Southern Africa Snapshots, Part II

South Africa, Swaziland & Zimbabwe wrap-up.

Continuing words and images of a two-week trip to southern Africa north from Cape Town. This series includes the parks of northern South Africa and a brief (and in my view, unnecessary incursion into Swaziland). This impoverished kingdom has an unemployment rate of more than 90%, high even for sub-Sahara Africa.

Day 4 – Winelands

Heading north out of Cape Town on the legendary N1 Road, AKA the Cape to Cairo Road, the Pan-African Highway or even the Great North Road in sub-Saharan Africa, Looks pretty ordinary here, despite its length and the exotic lands through which it travels.
Vineyard landscapes have a special beauty. I didn’t know it at the time, but near the end of the trip, I learned about the tragic fires in Napa and Sonoma, two leading California wine counties. I’m guessing we’ll be drinking more imported wines for a while — including from South Africa’s Winelands region. Cape Winelands and their cultural landscape were  listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on June 24, 2004 in the Cultural category.
In addition to the usual tasting facility (not a room, because ion warm weather it is on an outdoor patio), the Spice Route Winery has vineyards with a view, a restaurant specializing in African fa are, the CBC craft brewery and tasting room, the wonderful De Villiers chocolate tasting cellar and shop, the Red Hot Glass artisan glass shop, a kids’ playground and more.
Jewelery maker among the many arts and crafts vendors at the Franschhoek Saturday market, along with food purveyors, farmers and bocce adherents who set up a rough court one edge of the market.
Boschendal Wintery & estate is one of the Franschhoek Valley’s oldest. Tasting tables are set up under shade trees near this Dutch-inspired building.

Day 5 – Flight to Durban & St. Lucia Estuary

Ever heard of Kulula Air? Me neither until we flew it from Johannesburg to Durban. “Kulula” is a Zulu word for “easy.”
A cluster of resting hippos at the St. Lucia Estuary. They mimic boulders until one of more come up for air — often an impressive yawn that I didn’t catch.
I did catch this impressive croc with its mouth open.
Fish eagle — smaller than a bald, but looks a bit like a one but with the addition of a white collar.

Day 6 – Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Entrance sign to South Africa’s oldest game preserve. Unlike U.S, national parks, South Africa’s are fenced. Lodgings and campgrounds within the parks are also fenced.

The following is a random selection of wildlife images:

This buffalo was j=injured while young and now exists with lopsided horns and one wonky eye.


Day 7 – Swaziland 

Peacocks stroll around and snow off on the grounds of the Ngwenya Glass Factory.
Sweden’s Kosta-Boda brought trainees from Swaziland to Sweden so they could learn how to make glass pieces. The connection is clear when you look at Ngwenya  pieces.
The Glass Factory is about more than glass. Stacked magazines and catalogues serve as the base for the cashier in the shop selling items made from recycled paper.
Jewelry is also popular with tourists.
Roadside reservoir view on return to South Africa.
Just across the border is the Matsamo Cultural Village with a huddle of Swati straw huts.
Swati dance troupe.
More Swati dancers. Most dances are either male or female but not mixed.