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Swaziland

Swaziland is a country in Southern Africa, landlocked by South Africa in its west and Mozambique in the east. Swaziland's absolute monarchy is one of the oldest in Africa.

Cities

  • Mbabane - capital
  • Lobamba - royal and legislative capital
  • Manzini - major business centre
  • Big Bend
  • Piggs Peak - in northern Swaziland, third city by size
  • Nhlangano - Capital of Shiselweni region and fourth city by size

Other destinations

  • Mkhaya Game Reserve
  • Hlane Royal National Park
  • Malolotja Nature Reserve
  • Mantenga Nature Reserve
  • Mlilwane Game Reserve
  • Mlawula Nature Reserve
  • Siteki

Understand

Swaziland, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, is one of the smallest countries in Africa and has a well-earned reputation for friendliness in Southern Africa. It also contains several moderately sized game parks and reserves, which are sponsored by the government and are popular tourist destinations.

Swaziland is named for Mswati II, who became king in 1839. The royal lineage can be traced back to the Dlamini clan. The population is divided roughly between Nguni, Sotho and Tsonga, the remainder being 3% white. The current king is Mswati III, son of Sobuza II who had about seventy wives. He rules jointly with Indlovukazi, the Queen Mother. The primary symbol of Swaziland is not what the West would typically associate with nationhood - flags or monuments - but the king himself. The relationship between king and people is demonstrated through the incwala, a ceremony lasting several weeks which focuses on traditional rule, unity of the state, primacy of agriculture, sacredness of land, fertility and potency. Mswati's relationship with his people has been made even more unique through the introduction of chastity decrees for the under-18s to combat the rise of AIDS. However, Mswati III broke the rule when he married a 17-year-old girl, his thirteenth wife, in 2005. Mswati III has come under further criticism for attempting to purchase a private plane during a period of persistent drought and famine. Dissent grew so vociferous that the media was banned from making disparaging remarks about the monarchy, and the plane in particular. In the third year of drought, further plans to build luxury palaces for his wives whilst his people starved led to mass criticism. In 2005, Mswati III signed the country's first constitution though, in effect, nothing has changed: opposition parties remain banned, and the King remains absolute monarch.

Swaziland's main exports are sugar, grown on plantations throughout Swaziland, soft drink concentrates, cotton, maize, tobacco, rice and wood pulp. Demand for asbestos, once a major export, has fallen greatly due to the exteme health risks associated with it. The land is badly overgrazed and overfarmed. This is particularly problematic as Swaziland suffers from persistent droughts. Unemployment hovers at around 25%. This figure is contributed to by inability to work as a result of AIDS.

Swazis build their huts depending on whether they are descended from Nguni or Sotho: Nguni huts are beehive in shape; Sotho huts have window frames and full doorways. Living space is roughly divided into three parts: living accommodation, animal housing and the 'great' hut, reserved for the spirits of the patrilineal ancestors. Each chief's wife has her own hut. Land is owned by local chiefs or the Crown; much land has been bought back for the nation and unclaimed spaces are used for grazing and collection of firewood. There is a growing class system due to the expansion of the middle classes. Social rank can be determined through the individual's relation to the head of their clan or to the royal family. In urban areas, fluency and proficiency in English is the main social delineator.

There are festivals and ceremonies throughout the year, the most notable being the King's Birthday on 19 April which is celebrated with a national 'day off' and local festivities, and the Reed (Umhlanga) Dance, a three day ceremony which takes place around August when thousands of maidens (virgins) congregate from all over Swaziland. The King is permitted to pick a new bride from their number.

Compared to other countries in the region, Swaziland is known for its civility and peacefulness, despite similar problems with poverty and one of the world's worst AIDS crises. As of November 2008 the total reported percentage of those with HIV was listed as 30%; this, of course, does not include those who have not yet been tested. The AIDS epidemic has broken up the traditional extended family unit, leaving many young children orphaned and fighting for survival.

Swaziland is divided into four administrative districts: Hhohho (northwest), Lubombo (east), Manzini (central-west), and Shiselweni (south).

