Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adventures in Malelane

The weekend before last, my mom, dad and I headed off to Malelane in Mpumalanga for my cousin Natalie's 21st birthday party.  We left at 5:30 expecting a trip roughly 8 hours long but boy were we mistaken!  Turns out the easiest way to get to Malelane is to go through Swaziland so our borrowed Garmin happily sent us toward the border.  Not knowing the area very well, we blindly went along until we saw the big fat Border Control sign...oops.  So we turned back, found a map and continued on our way.  Only to get lost again...this time because of the poorly marked Mpumalanga roads!  What a mission!! Luckily we weren't in a hurry and despite some abuse hurled at the Garmin and the lack of road signs, we all managed to keep our sense of humour.

When we finally arrived in Malelane I was quite surprised.  I have never been to that part of the country before and I was surprised by how much it looked like home.  There are sugar cane fields everywhere!!  We stayed in an awesome guesthouse in the old sugar mill town.  Its called Mhlati Guest Cottages and if you are ever looking for a place to stay that side of the world, I highly recommend them.  Plus their pets are awesome!

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at a place called Hamiltons.  I can honestly say it was the yummiest breakfast I've had in ages.  My mom and I both had poached egg on Italian bread (I don't remember the name) with mushrooms, bacon, rocket and parmesan.  Yum!

The venue my cousin chose for her 21st was amazing.  Its a huge, thatched area that looks right into the Kruger Park and over the Crocodile River.  On Saturday morning we went to help set up and in the few hours we were there I saw buck, hippo and elephants.  And the worlds tiniest croc!

The party itself was awesome!  Natalie's 21st is actually only on the 25th of December but, as you can imagine, that date doesn't lend itself to big birthday parties.  Her theme was Christmas in July and the decor was fantastic.  Sadly, I left my camera at home and my iphone doesn't take the best nighttime pics so the only photo I got was of the bonfire:

On the Sunday we were lucky enough to go into a near by game farm to look at some animals.  The zebras were so used to people that they pretty much came right up to us.

There were tons of Rhino's but as a deterrent to poachers, none of them had horns.  They are such beautiful animals and they just don't look the same without the horns.  Its sad that dehorning them is what they have to resort to keep them alive.

It was a really nice weekend.  I don't see a lot of my cousins so it was great to spend some time with them.  They have both turned into such awesome people and I love them to bits.  It was also really great to spend time with my folks like that.  There are big changes in store for my family and any time that we get to be together like that is really invaluable!

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