Who: L U C I E, L A C H L A N, and B O W W O W.
Their occupations: Gypsy, Slick Suit in Finance, Dog
The trip: Crossing Africa by 4×4, helping communities through trade.
We’ve cut our teeth on over 25,000km of dirt roads across Southern Africa with our dog, Bow Wow, sourcing wonderful, handmade treasures… Think Summer of Love! Here are our highlights so far…
Just to the east of Mozambique sits the small landlocked country of Swaziland, named after King Mswati II who ruled during the 19th century. As one of the safest countries in Africa, Swaziland has so much to offer you during your stay.
On safari with Stephen Fry and the BBC’s Last Chance to See crew we learn of Swaziland’s efforts on the frontline of rhino conservation. The high value of their horn, due to its imagined medicinal properties, has attracted mafia type gangterism with shoot-outs, petrol bombs, attempted assassinations and murders. Now a foreign backed NGO called Yonge Nawe is irresponsibly offering poachers legal aid. The last thing that rhinos need is any form of incitement and encouragement that gives hope and strength to poachers. In this world, driven by the accumulation of financial wealth rather than the conservation of our ecosystem, we only wish that there were more people like Ted Reilly. Perhaps then the future of our wildlife and wilderness would not seem so uncertain.
The recently revived Bulembu was once an asbestos mining town. It is now home to over two hundred AIDS orphans. In 2001, the mine closed after asbestos products were discovered to be carcinogenic and those still well enough abandoned the town in search of work elsewhere. A Christian organisation bought Bulembu in 2006 and utilizing the infrastructure already established by the mining industry, they have set up new industries generating products like timber, honey and water. Slowly people have returned and the old mining cottages are full of life again.
This historic rock, situated within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, is traditionally where Swaziland’s criminals were executed. Once they were marched to the top, they could choose to either jump from it’s summit with dignity or be helped along with spears. Its African name is Nyonyane which means ‘little bird’ and poetically describes with horrifying beauty how these poor souls appeared as they plummeted to their deaths.
Bird About the Bush, Beatrice the Bee-Eater invites you to soar with her above Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary’s game dense savanna, the home that she shares with Back to Africa’s Roan Antelope Project. Discover how Ted Reilly, a man who has dedicated his life to preserving Swaziland’s wildlife heritage, provided refuge for animals when they had nowhere else to turn and of the wonderful work that he continues to do at Mlilwane.
Stephen Fry’s is the only name on everyone’s lips and beaks at Mliliwane Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Roan Antelope, Tsandziwe explains why all zoos should support Back to Africa by taking part in The Animals’ No. 1 Dating Agency and in doing so save more species from extinction. Let’s cross our hooves and hope that this bush telegraph makes its way around the globe.
Reunited with Bow Wow we made for recently revived Bulembu, once an asbestos mining town and now home to over two hundred AIDS orphans.
In our support of the charity Back to Africa, we visited their Roan Project at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Stephen Fry was there with the BBC filming an episode of Last Chance to See but even he was out shone by the charismatic Roan Antelopes. We were honoured to spend time with Ted Reilly, Swaziland’s pioneer nature conservationist who provided refuge for the Kingdom’s creatures when they had nowhere else to turn.
We catch soccer fever and make more furry friends in balmy Durban. I pass my state vet inspection without even a solitary flea. Lachlan is forced to carry me through a throng of amused football supporters but we are rewarded with a view of the staggering Moses Mandhiba stadium. We enter Swaziland to begin the most important phase of our quest.