History

Artifacts indicating human activity dating back to the early Stone Age 200,000 years ago have been found in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Prehistoric rock art paintings date from ca. 25,000 B.C. The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers. They were largely replaced by the Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations who hailed from the Great Lakes regions of Eastern Africa.

The autonomy of the Swaziland Nation was dictated by British rule of southern Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1881 the British government signed a convention recognizing Swazi independence. At the start of the Anglo Boer war, Britain placed Swaziland under its direct jurisdiction as a Protectorate. The Swaziland independence Constitution was promulgated by Britain in November 1963 in terms of which a legislative Council and an Executive Council were established. The first Legislative Council of Swaziland was constituted on 9 September 1964. Changes to the original constitution proposed by the Legislative Council were accepted by Britain and a new Constitution providing for a House of Assembly and Senate was drawn up. Elections under this Constitution were held in 1967. Since 1973, Swaziland has seen a quiet struggle between pro-multiparty activists and the monarchy. It gained independence from the UK in 1968.

Climate

Generally speaking, rain falls mostly during the summer months, often in the form of thunderstorms. Winter is the dry season. Annual rainfall is highest on the Highveld in the West, between 1000 and 2000mm depending on the year. The further East, the less rain, with the Lowveld recording 500 to 900mm per annum. Variations in temperature are also related to the altitude of the different regions. The Highveld temperature is temperate and, seldom, uncomfortably hot while the Lowveld may record temperatures around 40 degrees in summer.

Get in

Entry requirements

Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories do not need a visa for a stay of 30 days or less: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, East Timor, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

If you require a visa to enter Swaziland, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Swaziland diplomatic post. For example, the British embassies in Al Khobar[1], Amman[2], Belgrade[3], Budapest[4], Cairo[5], Guatemala City[6], Helsinki[7], Jeddah[8], Prague[9], Pristina[10], Rabat[11], Riga[12], Riyadh[13], Rome[14], Sofia[15], Tallinn[16], Vienna[17], Warsaw[18] and Zagreb[19] accept Swaziland visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Swaziland visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Swaziland require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Swaziland can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

By plane

The only international airport in Swaziland is Matsapha Airport, which lies about 1km north of Manzini, a few kilometres west of the highway linking Manzini with Mbabane. Airlink Swaziland [20] provides flights from Johannesburg (South Africa).

There is also a small car rental station at the airport and a snack shop. A hotspot has been installed, allowing users with WiFi and Wireless LAN-equipped computers or other devices to access the internet from anywhere in the building free of charge. Another international airport, called Sikhuphe, has been under construction for some time and is scheduled to become operational sometime in 2013.

By bus

Most public transport bus services arrive in Mbabane or Manzini. Smaller bus lines, or minibuses generally provide service to Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town in South Africa as well as Maputo in Mozambique.

Larger buses usually travel within the country and some stop at border crossings, where passengers must connect with an onward journey, unless a specific group booking is done to hire a big bus.

For scheduled road transport there is the Swaziland based siyeSwatini TransMagnific, which provides transport to and from Swaziland daily. Stops include the Johannesburg airport. The TransMagnific mini-buses are customised for added comfort and safety, unlike the public transport. The size of the minibus is a function of the number of bookings for that trip, so the bus might actually turn out to be painfully uncomfortable. They require that bookings and payments be done at least a day prior to travel so that your meal can be ordered and the selection for the movie can be determined for the approximately 5-hour trip. Meals, however, are arbitrarily distributed among the passengers -- some get a pack, others don't. If the driver crashes into another vehicle on the highway, expect a four-hour delay.

The South African Baz Bus, an independent line targeting backpackers, used to make regular stops via South Africa to various hostels and hotels in Swaziland. As of July 2016, they no longer do. When travelling into and out of South Africa to and from Swaziland, Baz Bus and TransMagnific are generally the safest option. All mini-buses into South Africa go directly to Johannesburg bus stations, which can be dangerous.

