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Southern African Dive Safari Tour Diary, Swaziland and Sodwana By: | 2012-04-19
The Kingdom of Swaziland is our next stop and the Hlane Royal National Park, renowned for its rhinos. We arrive in the mid afternoon in time for a few lazy hours spent sitting by the waterhole drinking cold beers and taking in the utter peace of this wilderness. Hippos laugh gently from the water, impala walk lazily past us on their way to drink and the odd rhino strolls down to the water’s edge.
That night we gather around a large fire for a traditional Swazi tribal dance show. The dancers arrive in their red sarongs, animal skins and beads and set up drums around the fireplace. The beating begins and a low singing starts amongst the women. The men start to stamp their feet on the ground and the crescendo builds until the large group of men and women launch into the first of their war dances. Legs are flung up high, whistles are blown, drums are beaten and traditional songs are chanted as the dancers move around the fire. The finale calls for volunteers to join and the women of our group are shown up as the boys leap to their feet and throw themselves into their versions of the tribal dances with gusto and much amusement.
|Swaziland Cultural Dancing|
That night we lie in our tents on this last night of camping on tour, and listen to the roars of the lions in the park as they patrol their territorial boundaries. These roars carry through the night air portraying power and might. It’s an awesome sound that reverberates throughout the camp and is experienced rather than simply heard.
The next morning we are up for an early morning game drive and rhino walk. We head out of the camp and are treated to the morning activities of zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, jackals and more. When we see 2 rhino grazing gently in an open grass area our ranger turns the engine of our vehicle off and invites us to walk close to these magnificent creatures with their long horns. It’s a humbling experience to be so close to such an animal.
|Rhinos Grazing in Swaziland|
Back to camp for a well earned breakfast before we head out to South Africa and our next diving destination, Sodwana Bay.
Our Sodwana diving day begins with a boat journey along the back line of the waves looking for any surface activity. We are rewarded with a pod of dolphins surfing in the large breakers and with excitement we jump off the boat to join them. They play around us in the shallow waters enjoying us as much we enjoy them. Our dive on 7 Mile is a relaxed 30m cruise along the reef with large Potato Cod, Black Tip Reef Sharks, schooling Banner-fish, Yellow Snapper and Angelfish. Our afternoon dive on Stringer brings us Grey Reef Sharks and a host of smaller finds such as anemone shrimps, nudibranchs, Spanish dancers and paper-fish. The boat ride home after two great dives was finished off perfectly with a manta ray cruising along the surface who was perfectly happy to be joined by a group of enthusiastic photographers.
|Potato Cod on 7 Mile|
Dives to the coral intensive sites of Hot Spots and Anton’s the following day are a great way to finish our reef portion of this diving tour. Butterfly fish, Angle Fish, Parrot-fish and colourful Wrasse congregate in large numbers on these reefs and the dives are a chilled out and beautiful end to our stay in Sodwana.
From Sodwana we make our way south along the coast to Durban and then on to the famous Protea Banks, where we hope that the sharks will come out to play!