Day 8 – At Last The Glass

Thursday.

Thank goodness it’s my last day the hostel. It’s my day off today and I’m just going to go out and a be tourist. I leave at 6AM and start hitchhiking. It’s not long before three Swazi girls pick me up. They think what I’m doing is absolutely hilarious. I get of at Motshane, or Motjane… I don’t know because the spelling is different everywhere I look. Anyway, from here I take a combi to Ngwenya which is only about 2 or 3 km away. It costs me six Emalangeni. I get off and walk the rest of the way to Ngwenya glass. Probably the most tourist-y place to go in Swaziland. It’s a factory where they recycle old broken glass and resell them as all sorts of glass ornaments, wine glasses and souvenirs. I’ve been here before but the glass factory was closed last time. There’s a balcony where you can stand and watch the glass blowers do their thing. Pretty interesting but damn hot, because the balcony overlooks the furnace which, at 1300°C, is enough to make even the ugliest person hot. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photographs inside though.

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After this I walk all the way up the mountain to see the old Ngwenya mine which are located in the Malolotja Nature Reserve. It’s an iron ore mine and the oldest mine in the world. Apparently the stone age people mined iron here to make spears, arrows and an assorment of other iron items. The sources differ but this happened anywhere between 44 000 and 41 000 BC. I guess they were tired off being called the “stone age people” so they started the “iron age”. Because you know… Stones are just sooo 45 000 BC.

I arrive at the gate and it’s 30 bucks entrance fee. I only have 30 bucks so the question arises. Should I pay my last money or rather use it for some food? Oh the hell with it, I pay and the guy takes me about another 5 km up the mountain. I get there and there’s a very small museum and a big hole in the ground. No one but me and him. What a let down. By now I’ve probably been walking 10 – 15 km in the scorching sun and just payed my last 30 bucks for a big hole… I can’t even see the hole properly because vegetation has taken over. Turns out it’s not even nearly what the Stone age dudes left behind. More people mined there 400 years ago and then in the 1960’s the Americans came with their big machines and dug out the entire mountain which is the hole you can see today. Not worth it in my opinion but maybe it would be cool if you’re into this kind of thing. The museum was the best part. Some pretty interesting stuff in here.

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The mine..

Now just another 15km back to the freeway where I should probably get a ride right? Wrong. I end up walking all the way back to Motshane which is about 5 km and from there I walked out towards Piggs Peak for about another 10 km before I get picked up. On the way I asked a guy if I can refill my water bottle at his tap. He says it’s safe to drink. Well it’s not. I spend the rest of the day on the toilet… At least I made it back to the hostel.

Anyway the woman who picked me up was a tax collecter. I’ve never been so happy to see the “Taxman” before. When I return to the hostel. I’ve acquired a new dorm mate… She’s from Boston, America and she’s traveling Southern Africa for 2 and half months. After all the Germans and Dutch that flocks Africa. It was good and unusual to meet an American for a change. We had a great chat. I told her about my travel plans and like most people I tell…. She thought I lost my mind. Anyway, it’s 20:30 and I’m off to bed.

Good night.

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