We awoke early to continue our pilgrimage eastward. The plan was to enter Swaziland (another whole country -- wee!) by sundown.
As we drove, the weather deteriorated. Before we knew it, we were witnessing a full-on hailstorm near Piet Retief! We pulled into the town of Dumbe to wait it out. I grabbed a picture of some giant object being transported by an equally giant trailer. Also, it’s a double-whammy picture because you can see the little splashes from the hail crashing down and the little hail balls accumulating!
We figured it was an appropriate time to eat, so we stopped into a (seemingly ubiquitous!) KFC. Upon walking in the door, we were greeted with completely flooded floors, the power out, and the ceiling leaking in an uncountable number of streams. The ladies used the washroom, but required a headlamp to find their way and consequently endured freezing water dripping from the ceiling directly down their backs as they sat. Unpleasant.
We also got some gas and I got to experience the “leaking like a sieve” ceilings for myself. Walking around in 1cm of water in my flip flops while getting rained on from what appeared to be a solid ceiling. It would appear that the same guy did all of the roofing in the town. And he had no idea how roofs are supposed to work.
We pulled off another quick stop at Steers for burgers and ice cream (man that place is good!), and we successfully arrived at the Swazi border before the gates closed at 6pm. We were handed a tourism booklet upon crossing into the country (nice touch!), so that by the time Sandra and I arrived at our place for the night -- The Mandenga Lodge -- we had already learned some sweet Swazi phrases: sawubona (hello!), ngiyabonga (thanks!), yebo (yes!), and cha (no!). Now, me being the dumb anglophone that I am tried out my words on some of the staff at the lodge. I loved saying “Yeeeeebo” for “Yes”. Everybody understood me. You say it more like “Yayyybo”. It’s fun. Then I tried out “Cha”, for “No”.
“Uhhh, yeah. Cha.”
“Can I see the book?”
“Sure, here it is.”
“I don’t know how you’re even making that sound.”
So I failed at “Cha”. It’s actually some kind of T-meets-mouthclick sound, and then an “ah” thereafter. Not easy.
Tomorrow it’s the Mkhaya Nature Reserve, and hopefully a good chance at spotting rhinos! Wish us luck!