Mpumalanga district, South Africa August 20, 2016 “How should I put it?” said the owner of a guesthouse in Graskop. I had asked her about the minibus combi to Nelspruit. She started out saying how they weren’t ‘official’, followed by a long winded explanation of how they lacked ‘papers’. She took pains to explain that … More Shades of Separation
Graskop, South Africa, August 18, 2016 The tarmac road winds through the highveld with vast stretches of woodland on either side. But these are not old growth forests, nor are they natural woods. Stretching across the rounded tops of the shallow hills and across valleys, these are pine plantations, entirely manmade solely for the purpose … More Bland River Canyon
Mlilwane National Park, Swaziland August 14, 2016 There is space aplenty in Mlilwane and the lack of big game means walking in it is a rare pleasure not easily found in other national parks. Today I had decided to go for a walk along a trail ambitiously called the Hippo Trail. If the park has … More What Are the Odds?
Mlilwane National Park, Swaziland August 12, 2016 ‘Where you camp surrounded by roaming game’ is how the brochure for Mlilwane National Park reads. It is scenic enough and idyllic in the sense that it is a quiet retreat with a pace that is even slower than the usual slow paced life in Swaziland. An excellent … More A Park by Any Other Name
Nkomanzi Village, Swaziland August 9, 2016 “There are some others in the village but they are not proper ones” said the old man. “They have not studied but have just set up a business” he said. “People go to them for doing bad things. I don’t do that; if I use my power for bad … More The Bones Tell Me All I Need
Nkomanzi Village, Swaziland August 8, 2016 The sun had set and the sky was a bluish-gray with clouds rolling in. At the tail end of twilight, we got on a combi headed to Mbabane. By the time we got there it was completely dark and under the streetlights in the chaotic bus station the touts … More A Village in the Hills
Ezulwini Valley, Swaziland August 6, 2016 The center of town in Mbabane is chock-a-block with modern glass and chrome buildings, shopping malls and KFC featuring prominently. Yet a bare five minutes on the road I see sheep grazing on the hillsides next to small huts, their tin roofs held down with piles of bricks and … More A Land of Bizarre Contrasts
Oshoek Border Post, Swaziland August 3, 2016 I was in a minibus heading to Manzini in Swaziland. The others on the bus were all from Swaziland, but working in Johannesburg and heading home on a two-day holiday. Most were traders who buy goods in Johannesburg and sell them in Swaziland. The woman next to me … More Swazi Style