The border crossing into Swaziland was uneventful, and we drove the hour or so to the capital or Mbabane where we stocked up on supplies for Christmas. Until then, it really hadn't felt like the holidays, but the shopping centers in Mbabane buzzed with activity as people shopped and strolled and enjoyed the Saturday before Christmas. That Night Nick and Ronnie stayed at Backpackers with satellite TV so Nick could watch his beloved Middlesbrough, and I went to another lodge just down the street run by a couple form Pamplona Spain. It was great! They knew all about Swaziland, I was able to dust off my Espanol for a night, and have Tortilla.
The next day, we met up again and headed into the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary to Sondzela Backpackers where we'd spend 4 days over Christmas. This place had been recommended by a friend of Nick and Ronnie's who had travelled all over for almost 3 years. In all his travels, Sondzela was among his favorite places to stay, and so far in our travels, it was among our favorite as well. Set on a hill overlooking the Ezulwini valley, it was just a nice place to kick back and relax for a few days.
On Christmas Eve, my tent was visted not by Santa's Sleigh, but the resident Ostrich. I had been reading in my tent when I heard some scratching around the tent. I looked out the door, and saw the ostrich feet under the rain fly. She made her way around to the other side and actually poked her head into the tent. I finally hopped out myself and watched as she proceeded to step on the corner of my tent. By this time I had been joined by some Swaziland Peace Corps Volunteers who were also camping there. Fearing the birds huge talons might rip the nylon of the tent, we tried in vain to move it along by poking it with some sticks. Not only did it not move along, but it proceeded to plop down on the corner of the tent and lay an egg! After a few minutes rolling the egg around, it left and we picked it up. It was remarkably heavy and very warm to the touch. And so that's how it came to pass that the guests at Sondzela Backpackers were treated to Ostrich egg fritatta for Christmas morning ... God Bless us every one!