By car

Depending on season, the border crossings from South Africa to Swaziland can be crowded. The Ngwenya/Oshoek Border Post (on the N17/MR3 from Ermelo to Mbabane) tends to be full of people around long weekends and holidays, since it is the most popular border post. Other border posts, such as the one near Amsterdam (Nerston) and Jeppes Reef are a good alternative and easily reachable with normal 2x4s.

Mahamba border post near Piet Retief is handy when coming from south (Durban) or north-west (Johannesburg). Operations are rather quick. There is a 50 rand road toll.

There might be lengthy checks of your car and/or baggage at the South African border post when leaving Swaziland.

Coming from South Africa, check the Department of Home Affairs for border crossings to verify opening times.

Get around

Most travel in Swaziland is by either car or minibus.

Minibuses, called kombis, are prevalent, but can be confusing. Like similar modes of travel around the world such as the jitney, matatu or dolmus, these are small vans that accumulate as many travellers as possible while making their way along a general direction. In Swaziland, these vans are often driven by very young men, and most have assistants who estimate and collect fares, ask your destination, and make change.

As of Jan 2008, fares typically range from E5 (Swazi emlilanegeni) for trips around 5min to E10 for around 30min to E30 for longer trips. It is very, very unlikely to be over-charged.

Be prepared for crowded seats, loud radios, and sometimes reckless driving. The larger Sprinter vans are a safer and faster choice if available.

Minibuses can usually be flagged down along main roads. Larger towns usually serve as minibus hubs or connections. Major hubs include ManziniMbabane, Pigg's Peak, Nhlangano, Siteki, and Big Bend. Finding the correct bus can be tricky, so discreetly ask if you can't figure it out. The kombis typically have destinations written on the front bumpers. At a bus station (or bus rank), young men will yell out the destinations and are helpful in guiding you to the correct kombi, however, always double check with the passengers. You will be advised to watch your belongings, as such places, like all bus terminals worldwide, have disproportionally higher crime rates. Stay away from these bus ranks at night.

Travel is very difficult after dark. The only option is by taxi. If staying around Mbabane or Manzini, keep a couple cab driver's phone numbers on hand. Taxi drivers may overcharge.

Talk

English is the official language of business. It is advisable that travellers learn a little of the local language, SiSwati (also known as Swazi) which, in rural areas, is spoken almost exclusively.

See

The national parks and reserves are the most important sights in Swaziland and traditional culture and customs are still alive - just like in most of Africa.

Do

Buy

Money

The currency of Swaziland is called the lilangeni (plural: "emalangeni"), denoted by the symbol "L" for one, or "E" for more than one (ISO code: SZL). It is tied to the South African rand at par, as are the Namibian dollar and Lesotho loti.

Shops in Swaziland usually accept and make change for both currencies indiscriminately where banknotes are concerned, but not coins. However, this is not the case in South Africa, so if you are planning to visit South Africa also, you may prefer to request rand in exchange for emalangeni at banks in Mbabane or Manzini: proof of identity is required. It is impossible to exchange your emalangeni at Johannesburg Airport or in the UK. All Swazi vendors will take rand, but no South African vendors will take emalangeni.

Kombi operators in Swaziland do not take Rand coins.

Shopping

There are small stores where you can buy everything from Swazi foods to Swazi wooden sculptures and handmade bags.

Eat

Many Western foods are available in Swazi grocery stores, but traditional foods are still common, as is modern convenient food based on traditional ingredients.

Maize-based dishes are popular, and mealie or pap (similar to porridge) is a staple. Beans, groundnuts, pumpkin, avocado and sour milk are also common ingredients. Dried and cooked local meats, such as antelope (often called 'wild meat' by locals), are widely available at tourist restaurants.

"Chicken dust" is a cheap local bbq meal; basically chicken grilled in the open served with a salad and mealie. It is popular both with locals and absolutely delicious. Of course, take appropriate precautions as it is a street vendor food.

Sweet breads, vegetables and fruits are often available from roadside merchants. If you're craving pasta, imported olive oil, Nestle chocolate, Herbal Essences and Carlsberg, head over to the Hub, at Manzini: a huge Spar with everything you could need (at an appropriately inflated price). There are several coffee-shops and restaurants around the Hub, also: be aware that the lavatories are located separately, down the stairs, and you have to pay to use them. Manzini's bustling markets and local shops yield all kinds of interesting foodstuffs, along with the ubiquitous KFC.

