Mallory Primm
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Rhinos and Other Hlane Hightlights

June 16, 2009 @ 7:07 AM | Permalink

Yesterday I finally got the opportunity to check out Hlane Royal Nature Reserve. After driving for an hour through Manzini toward Siteki on a poorly sign-posted road, we finally turned onto the dirt road to the main camp in Hlane. We decided to take a drive in my old Fiat before the safari tour started. The first thing we saw was a momma and baby white rhino running through the bush. The proverbial “they” say that you can tell a black rhino from a white one by the way they treat their babies. Black rhinos, like many black women in Swaziland who tie their children to their back, will run ahead of their babies in the wild. On the other hand, white rhinos, like white women in Swaziland who hold their babies on their chest, will have their babies ahead of them.

Some of yesterdays Hlane Highlights include:

  1. Learning that lions’ balls hang backwards behind their legs rather than down between their legs. This not only looks odd, but causes them to pee backwards.

  2. Watching a herd of prehistoric white rhinos relax next to the watering hole while eating a tasty cheese and tomato sandwich.

  3. Seeing the most beautiful sunset on the drive home. It looked like the illustrators of South Park found Jesus and, instead of making paper cutouts of fowl mouthed elementary school students, decided to cut out black and blue layers of mountain and laid them on top of an electric purple sunset.

  4. Seeing a giante python slither behind a termite hill. We only saw a small segment of it but, judging by the thickness, it was a formidable snake!

  5. Watching a baby elephant sloshing through the verdant green ground crawlers of the muddy wateringhole surrounded by the dead dry grasses of Swaziland winter. Excitement added by the fact that the Big Momma elephant doesn’t appreciate anything coming close to her baby.

  6. Did I mention the rhinos? These amazingly large beasts were laying around in the dust and mud, docile and magestic. Apparently they can charge at forty kilometers an hour, but I can’t imagine anything being so important to get these lazy guys off their backs and out of the shade.

  7. My camera running out of batteries was also a highlight. Lets face it, the only reason to take photos while in a game park is to “prove” you were there and you were close to the animals to make your friends jealous. The pictures on the postcard they sell at the gift shop, which are taken my professionals with unlimited access and patience, are definitely better than anything I can take on my point and shoot digital camera. So by not even having the option of viewing the game reserve through the smudged screen of my digital camera, I actually enjoyed the park. I watched the wrinkles crease in an Old Man elephant’s skin; looked at lion prints and birds and piles of poop and all the fun things that don’t make great photos. I”ll Google-Image pictures of white rhinoceros when I get home. You can always find a good picture, but it’s the stories of the smell of rhino dung that count, that’s what you’re grandchildren will be impressed with when they have 3D PSPs loaded with Google Earth.

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A good lesson for us all

Nicolle OConnor on Country Western and other Music in Swaziland 2009-06-11

just wondering if you have published any results?

David Broska on Into the Field 2010-06-19
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