hippos are mean

i didn't check the last blog i wrote, and i can't really remember where i last left y'all, but i'm guessing it was in durban. we went to church on easter sunday in durban, and it was quite lovely. on our way out of durban we stopped at the shark's board, an agency (and museum) dedicated to protecting humans and sharks all along the south african eastern coast. the shark's board uses shark nets to guard the beaches to protect tourists, and sometimes sharks get caught in the net and die. the shark's board uses those unlucky few for research at the board, and every day they disect a shark, which we were able to enjoy(?). very informative and disgusting.

we stayed in blythesdale beach that night. our accomodation had three beds, luckily, because we found mouse poop on the double bed, so i made matt sleep in the single, top bunk with me. it was actually quite comfortable. despite blythesdale beach's dodgy beginnings, we ended our stay on a positive note on blythesdale beach's beach. the weather was bright and sunny, and the indian ocean was really awesome.

from blythesdale we headed to st. lucia estuary, a world heritage site that is just lousy with hippos. just a bit of south african trivia for you: hippos are the most dangerous animal in the country and are responsible for the most animal vs. man deaths. they are fast and mean badgers, and we were able to witness them in their natural habitat in st. lucia during an evening cruise on the lake (which name escapes me at the moment). i'm happy to report that the nice boat ride, while exciting at times, was the extent of our hippo interaction.

yesterday we left st. lucia and headed for the friendly kingdom of swaziland. the king of swaziland is an interesting chap who likes to collect wives. i'm not sure where the grand total stands currently, but i've heard numbers ranging from 14 to 45 wives. that's a lot of wives. every year there is some sort of festival where many women dress up in beautiful, native costumes and dance for the king. every year he chooses a new, beautiful wife. not bad.

but back to swaziland. we stayed at the mkhaya game reserve park, and matt and i both agree that this is our favorite part of the trip so far. incredible! we highly, highly recommend this place. the rangers took us into the park at 4pm yesterday, and for 2 hours we drove around in uncovered land rovers and saw white rhinos, black rhinos, giraffes, buffalo, more hippos, and much more. the best part of all though was that we actually stayed in the park that night (in a section that was separated by electric fence from the giraffes, hippos and buffalo, but not the rhinos) in a camp that was made with luxurious stone huts. these huts' walls only went up about 3.5 feet, so our hut was completely open to the park, and it was rad. i'll have to show you pictures so you can understand better, but believe me, it was cool. we had a traditional swazi dinner and breakfast, then more wildlife viewing from the rovers, then bon voyage. we made it through the rest of swaziland in a couple of hours, beautiful little country, and now we're back in SA, in pretoria. we're only staying the night here, then down to jo'burg again to meet matt's friend and co-worker, chris klomp, where we will then jump off to victoria falls.


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