Hlane Royal National Park

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
Trip End Nov 27, 2008

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Flag of Swaziland  ,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We took a mini bus to Manzini, which was simple.  Then we got a mini bus to Hlane NP.  Which was pretty simple expect that Hlane is a word that no matter how hard we try we cannot pronounce.  It is sort of like shlane-but with a lisp and a slur.  Nobody could understand us when we tried to say it!  We just had to hope we were on the right mini bus!

We had made reservations to stay in a rondavel in the Ndlovu main camp and the people were so friendly!  The rondavel was not cheap, about $56, but it was really nice.  Expect for the bugs everywhere!  I had a mini break down about the bugs-which have been a problem all over Africa-but really bothered me here because it was so nice but I still had cockroaches in my bed.  There was no electricity, also very common, so moths and many other types of bugs were dive bombing themselves into the oil lamps around our room at night

We did a game drive in the morning and it ended up being just us and the guide.  The drive was super cheap, $18, and had so much bang for the buck!  We got super close to a huge male elephant and drove right up to a pride of lions.  The elephant kept walking toward our truck while we were trying to reverse away from it.  At one point we were stuck between a tree from behind and the elephant coming towards us.  It was a little scary for us, but the guide didn't seem to mind!  We also saw lions cubs in the pride!  So cute! 

We also ended up doing a private game walk in the afternoon with the same guide.  For some reason the park is rarely visited so there is a good chance to do activities with just you and a guide.  On the walk 2 huge rhinos passed in front of us.  Rhinos are pretty blind so we just had to crouch down in the middle of the road and remain still.  One walked 5 feet away from us and tried to see what we were, but then it seemed uninterested and walked away!  Crazy!  I wasn't too worried because there were a bunch of rhino hanging out by the main camp and I would walk up super close to them and let them check me out.  But you it seems a lot less scary with an electric fence in between you!  Our guide knew a lot about the trees, animals, and tracks and he was very informative to listen to on the walk.

The meals at night were very good and included Impala stew.  Our second time having impala and it was tasty.  Now we want to try Kudu (a very large antelope) we have heard it is also good.

We also were treated to a traditional dance and singing performance around a bonfire at night.  It was some sort of kick, stomp dance.  It looked really tiring!

Hlane was a great game park and you can see so many animals for not a lot of money! 
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