April 24, 2019.

Getting pulled up by policemen twice in one day, in two different countries in Africa, is what I like to classify as ‘niche tourism.’

It went something like this:

“Get out of the car, bring your driver’s license and your cash.”

“How much?”

“60 rand.”

(Two cups of coffee….) “Okay.” I step onto the highway.

“….. So I suppose you’ve caught a few people speeding today then?”

“Yes, plus you.”

“Yup. Plus me.”

And THAT, my friends, is how you deal with a speeding ticket.

I had been in Swaziland all of about… oohhh….. six and a half minutes, when I was stung by a copper with his nose down a speed camera. I can pretty much guarantee a fair bit of that fine money wasn’t going to make it back to the police station. His cop mate  was standing pretty much in the middle of the dual carriage way, just waving the naughty speeders to the side. That was my second scolding from a police officer that day, (Good Friday).

The irony of my first infringement incident of the day made me laugh, (not to the policeman’s face, I was too busy tracking my way out of a ticket for dangerous driving..) About a couple of hours’ earlier than the Swaziland incident, while still in South Africa, I’d just drive through a dinky little town called Carolina. Upon leaving this town there was  this bakkie (ute/truck/pick-up) in front of me, going at crawling pace; a stack of chairs on the deck high enough to seat a small school. Wobbling everywhere, I decided to duck past, and yes admittedly it was a double white line as there was a bend in the road. As I nipped past, luck would have it there was a policeman in the line of traffic behind me. Lights on, he pulled me over.

‘Good afternoon officer…’ I apologised lots, even offering the line that I thought it was only ONE white line. He asked for my license, mumbling something about a ticket. Until he looked at my license. Well, it’s not everyday these guys see a NZ one. The whole admin ticket thing got slammed in the Too Hard Basket immediately, and he wished me a good day.

Back to Swaziland. A case of organised chaos as you enter this country; cows all over the road, immigration officers nibbling plates of fried chicken as they stamped the passports. Google Maps cut out as I crossed the border, so I relied on my (crappy) memory of directions of where the backpackers was. I subsequently ended up going through the back entrance to the Mlilwane Game Reserve, one better suited for a tractor. I took these directions from a guy at a petrol station; ‘Go back down the road you’ve just driven, and BEFORE you go past the house that’s burning down, turn left down the road…’ (there was actually a house burning down.) So once down the tractor road, I took the next set of directions from a security guard in the game reserve, who sent me BACK down that tractor road again, then up another kind of tractor road. Awesome wee place. Once the paperwork was sorted, a man at the boom bar with a shot gun slung over his shoulder let me through. When I said I was heading to the backpackers he asked for a lift. ‘Good as gold’ I said, as I waited for him to go back into the office and grab his Easter Eggs, (actually). In the car he got, shotgun still slung over his shoulder. He shoots poachers, sometimes naughty baboons, he told me this as we meandered past impala, eland, wildebeest, crocodile, zebra, and the list goes on. I did not ask him if he shoots speeding dangerous drivers. Easter weekend was about learning Swazi culture, sport, adventure, getting lost, and a little bit injuring myself.. (who needs cartilage in both shoulders anyway?)