A car, a ferry, a taxi [that rear-ended a Porsche so we got…], an Uber, a shuttle, an airplane, another shuttle, another airplane, a bus, and a car. By land, air and sea, it took us just over 40 hours of travel to arrive in Swazi, and by the end, I asked the question: did we pick the single furthest destination possible?
At 10,405 miles from home, the answer is: essentially, yes. While it would be possible to add a few hundred kilometers by heading to the coast or even a few more by jumping over to Madagascar or Reunion, once you hit Mauritius, you’re technically headed closer to home once again.
And with so many miles between here and home, there’s bound to be a number of differences. Looking out my window now, I see only a handful of trees large enough to climb when I’m used to forests filled with trees so tall you can’t even see the tops. There are no squirrels bouncing around, just lizards climbing up my walls. The outlets still have three prongs, but they’re all three round and gigantic!
But there are also similarities and we’ve found ourselves settling in comfortably to our new home. We live on the property of Tsandza Weaving, just downhill from the home of our hosts, and only a few steps along the road from the weaving workshop, in a cozy outbuilding that was recently updated for us.
Nestled just south of the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and southwest of the city of Manzini, we’re perched on the slope of a hill and the view from our deck looks out over a valley carved out by a stream, then up steeply towards the mountains of the Ngwempisi Wilderness Area.
A large wall of windows with French doors marks the entry way and keeps a pleasant breeze flowing through, so even the 95° spring days don’t feel as hot as you’d imagine. Inside we have a comfy living space and a fully equipped kitchen, divided by a large countertop/peninsula/breakfast bar. Under the counter is shelving for food storage and we were pleasantly surprised during our first trip to the grocery store that many of our usual staples were readily available and we’ve been cooking dinner every night.
Down the hallway is our bedroom beautifully decorated with pillows, curtains and a throw from the weavers (we actually got to meet the women who made them!), along with a mosquito net over the bed to keep the creepies out at night. Beyond our bedroom is a bathroom and additional bedroom with a single bed, more than enough space for the two of us.
In the coming weeks, I’ll post more about the property and the nature around us, as well as about life in Swazi. This morning Jon and I joked that if we were a newspaper, he’d write the Business section and I’d be in charge of Lifestyle, Travel and Culture, so keep an eye out for additional updates coming shortly!