Drink

Marula (made of fruits from the tree with the same name) is locally brewed during the marula season, fruits ripen between December and March. It may be difficult to find; ask locals as it is home-brewed.

There is a vibrant nightlife in Swaziland ranging from traditional dances to bars and nightclubs. If you're staying in Ezulwini, there are four bars at the Royal Swazi hotel. If you're in the Malkerns area, the House on Fire is extremely popular: local art, local and national DJs, an open-air setting and live acts.

Sleep

Swaziland is a small country and it is easy to get anywhere in the country during one day.

If you're watching the pennies, head to Veki's Guesthouse or Grifter's Backpackers in Mbabane, which costs around E120 per night for a bunk. It is unclear whether the latter one still exists. If you want to push the boat out, book a room at the Mountain Inn which has outstanding accommodation, facilities and leisure opportunities.

The most sought-after hotels in Swaziland tend to be located in Ezulwini Valley between the two major cities, Mbabane and Manzini. (Don't forget to pick up beautiful local crafts from the roadside stalls on the way.) With four bars, a restaurant, a casino, golf, swimming, tennis and 411 rooms and suites, the Royal Sun Swazi epitomises luxury. The Royal Villas, also found in Ezulwini, spread 56 rooms across 14 villas and are extremely luxurious, offering excellent food, atmosphere and leisure facilities. The Ezulwini sun offers excellent facilities, also, at mid-range prices. A budget option is Sundowners Backpackers, private rooms from around E200, dorms from E120 and camping from E70/night.

And, if you're heading down towards the Mozambique border, you'll find comfortable, well-appointed country clubs at Manananga, Mhlume and Simunye.

Learn

Stay safe

Swaziland has a much lower crime rate than other countries in the region. However, try to stay in locations where there are other people.

Hippopotamuses are found (rarely) in the country's rivers, and are one of the more dangerous animals you are likely to come across. They are actually quite fast animals, as well as being extremely strong and with large, powerful jaws. They often stay submerged in shallow water during the day, but come out at night to graze. They can be unpredictable, territorial and very protective of their young. Do not stand between a hippo and the water.

Crocodiles are a more common danger when swimming in rivers.

Swaziland also has one of the highest numbers of people struck by lightning per capita in the whole world and it is common to know (or know of) somebody who has been struck by lightning

Be careful when crossing any of Swaziland's nineteen border gates. It is forbidden to take meat into certain areas, and the soldiers have the right to search both you and your vehicle extensively. It is extremely inadvisable to stray into 'No-Man's Land', a 5km stretch of territory between Mozambique and Swaziland; several locals have been shot by soldiers guarding the edges of the respective territories.

Whilst physical violence is not prevalent (save on weekends when many may imbibe copious quantities of brandy or marula, a highly intoxicating alcoholic beverage), wandering around alone after dark is not advisable, particularly outside Mbabane and Manzini where there is little or no street lighting. Keep your money hidden and, if you are working or travelling in impoverished rural areas, do not eat expensive foods in front of the locals, particularly the children, who, especially if they are AIDS orphans and fed as part of the Sebenta school program, do not get to experience luxury items.

Roads outside of towns are mostly dirt. Roads in towns are heavily potholed. While Swazi main highways are generally in good repair, a four wheel drive is essential to see much of the interior, unless you wish to be stranded miles from anywhere, with a patchy telephone signal as mobile telephone masts are few and far between. Other drivers, particularly HGVs, often overtake without warning and without checking for oncoming traffic. 'Kombis', local minibuses which function as taxis, drive at a neck-or-nothing rate with more than a full quota of passengers.

Stay healthy

Swaziland has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world; nearly 1 in 3 adults are infected. Never have unprotected sexual intercourse. If you happen to find romance in Swaziland, insist on an HIV test before taking things further.

