Swaziland is landlocked country of a similar flavor to Lesotho, with small roads, a blanket speed limit of 80Km/hr, which is completely ignored. There are two big towns, Manzini and the capital Mbabane, both of which are much nicer than Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. The road between them is now being upgraded, but was listed in the Guiness book of records as the most accident-prone anywhere. It has the Royal residences, all the big hotels, the (tiny, but good) Mlilwane game reserve, and the Why Not disco and strip bar. The traffic .. well, allowable blood alchohol levels are twice anywhere else, and the road is two, sometimes three lane, and where else do you need to go in Swaziland ?

There are lots of beautiful, intelligent, black women here.

I was suprised to find a very novel rural telephone system based on Radiotelephones and mountaintop repeater stations - all analog, using 400Mhz UHF for the repeaters and VHF for the handsets. It has an access point to the (post office) phone system, so you can phone the USA from anywhere in Swaziland (full coverage, but a small country) and you can phone the bush from the USA. Costs ? ~R2,000 for the handset, R90 / month fees, and a small increment over Swazi telecom phone rates. The owner of this private company, Glyn Jones, tells me that there is little interest in upgrading/privatising the phone system here, as the corrupt officialdom (all related to royalty, as is most of the government) is more interested in keeping the status quo.

I camped for a couple of nights between the two main towns, at a campsite, and am now staying at a backpacker lodge in Mbabane. I am typing this from an Internet Cafe here in town, run by UUNET/Internet Africa. the word on the street is that Swazi telcom has plans to open their own Icafes around the country, but do not have the knowhow to do it.

Cheers, Andy!