Barberton, SA and Swaziland. December 18-20

I stayed a night at “Bushwacked Barberton”, another small guesthouse with just a couple of rooms. The family lives in the adjacent house, and Pete is helpful upon checkin, then pretty much leaves you on your own. Perfect, and I’m getting used to not eating dinner anyway. That sounds snarky, but it’s really not, it’s good for me. There was one other room occupied by a charming older couple from Cape Town who had come up for their granddaughters’s wedding.

Here’s my very comfortable room, and the view at sunset.

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But the real thing was the drive from Barberton to Pigg’s Peak in Swaziland. Just gorgeous, and I always had to be on the lookout for wandering baboons crossing the road, which was an excellent road in SA, then had me seriously worried for my rental Hyundai on the Swaziland side.

All along the SA side were turnouts with discussions of the geology- it was really fascinating, and very well done. You can see on the map screenshot how twisty the road is.

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More views

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Entering Swaziland! This border crossing was smooth and quick.  I was the only one there. They seemed to be surprised to find a single american woman crossing at this remote spot.

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Right past the crossing was when the road turned to pitted, potholey and then dirt. Pete told me that if it had rained the night before, to not even attempt it, but as it did not, onward I went. Interestingly, there used to be an aerial tram that took people, probably loggers and/or miners to Bulembu, just over the border. Here’s the station standing in disuse.

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And a look at the logging that’s happened along the route. What I’m essentially driving on is a logging road, meant for big heavy trucks.

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I picked my way to Pigg’s Peak, then headed towards Mbabane, planning to stay in the hostel in Ezulwini valley, but it was pretty bad, so I went to lunch in the marketplace that has wifi, and booked myself at the Mantegna Lodge. And even though here was a restaurant on site, I’m getting used to not having dinner, so I had a glass of wine in the onsite pub. Beautiful setting.

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Monkey Gland Sauce. Not for vegetarians, the menu said. I googled it, it contains no monkey business, and sounds a bit like Thousand Island Dressing.

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