Swaziland (Photo Diary)
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.
This is the only place you may purchase beer on a Sunday in Mbabane, Swaziland.
Getting down to some serious sniffing. "I really needed this wee break from Lucie and Lachlan."
Bow Wow at groovy Cathmar Cottages exploring by the aloes in Mbabane.
No dogs allowed at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, not even adventure hounds sponsored by Hill's, so Bow Wow sat this one out in Mbabane, Swaziland's capital.
"Lip smakin goood," thought the nyala "but what a messy table!".
Lucie and the naughty nyala at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
King Mswati III Ngwenyama and Her Majesty Queen Mother Ntombi Ndlovukazi are both champions of nature conservation in the Kingdom.
Blesbok profile, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.
Charming fellows but why don't those blesbok tweeze now and then to get rid of that frightful mono brow?
Lachlan cycling towards a herd of wildebeest and the sun.
Tourist displaying normal habits.
Sunbaking hippopotamus family on Mlilwane's mirror lake.
That's Beatrice the White-Fronted Bee-Eater.
Watch out for the crocodiles, Lucie!
Good morning, hippos and crocs.
Approaching Execution Rock. 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.
Hands Off Our Man! You can just see the waterbuck bull's target practice rear.
Weaver birds feasting on oranges and gossiping at Reilly's Rock.
Eavesdropping knock kneed klipspringer at Reilly's Rock. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland.
The news of Stepehn Fry's imminent arrival spreads across the savanna.
Bambis grazing unthreatened on the horizon.
Brewed up, this wild mint makes fever bush tea.
A nyala bull devouring an avacado whole.
For zebras, stripes and mohawks are always this season.
This sneaky croc is waiting for his mouth to fill with enough flies before snapping it shut.
Over 20,000 rusting, murderous snares, laid by poachers to trap animals, hang at the entrance of Mlilwane as a reminder of the threat to Swaziland’s wildlife.
Hogs and kisses from Mlilwane.
Hippos feeding by Mlilwane's restaurant, Hippo Haunt.
Watching over Mlilwane.
"I am a female, adolescent Roan Antelope. My name, Tsandziwe, means ‘Loved One’".
Ted Reilly and Tsandziwe searching for baby Roan Antelopes hiding in the long grass.
Tsandziwe shows Lachlan around her hood.
Roan Antelope 'Back to Africa'!
Happier in Swaziland's shafts of sunlight than in a cage in England.
Feeding bush babies sticky bananas at Reilly's Rock.
The Vagabond Adventurers cycle past some zebra to reach Reilly's Rock.
Breakfast at Reilly's Rock with Ted Reilly.
Bush baby bananas growing at Reilly's Rock.
The bone growth over a snare in a baby rhino’s leg shows that this animal took many months to die in unthinkable agony.
Ted opened our eyes to the cruelty of poaching.
Severed skin, flesh and tendons. This wildebeest struggled to free itself from a snare and took a long and agonising time to die.
An oribi, one of Southern Africa's most threatened species thriving at Mlilwane.
Baby Roan Antelopes - new beginnings with a bright future.
Tsandziwe and Ted stop for a chat.
"You've had enough milk now, go and play!"
Can you get any cuter than a baby Roan?
Two quarrelsome glossy starlings.
Beatrice is not usually one to sit on the fence.
Glossy Starling, Mlilwane.
Glossier Glossy Starling.
Tsandziwe and Dr Hamish Currie, the founder of Back to Africa.
Tsandziwe sniffs Dr. Hamish Currie.
Tsandziwe hanging out with Lucie from The Vagabond Adventures.
Mickey Reilly stroking Tsandziwe just the way she likes it.
Stephen Fry and the BBC’s Last Chance to See crew assist in putting plastic tubes on a sedated male Roan Antelope’s horns at Mlilwane.
This protects precious females during mating as the males can be quite rough.
Last Chance to See is a BBC television series documenting species on the brink of extinction.
Jobs a good'un!
Breakfast round the African television a.k.a the campfire at Mkhaya, one of Mlilwane's sister parks and home to black and white rhino and a host of other endangered animals.
Crested guineafowls polish off breakfast crumbs.
You can tell that this is a male giraffe by the hernia like protrusion on his tummy...
...and his slightly bald horn like protuberances known as ossicones. Females have hairier ossicones.
Since 1992 Swaziland has not lost a single rhino to poaching but at one stage they were losing a rhino a week.
This elephant, a gentle giant, was murdered by poachers for his tusks.
These poor rhinos were the victims of poachers. The commercial horn craze has attracted mafia-type gangsterism and sent rhino’s on a horrifying march towards extinction.
The African landscape is synonymous with Acacia trees and their thorns.
The largest species of antelope, an eland, at Mkhaya.
Hippos at Mkhaya.
Rhino are often vulnerably trusting and allow their killers to come up close.
Without Ted Reilly and the loyalty of his game rangers there would be no parks or wildlife left to protect in Swaziland.
White rhino, like this one, have a wide square mouth and are grazers. Black rhino have a prehensile lip and are browsers.
Magical close encounters at Mkhaya.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we borrow it from our children”.
The safest place for rhino in all of Africa. Mkhaya Game Reserve, Swaziland.
The whole gang!
Last Chance to see film the capture and relocation of a Roan Antelope from Mkhaya to Mlilwane...
...while we try to not get in the way!
This lucky Roan has a bevy of beauties waiting for him at Mlilwane!
See you at Mlilwane! This is when Stephen Fry quipped "An antelope that can't elope"!
"Who does this Stephen Fry think he is? I'm the main event!" Once back at Mlilwane, Tsandziwe disrupts Last Chance to See filming. Again.
Goodbye, Tsandziwe! We will never forget you.