Wow, what did I do to deserve the life that I am living? I woke up to the sound of my hubby jamming out in the kitchen. I snuck up on him and scared the living crap out of him while he was in his zone cooking pancakes and omelets. He made me get back into bed so that he could bring me my food when it was ready, so yes sir I followed his orders and back to bed I went. Before I knew it I had Gluten Free pancakes (I bought from Woolworths – did I tell you I love Woolworths?), 2 cheese omelet along with some fresh pineapple and mango spears topped with pomegranate !!! And all of that was topped off with a kiss from this amazing husband of mine - you know what all this means? - well of course it meant that this was going to be a great day!!!
So today we decided to try our luck on finding the Mahamba Gorge. We packed or gear and a cooler, tried to wake TJ but that failed so we left him a note about breakfast in the fridge and off we went. Unfortunately the internet doesn’t give you the best directions, address or anything close to the GPS coordinates so that we could find the place but after searching for over 20 minutes online earlier this morning Justin finally found something that was close to where we needed to be so off we went (to be totally correct - I found actually found directions but Justin was determined to go the way he found by using the GPS coordinates). Another Sunday to get lost (YIPEE, seriously I was excited)!!! But as I explained last week getting lost is the fun and excitement of it.
Finally the dirt road nightmare comes to an end, it only took 5,000 years and caused me a headache and an upset tummy, but we knew we had gotten somewhere new, so it was worth it – I hoped! Once we were on the paved road we seen some industrial plants and died laughing because one said HO Warehouse ---- hahaha a HO warehouse really… okay us silly American’s, I know but after the day we were having we had to laugh at anything and everything.
We decide to turn right at the end of the road, okay not really we turned left and then decided to turn around and went back the other way because Justin had a hunch he had to follow. He was right, we were coming up to the border post and I had remembered reading that if we seen the border we were to take a right on ANOTHER dirt road…. As I am checking out signs Justin is ready to turn around and I yell “turn HERE-right here” and of course the MAN of the car is like no way, why - don't question a woman 😋 .... but he trust me and turns down the road .... FINALLY he see the sign that I had seen that clearly says Mahamba Gorge Lodge.
After driving for a few minutes down another dirt road we come across a cute little church that I had to get some pictures of .... then I seen it ... wouldn’t you know it that cross on the mountain, the one that Justin had seen from the other dirt road was right here on this mountain and it isn’t just a cross it stays MAHAMBA MISSIONARY, all in rocks on the side of the mountain – pretty cool if I do say so myself. After a few more stops to take pictures of ourselves and the beautiful scenery we finally make it to the Lodge and the huge rocky mountain in front of us.
We take a trip inside to see the “café” that we read about, pay our admission fee and the guide gives us the rundown and warns us that this is a HIKE to see the other side of the Mahamba Gorge, I am not kidding you when I say a HIKE – you have to walk up a mounting around a “bowl” in the mountain up higher on the other mountain and then down to get where you are going, the guide points to some cows that look like ANTS from where we are and tells us that is where we need to go! OMG is not even the correct expression. Well we packed and planed for everything but I forgot to bring pants and only have shorts on. I switched from my flip flops to my tennis shoes, we load the camera gear in the backpack, a few water bottles and the granola’s… but my silly butt didn’t bring stupid pants. Oh well we are here, so we decided to try the walk anyway. We make it up the first mountain and it wasn’t too bad except for the stupid grass that the cows forgot to eat that were scraping against my skin and causing me to itch like something bad! I wanted to try to make this so bad but I was literally dying and I didn't want to whine. Then it hits me that we are out on these mountain tops, rocks every where and I mean everywhere with little crevices perfect for snakes… wait snakes OMG they have spitting cobra’s and black mambas in Swaziland… holy shit ... I am wearing shorts, no boots, ankles exposed what the hell was I thinking???? Now my mind has taken over, the itch was getting worse and I had to turn back there was no way I could go any further once I brought up stupid snakes and not just any little garden snake. So I apologize and we turned around and headed back down. I was happy we made it up one mountain and I still could breath and still had energy, but I was sad that I had to think about SNAKES! By the time we make it back to the bottom my legs are red and puffy with little bumps and scratch marks where I scratched my legs to death already.
To make the best of it we played around taking more pictures and decide on the way home we will try to go a different way back. And that was the best decision, we saw new sights, learned where some new adventures could take us on another Sunday and called it a great day.
BUT WAIT THE NIGHT ISN’T OVER JUST YET!!!
Once we got home we decided to go to a restaurant that we hadn’t been too. Some of the guys that Justin works with said it was a decent place to try with a little creek and some falls in the background. We pulled up to Mvubu Falls and were pleasantly surprised by the tranquility of the lodge. It was completely empty but for us and the waitress, which was a really nice way to end the evening. The restaurant/pub was really pretty and had a tropical feel to it with the way it was designed. The falls were a little walk up so we didn’t get to see it since it was already dark by the time we arrived. But having dinner in this setting with the creek rippling over rocks beside us was just a fabulous setting. The meal was decent, I wouldn’t say it was my favorite but I had no complaints. I was actually surprised by the menu, I was expecting burgers or pub like food but instead I was able to order Pork Chops with Fries and Veggies and Justin ordered a Steak with Fries and a Salad. The staff was very friendly as well which is always a great plus to any restaurant. Even though the food didn’t WOW us, we do plan to return during the day so that we can take a trip up to the falls and see what other beauties this little lodge holds.
So here is my extra’s for you:
If you read the websites it states that it has a “newly developed tourism centre with a café”. Basically what I found is a building with the Lodge’s registration desk and a very small area that I guess was the café. But do not get me wrong this place is beautiful and the guide was so friendly like everyone that we have encountered during our time in Swaziland but I was just a little thrown off since I was expecting maybe something more like Mantenga Lodge style restaurant. So it is my fault for reading too much into the description, it is a gorge and a hiking place not a four star hotel!
We plan to add this to our return list. We would really like to get here early with PROPER attire and take the hike over to the other side and have maybe a nice picnic.
Mahamba Gorge is west of Nhlangano, near the Mahamba Border. I described the route we took last week in my previous blog but here it is again:
The route we took was past Mlilwane, down past House on Fire and then MR4, MR13 through Malkerns and Mankayane. Once you get close to the border you will see a sign to turn left to Nhlangano, yes you have to take that dirt road for a long long ways!!!! You will eventually come to a split with a gas station on the corner across the dirt road. Take a left, yes you will continue on a dirt road. You will literally go to the end of this road until it makes you turn left on a paved road – If you are like me then you will never be happier to see a paved road then right now ;) . So after you turn on this first paved road you will travel it until it ends as well and turn right, drive a little ways and when you start to see the border post ahead of you start to look for a sign that says Mahamba Gorge and you will turn right onto yes another dirt road and take it to the end. There ya have it, you are at the Gorge!
A side note: It looks like they plan to pave these roads in the near future.
You can also travel (this is the way we came back) and much easier:
Take MR9 all the way to Nhlangano about 70 miles (from manzini) until you see the border post and that is where you will turn right onto the dirt road that takes you to Mahamba Gorge.
I hope to have a follow up to this blog after we finally to make it to the other side!
Keywords: Africa, Expat, Explore, JustDrive, Mahamba, Marriage, Photography, South, SouthAfrica, Sundays, Swaziland, Travel, Wildlife
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