SO excited preparing for my Swaziland trip in just over a week’s time! I have found the best guide is the Lonely Planet Southern Africa one (it also covers other countries like Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and, of course, South Africa).
I can stay for 28 days without a visa so that’s easy and I have got £200 worth of South African rand which can be used in Swaziland. The local currency is called lilangeni (abbreviated to SZL) and unusally the plural is emalangeni! The current exchange rate is £1 = 12.06 emalangeni.
Have spent hours on the internet and found companies advertising trails difficult to contact and our email conversations seemed to have stopped (well, that was after I was enquiring about horse riding trails and I told them my weight…. They are probably trying to source a horse big enough to take me!) In our spare time, my friend Sharon and I would like to do some walking in the National Parks, horse riding (maybe an elephant? Oh, no, that’s India…), cycling, the canopy tour….(hope those wires will take my weight… Should I let them know?). The guides are all ecstatic about the white water rafting in the croc crafts….I was somewhat put off by the name of the boats, which only seem to take two, apparently there are crocs in the river although they are supposedly friendly ones….Maybe I can persuade Sharon to do that one and I will take the photos!
It may be the rainy season in which case I had better pack a mac! I have got my Malarone tablets as malaria could be an issue. Jabs all up todate, thank goodness! Lots of insect repellent, suncream, some long sleaved tops just in case mosquitoes a big problem, trainers for joining in the rugby coaching… maybe I will get Sharon to do that one too!
Of course, the main reason for going is to check out the exciting rugby coaching programme that Skrum runs there and we have included in our portfolio of volunteer placements abroad. We will be meeting all the key people on the ground, checking out the accommodation and food where the volunteers will stay, the office where they will all go for lunch, and accompany the coaches on their daily routine going round the schools and coaching rugby. I always love meeting all the kids – so friendly and smiley and all wanting their photo taken. There are so many details to go over to make sure we fully understand what Skrum do. In particular, their slogan is “Pass the Ball, not the Virus” and I am very keen to understand how they implement their health and educational programmes designed to help stop the spread of AIDS/HIV. Volunteers can currently go out for 28 days and learn the Skrum rugby coaching programme, coaching at all the local schools and take their Level 1 coaching certificate. The plan, soon, is to then send them on to other parts of Africa where rugby is not played, introduce it, train up local coaches for long-term sustainability and get the African kids to love rugby and teach them about AIDS prevention.
(Volunteer Vacations also has volunteer placements for sports coaching, teaching, orphanage work, building construction/renovation (India), health promotion, women’s empowerment (sewing) in South Africa, Kenya and India. Placements in India are suitable for families. Placements in India and South Africa are suitable for the residential element of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk 01483 331551; 07833 208 158; email@example.com