Hike in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Eswatini

The sun shines trough the green canopy of the trees in my camp. It’s better weather than predicted. With the morning coffee i decided to go for a hike in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This became almost a routine when in Eswatini. The view from Mount Nyonyane is just great and opens the land in direction of Manzini. The West is overlooking the green mountains of Eswatini.

I finished my coffee next to the yellow python from the ‚Legend backpackers hostel‘ and got even a feathered guest on the veranda. More wildlife is waiting for me in the Sanctuary. That’s something great in that park, one can hike trough free roaming wildlife. No dangerous predators around, except the crocodiles in water and snakes in the bush.

Already after i passed the entrance gate, impalas, kudus and other antelopes blocking my way and gazing at me. Different species of birds singing from the trees or hidden in the bush. Just the hippos and crocodiles dived under water and not wanted to be seen this time.

At the main camp i learned the way isn’t in good condition due the heavy rain in the past days. They recommended to me to drive up to the side of the mountain and hike along the ridge. This is also a shorter walk, since there’s a chance of more rain in the afternoon.

A steep, earthen road trough dense forest brings me up to the ridge. Not without to get stopped from some workers, who just freed the road from big fallen rocks. They warned me from deep ruts in the road up, but the Land Rover took it with ease.

The view was splendid on my hike along the ridge to the top of Mount Nyonyane, also known as the „Execution Rock“. In the past, so i’m told, the condemned were sent up to trow themselves from that rock to death. Today there’s no dark thought about it, but enjoying once more the beautiful view.

On the top i took a rest and watched a bird flying over the hilly landscape. Sailing along like a bird, how wonderful would it be, i thought. Then i remember the can of Red Bull i carried in my backpack. I grabbed it and took a good sip of it. Gives you wings, says the slogan, and as i finished it, i stood at the edge and flew towards the lake underneath me…

Eventually i stopped dreaming, opened my eyes and noticed clouds coming up. Time to get back to my car and leave the sanctuary. A look back to the mountain shows dark clouds, but i was already on my way to a nice espresso, and later a good pizza, at Pizza Vesuvio next to my camp.

Wanderung auf den Berg Nyonyane

Im Mlilwane Naturpark gehört die Wanderung auf den Berg Nyonyane zum Highlight. Der Berg wird weitläufig auch „Execution Rock“ (Hinrichtungsfels) genannt. Diese Bezeichnung kommt aus der Zeit als Verurteilte gezwungen wurden dort hoch zu steigen und sich selber die steile Felswand hinunterzustürzen. Ein Hauch dieser dunklen Zeiten scheint noch über den Gipfel zu wehen als ich mich morgens dem Ausgangspunkt der Wanderung nähere.

Schon kurz nachdem ich das Camp im Mlilwane Park verliess sehe ich in der ferne Zebras und Antilopen vorbei ziehen. Dies macht der Reiz dieser Wanderung aus; man kann hier herumstreunen ohne Gefahr zu laufen, von einem Raubtier angefallen zu werden. Nur das Krokodil im See äugt etwas zu gierig ans Ufer hoch. Dann aber verschwindet der Wanderweg erst durch dicctenen Wald, bevor es stetig aufwärts geht und den Blick über das Königreich von Eswatini freigibt…

Ziwa – Rhino Sanctuary

Rhinos were distinct in Uganda during the „politically instability“, as the ranger stated it. With funds from overseas the breeding project started. Over years the group of white rhinos increased from two to four to nineteen animals by now. New borns are expected within the next few months. There’s a good chance those unique animals spreading again trough Ugandas landscape and enrich the wildlife. Let’s hope for a durable „politically stability“.

When i arrived the main building, i’m told a ranger get in my Land Rover and shows me the way to the rhinos. But then he changed his mind and asked me to walk there. Of course i liked a hike in the bush. Some other ranger tracked down the rhinos already and directed us by radio to the place, where we found a mother with child. A short while later, four more rhinos came along the way to graze in this area. I was excited to observe those huge, strange looking creatures so near by foot.

Lake Bunyonyi

The road to Lake Bunyonyi was already worthwhile the trip. Hills and craters everywhere you look. Fields around tiny villages, which are scattered in the landscape. Whenever you stop you get company by curious people and begging kids. Then suddenly the lake appears between the hills, lies quietly in the valley. I reached my destination, a peninsula with a campsite. And what a site to camp; in the morning i woke up with the view over the lake. Mist flows over the calm water and crawls up the hills. On the small island in front of me moved slightly the treetops, as some strange power lives there.

Next day i decided to go for an hike on the nearby hills. One of the rare opportunities to go for a hike for free, without any permit needed. But i wasn’t alone. Buggy, the dog from the campsite, followed me. In the villages women sitting on the floor, doing handicrafts. Soon another company joined in. A kid from the village wanted show me the path to the top, and went with me since. From the small farmhouses with beautiful views over the lake the kids waves shyly their hands, wondering where i’m going. I hadn’t an idea myself. My new little friend pointed to another villages behind the hill we just climbed. Yes, let’s go there, i agreed. The people watched me in astonishment, when i arrived with that little local kid and the dog. I found an empty bar and bought my company a soda, which he sipped with a broad smile in his face. Meanwhile Buggy were sitting in front of the door and watched the curious kids on the other side of the street. After the refreshments the way back seems to be easy and fast.

Tracking The Mountain Gorillas

The volcanos look down to me. In the dusk it felt kinda mystical. I knew there are the mountain gorillas, maybe even awaiting me. Pictures of the movie of King Kong slipped in my mind when i looked up to the steep slope of that mountain. But arriving the headquarter, crowds of tourists watched the performance of dancers, before heading to their gorillas groups, lead by experienced guides.

A strenuous three hours walk trough dense rainforest brought the five of us with our guide and a armed guard to our gorilla group. the Susa group. On the way, Eugene, our guide explained about the environment here. Two porters carry the bags of the other four, while i trust my camera gear no one but myself. And then, the first glimpse of a dark fur in the lush green bush. Th big group of gorillas were scattered around in the bush. But we found the silverback, the oldest and leader in the group. While the animals were moving, we follow the silverback, watching him resting and eating and moving uphill again. For one hour we observed those amazing creatures, before we went downhill, out of the forest, and it seems like out of a day dream again.

Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest

A dense jungle on both side of the road. A few times a steep slope gives the view free over the green, lush forest. Morning mist crawls up. Despite my early start this morning, i was too late for the chimpanzee tracking. A canopy walk would be an option, but too pricey. I decided to go for a guided hike instead. With only my guide, i walked trough the huge green. He explained about the plants, spotted some smaller animals, as frogs, birds and also mountain monkeys. A bat flew off when we approached its hide too close and some squirrel crossing in high speed our path. Not quite an adventure, but nice hike after cities and long road drives.

Fun Group Hiking At Mt.Longonot

Mount Longonot a quite volcano about two hours drive out of Nairobi, is the destination for a group of friends for a hike. I got invited and joined it with pleasure. Too long time i didn’t hike, and with that funny, open minded and nice people it’s pure pleasure too.

There’s many photos in purpose of giving the people of the group the chance to see them and download it. Have fun along the „photo story“  …and many thanks for the group letting me join in for that day!