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Kingdom of Swaziland



Folks,

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!

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