Mahamba Gorge appears as a deep cleft in the rocky, aloe-studded ridge, where the Mkondvo river breaks through the mountainous border with South Africa. Here a local community project maintains attractive stone self-catering chalets, with a picnic area and information centre. Trails lead along the river and up over the cliffs into the gorge, where birdwatchers should look out for a colony of the rare southern bald ibis. Other birds include black eagles, while rock hyraxes – their prey – scurry among the boulders. The historic Mahamba area lies at the very south of the MR9, just short of the main south west road border with South Africa. It has Swaziland’s first church and an impressive river gorge, both reached along a dirt road just short of the border. The first Christian missionaries that came to Swaziland in 1844 were Wesleyans. They founded a mission school at Mahamba and gathered a small congregation. In 1912 a church was built on this spot, which today, carefully restored, still stands at the heart of the local Methodist community.