The Spinning Compass | Hiking in Swaziland

Hiking in Swaziland

July 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

We woke up this Sunday with the intentions of going on a Hike, like last weekend we are trying small hikes to build up my strength.  This weekend I was tested a little more than last weekend, the hikes were more then we thought they would be, but I didn’t give up so ultimately I am proud of myself and I had an “AHAAA” moment.  While we were hiking I kept doubting my own strength’s and I was putting up blocks in front of me.  I kept saying I can’t do this, it will be too hard, too difficult and I didn’t even want to try the trails that looked more difficult.  At one point my husband made me mad because he kept being so sweet and supportive and I was just like “you don't know how this feels both mentally and physically, you are not healing from ANOTHER surgery” and he just looked at me and said “but I know you, you will regret it later if you don’t do this, you are the strongest person I know and I will carry you back if I have too”… how could I argue any more, I knew I was having a pity party, I was having a mental block on my own strengths.  So down the trail we went and when I say down I mean DOWN!!!!   Once we got to the bottom, I kept looking back up thinking “up is harder omg, I won’t make it”… but we when the time came to come back up that path, I pushed through the fear and just kept going!  After this hike, I got tricked into the next one, we wanted to see the rock art but didn’t know that it would be another DOWNWARD hike which meant the uphill hike back was going to be hard on me.  But I kept wanting to stop but not wanting to disappoint myself and my husband I kept going.  Once we were back up to the top of the hike after we seen the art I was amazed at how far I have come in my healing.  Hearing my husband say that he was proud of me was the best feeling in the world.  But my “AHAA” moment was really seeing how lucky I was at having someone beside me who was willing to carry me if I couldn’t carry myself, don’t get me wrong I have known this since I met him but some times you forget that and to be broken down and need that support then realizing through your own self pity that you DO have that support is just amazing, and my other “AHAA” moments is that I can do anything that I set my mind too, I can prove anyone and everyone wrong including myself, I may be a little slower then others or I may complain a little more but I will always accomplish anything if I truly want too.  We finished our day laying on the couch relaxing from a hard day out in the beautiful land of Swaziland under the hot African sun.



With the beautiful untouched mountains and land the Malolotja Nature Reserve is the best place to spend some time.  Whether it is the canopy tour, a short hike or a long hike the choice is yours.  They offer campsites and cabins to accommodate your needs.  The reserve has 44,479 acres (18000 hectares) of mountainous terrain.  The area is home to a variety of animals and birds as well as plants and wildflowers.

We only wanted to do a short hike since I am still recovering so the receptionist was very helpful in helping us pick a path and marking our map for us (they provide a map for you).   The scenery is amazing but that is nothing new with this little country.  We are novice hikers so we had a hard time understanding the map vs. the markers.  But we found a view point and decided to just take our chances and go as far as we could.  I was skeptical because of my weakness from my surgery but I did my best and we went as far as we could.  I will tell you these trails are not easy but the views are AMAZING!!!!  The paths are defined but I admit I was confused on the markers, but that is probably just me. 


Nsangwini Cave Shelter / Bushman Cave Art

You get to the cave by going toward Piggs Peak / Maguga Dam from the Maguga Dam Road watch for a sign that is posted off of the road (but the first sign points to the right and has no road near it but keep going there is another sign) it is approximately 7km from the Maguga Dam. Once you are on the well-maintained dirt road drive about 7km.   The path to the starting point is a little discouraging but keep going and follow the signs.  Once you arrive you will see a little hut with someone sitting inside it, the fee for the hike is E30 per person.  They will be your guide down to the cave and it is a DOWNWARD HIKE, make sure you have on your good shoes because it is very rocky and some areas are slightly slippery.  The Bushman Cave Art is suppose to be Swaziland’s best example of the time past.  They were discovered in 1955 and have been a popular view point since.  The artwork ranges from 400 to 4000 years ago, the guide told us the clearer images were the more recent ones.  The Bushmen used coal, animal blood and red ochre to make the paintings.  Each image has a meaning too it and it is believed that these images were painted during a shamanic trance.  The images depicted were animals that were important to the group and their people.  The pictures they drew of themselves were hunters but they were portrayed as being taller than what they were in real life, some had feathers, some had spears and then they had more “other worldly” with heads of a preying mantis (according to the guide).   It is thought that this den/cave was used for rainmaking ceremonies due to the images of the elephants (which is believed to be a symbol for rainmaking).  The guide will let you stay there as long as you like and she will answer any questions after she goes through the speech about the art.  Take your time because the hike up is not so easy (at least for me but again I am healing from a surgery), but our guide was so understanding and took several breaks for me.



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