On the Bus to Swaziland

Well, somewhere along the course of time a bus turned into a SUV, with me as the only passenger. Hey, no protest here 🙂 Needless to say it made my ride from the Umhlanga pick-up in Durban to Ezulwini Valley in Swaziland a very smooth, 6 hour one. When I can, meaning time and money allow, I try to travel overland in some capacity, rather than flying. You get to see so much more of the country you’re visiting. This time not so much the case. Honestly, it was quite an uneventful trip. We passed through some villages, and a game reserve – saw a few animals roadside. Passed through one of the biggest cities in Swaziland too, Manzini, so got to have a quick look. Stopped for refreshments at one point – no complementary food as stated when booking, but no biggie for me. Crossing the border between South Africa and Swaziland was no hassle at all. Wifi works on the South African side. We got a fine! Police waved us over. After a discussion the driver had to accept the fine, but told me he wouldn’t pay cash on the spot, as the money would never reach the government… One thing that was exciting though, was I got to witness the burning of sugar cane. It is done to make it easier to cut the canes. Also it is done to remove any dangerous animals, like snakes, hiding in there, so the workers won’t get hurt. But of course all the animals come running out. Some of them are caught by the men waiting outside the burning area – dinner time…

I went with SiyeSwatni TransMagnific (goswaziland.co.sz). After I had booked my ticket(s), I read mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, but I was very happy with what I got. When booking tickets online, it is best to use whatever Internet browser they recommend on their site, Safari definitely not a good tool for this. They answer e-mails, but if in a rush, calling is the best. I rarely do, for any parts of my travels, but I decided to call the day before departure to confirm that 1) everything was ok with my ticket, and 2) the pick-up point was in fact the McDonald’s at the Gateway shopping mall, and not the one next to the mall. A good thing I did, as it turned out the McDonald’s they stated they’d pick med up from, was not the one they meant… When I got to the pick-up point the next day, the driver had been waiting for me for several hours. Customer service had tried to get hold of me, to let me know that I could leave earlier if I wanted to. Only problem was that the e-mail took two hours to reach my inbox. Bummer!

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