There are risks for bilharzia if you frequent infected streams, as well as seasonal risks for malaria in the North-East parts of Swaziland near Mozambique. Be sure to use mosquito nets and repellent where necessary.

Respect

Swazis are very loyal to the king and the royalty; be smart about what is said openly.

Swaziland is also predominantly Christian, and modesty in dress is encouraged.

Swazis adhere strongly to their historical traditions, which are widely practised today. Many who are suffering from an illness will consult a sangoma to determine its cause and an inyanga to prescribe a treatment. It is the height of disrespect to be disparaging towards these individuals or to refer to them as witch doctors.

Connect

Cellphone coverage is similar to South Africa, even in most nature reserves there is coverage (although it might be weak). There is only one wireless operator in Swaziland, namely MTN-Swazi. SIM cards from South Africa do not work here, unless it's MTN and roaming has been enabled. It's easy to buy a starter pack with an MTN-Swazi sim card pretty much at every gas station or grocery store. You do not need proof of residence or ID to get a pack.

Although there is coverage, the phone service itself is bad with many calls not connecting (or connecting to the wrong phone number), SMSes not arriving and international calling being more expensive than in South Africa.

Starter Pack sim cards expire within 30 days if not used, and that they cannot be used in South Africa.



Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime, including theft of money or personal property, occurs. Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure personal belongings and travel documents are secure. Violent crime is less prevalent but increasing. Armed carjackings, burglaries, car thefts and muggings have occurred, mostly in ManziniMbabane and rural areas. Avoid walking in these areas after dark. Do not pick up hitchhikers. You should view offers of roadside assistance with caution.

In 2013, there have been several reported incidents of carjackings in Mozambique, close to border crossings with Swaziland, by individuals impersonating police officers. Be aware that only officers from the Policia de Republica de Moçambique have the authority to establish checkpoints. Official checkpoints are always staffed by four officers and a clearly visible vehicle. Take precautions when being flagged at checkpoints.

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations periodically take place and can lead to violent clashes between state security forces and protestors. You are advised to carry appropriate identification, and to avoid large crowds and areas where demonstrations may occur. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Mass labour strikes have crippled the nation for several days at a time. The possibility of further labour and political unrest exists and could result in violence.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the left. Drivers often cross the median to avoid hazards, and by so doing can cause head-on collisions. Speeding is also a serious concern. National roads, including a new divided expressway between Mbabane and Manzini, are relatively good, but many others are unimproved dirt roads. Sidewalks are rare, and motorists share the roads with pedestrians and cyclists. Roaming livestock, abandoned unlit trailers and heavy vehicles pose hazards. 

Overland travel should be undertaken during daylight hours as most roads lack adequate lighting. Poor visibility is exacerbated by frequent fog conditions and severe storms, especially in the High Veld, close to Mbabane, and in forest regions near the South African border. Motorists should obtain comprehensive insurance, carry original vehicle registration documents, and ensure the vehicle is equipped with seat belts and a breakdown-warning triangle. There are car rental agencies at Matsapha International Airport.

There are 11 border entry posts with South Africa and two with Mozambique. Most operate between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Entering Swaziland from South Africa on the N4 via the Oshoek border should not be done after dark due to a risk of hijacking. You should exercise caution at the Oshoek border, where major road construction is under way and there is a risk of accidents. Consult local authorities for road conditions and schedules prior to cross-border travel. You should also review the Travel Advice for South Africa, since most travel to Swaziland involves transit through that country.

Public transportation

Avoid using buses and taxis, which are often poorly maintained and overloaded.

Avoid travelling by train if possible.

Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

The clinic in Mbabane offers very good primary medical care. More serious cases are evacuated to South Africa.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Serious crimes, including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, may lead to the death penalty.

Possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs may lead to large fines or imprisonment.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

Photography of government buildings and military installations is prohibited.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Culture

Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour. You should respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Money

The currency is the Lilangeni (SZL), but the South African rand (notes only) is also accepted and widely used. Most major hotels and some restaurants accept credit cards.

Climate

The rainy season extends from October to April. Some roads may become hazardous during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

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