Cheeky Monkeys

Trip Start Nov 24, 2008
Trip End Oct 21, 2009

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Flag of Swaziland  ,
Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Wednesday morning we had to be up early as the Baz Bus was due to pick us up at 8.30am. The Baz Bus is a hop on/hop off tour bus that travels from Jo'Burg to Cape Town. We found it the cheapest and least hassled way of traveling in South Africa. We had a fair bit to go to Swaziland with estimated time of arrival 5pm. We stopped a couple of times in the morning for bathroom and refreshment breaks and reached the first official stop in Nelspruit at about 2.30pm. There were quite a few people who were due to get off the bus and it seemed even more waiting to get on. The bus is mini bus style with 19 passenger seats. The passengers getting on were all American and later I found out that they were traveling through 11 countries for 11 months on Christian missionary work. They were all about 20 I would guess. It turned out that there were two people left without seats. The Americans were actually pretty cool with it and insisted it was no problem to sit on the floor but the bus driver was having none of it in case he got caught and fined by the police.

It turns out that two of the guys who had got on the bus from the same hostel as us in Jo'burg had booked to go to Swaziland but the office had messed up and booked them off at Nelspruit. I told them that if it were me I'd fight my corner as it wasn't their mistake. Unfortunately they haven't heard of customer service in South Africa and insisted that the customers were wrong. I tried ringing the hostel where we all booked our tickets to see if they could help. After an hour and a half of us all sitting there with the two lads refusing to get off the bus everyone was starting to get really aggravated. I got off the bus to stretch my legs and this so called "Christian" missionary had a go at me for trying to help them. What a hypocrite! It turns out they all were in the end as some turned pretty nasty after a while. I won't even comment on their manners. Finally after two hours of negotiations going nowhere the lads gave in and got off the bus. I felt so sorry for them as they had booked hostels in advance and it meant they were stuck in this random town for an extra 4 days.

After two more hours of driving we arrived at the Swazi border and after a quick bit of paper work and another hour of driving we arrived to our hostel. We said goodbye to the two faced hypocrites and checked into our hostel. I was feeling a little stuffed up going to bed and when I woke up the next morning I had a full blown cold. We went to the supermarket to get some supplies and by the time we got back all I was fit for was bed. I pretty much just stayed in bed for two full days only getting up to eat an have hot drinks. It was a pretty bad cold and I had a fever and aches. While I slept for two days Alan read his book and looked after me. On the third day I was feeling a bit better so we decided to go visit the Swazi Cultural Village and Mantenga Waterfalls. We had no transport so we walked the two kilometres to the village and then a further 800m climb to the falls. It was pretty warm out and I was exhausted by the time we got there since I still wasn't feeling 100%. The climb to the falls was well worth it. They were really beautiful. Randomly there were two armed guards walking around the falls with shot guns. I never found out why?

We went for a bit of lunch in the village restaurant hoping to try something traditional but all we could have were sandwiches. While we were sitting there digesting our lunch a whole load of monkeys started running around nearby. We learned what the phrase "Cheeky Monkey" meant as they took turns trying to steal food from the buffet table organised for a tour group who arrived after us. It was pretty funny to see them running around and checking out the best route to the food before being spotted. After lunch we got a tour around the village and learned more about Swazi culture. A swazi man could marry as many women as he wanted as long as he could afford it. A virgin bride was worth 17 cows. The men married at about 30 while women married at 18. There were many more interesting facts. We also learned more about the King of Swaziland who can marry as much as he likes. The last King had 100 wives and 600 children. The next King is chosen under the following rules...He must be the youngest of the Kings sons who is also the only child from that mother. After the tour we watched a tribal performance. It was really cool. We were even invited to join in the dancing. I got given a stick to wave around while I danced and basically we all just looked ridiculous!

That night we packed our bags and then sat around a bonfire while someone played the guitar and sang some local and some known songs. We had an early night though as the Baz Bus was due to pick us up early the following morning.
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