotel she decided that the homestead was fine. Mom and Bobbo even took bucket baths! We were in bed by 8pm though.

Eventually we got it all figured out. Everyone was so happy that night. What a great place. What great people.

Ta Da!

May 7 (M)                   We took Lihle to the Vet in Mbabane to get fixed (YAY!) and then, with a drugged up cat in the back seat we stopped by the Peace Corps Office and picked up Mia and the went to meet our friend Faith in Manzini. We had lunch at the mall and then drove back to the homestead. Even though we were stuffed after lunch we ate Make's always delicious beef stew.

May 8 (Tu)                  First day of school after the break between terms. Mom and I walk to school while Bobbo picks up Mia to meet us there after a very emotional goodbye between Mom and Make. We are there for a quick assembly and to pop into most classrooms to say hello. After our quick Hello Goodbyes we drove to Buhleni to pick up a few things for our picnic and hike in Bulembu, including Eric and Matt. It is such a beautiful place, definitely worth the drive which is about an hour struggling up an old mining road. After our hike in Bulembu Mom, Bobbo, and I drive to the Ezulwini Valley for our first night at Malendela's.

Bulembu, an old asbestos mining town.  It took us an hour to drive there (the 19k) because of the condition of the road- about 19 kilometers from Pigg's Peak.
Mia and Eric. We went hiking in Bulembu about a week before the fam arrived. It was so beautiful I decided that we would have to find a way to fit a hike in with Mom and Bobbo. 
Here is the view from Kenny Powers Peak (dubbed by Eric and Myself). This is where we took Mom and Bobbo (plus Matt,  Mia and Eric) to have a little picnic. It feels like you are on top of the world.

May 9  (W)                  After another delicious B&B breakfast, this one at Malendela's,  we find the Swazi candle factory, Gone Rural, and a few other shops to do some shopping.  Then we head towards Manzini to do a few more errands, including pick up some steaks and veggies to grill a the Hlane Wildlife Reserve that night. We also collect two stragglers, Eric and Mia, who both join us at the game park. Then pick up Kyra on our way to Hlane. By the time we get there we find out that the evening game drive that we were planning on going on leaves in 20 minutes. Just in time. Kayla and one of her friends from home join us for the game drive and dinner also. The game drive was pretty cool, two and a half hours and an African sunset. We saw a mom and baby rhino taking a mud bath, a giraffe at the water hole, a herd of elephants, babies and mommas, nyala, kudu, impala, and a lion that was totally stuffed after a huge dinner. The lion didn't even move when our driver growled at him. Then we got back to our cottage (definitely worth it!), the fire was already going, and started prepping everything to grill. We finally played some hearts after dinner, with the Kunkel. Hearts is the origin of Mom's welcome Queen of Spades. We even got some euchre in too. A very fun day and  night. I might even say epic.

On safari.

Mom and Baby mud bath.


Lion after a beeg dinner.

May 10 (Th)                   Say goodbye to the elephants, giraffes, hippos, and impala getting their morning drink at the water hole. Head back to Mbabane to have lunch with the Swaziland PC Country Director. He recommends Ngwenya Glass Factory to satisfy our afternoon shopping fix. It was a cool place, a lot of the surrounding shops had crafts that were made in Swaziland, most of which are crafted by boMake, teaching them a skill, and providing a fair and sustainable income. Then we return to Malandela’s B&B for Mom and Bobbo's last night in Swaziland :(

May 11 (F)                     After breakfast we have just a bit of time for a little more shopping. We check out the Gone Rural shop near Malandela's again and stop by the Ezulwini Valley Craft Center. Then I am dropped off at the PC Office and we say some more teary goodbyes. Mom and Bobbo drive to Jo’burg airport to catch their flight home.    

I'll miss you! Happy Mother's Day!

Sunset from the Homestead. See you next time.