South Africa - Spring 2006 travel blog




typical town scene


Our route to Krueger National Park takes us through the kingdom of Swaziland today. While we were in the internet cafe last night, Ken heard a radio report about riots and the border being closed between South Africa and Swaziland. Since the internet was at his fingertips, he printed a current news article which indicated that political protests, which are illegal in Swaziland, had taken place right across the border in South Africa. Understandably the South Africans, who did not want more protests on their soil, closed the border crossing so no additional protesters could enter their country. We shared this information with our tour leader who left unusually early this morning to make sure our planned itinerary was still doable. We decided not to share the news with our fellow travelers since there was nothing they could do about it but worry, and I was already taking care of that for all concerned.

Today is Good Friday and many South Africans are heading toward Krueger themselves. Our wagon master pointed out the last town in South Africa where we could reliably refuel and we all dutifully pulled off there. After the first few rigs filled up, the station ran out of diesel and sent us into town. The station there had diesel, but did not have electricity. We were assured that a diesel truck was on the way in ten minutes, but in Africa ten minutes could mean ten hours. We hung around for a while and then gave up and headed to the border.

The line for passport check at the border was quite long, filled with Easter holiday goers, but within an hour all of us were in the Kingdom of Swaziland. The protests had taken place in the north where we will leave the country tomorrow, so hopefully all will have calmed down by then. We had read that these folks in Swaziland are much poorer than the South Africans, but this was not apparent from our drive. We are camped in a game reserve. We have seen tons of them during our trip. Private game reserves obtain animals to be viewed and enjoyed and take tourists around their property to see them. We are within one hundred yards of he local crocodile, which easily is twenty feet long. Lions are being bred here and they seem to be enjoying the experience immensely, judging by all the groans and screams we can hear from the enclosure on the other side of our campground.

Even though it feels like we are nowhere, we enjoyed another wonderful braai (barbecue) and local culture show. Like the other shows we have enjoyed, this one was very energetic with lots of high kicking and brandishing of weapons. This was the first culture show we have seen that included bare breasted young women. Unfortunately for our men in the audience, the show started at sunset and it was so dark, not much could be seen.

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