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Swaziland Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Kingdom of Swaziland
Capital City: Mbabane
Language Spoken: English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Swaziland Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

26 30 S, 31 30 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Great Usutu River 21 m highest point: Emlembe 1,862 m

Land boundaries

total: 535 km border countries: Mozambique 105 km, South Africa 430 km

Natural hazards

drought

Natural resources

asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower, forests, small gold and diamond deposits, quarry stone, and talc

Land use

arable land: 10.25% permanent crops: 0.81% other: 88.94% (2005)

Environmental current issues

limited supplies of potable water; wildlife populations being depleted because of excessive hunting; overgrazing; soil degradation; soil erosion

Climate

Due to the variations in altitude the weather is changeable. Except in the lowland, it is rarely uncomfortably hot and nowhere very cold, although frosts occasionally occur in the Highveld which has a wetter, temperate climate. The Middleveld and Lubombo are drier and subtropical with most rain from October to March.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+2 note: Lobamba (royal and legislative capital)

Population

1,136,334 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.7% (male 233,169/female 229,103) 15-64 years: 55.8% (male 303,260/female 330,460) 65 years and over: 3.6% (male 16,071/female 24,271) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 18.5 years male: 17.8 years female: 19.2 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.23% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

27.41 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

29.74 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 32.62 years male: 32.1 years female: 33.17 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.53 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Lightweight suits are generally expected for business. Appointments are necessary and business cards are exchanged. English is widely spoken in business circles. Some Swazis may say "yes" merely out of politeness. Traditionally decisions are made communally, not individually. Standing against the majority is not easy. In making business deals with Swazi partners, bargaining is common and expected. Office hours are 0800-1300 and 1400-1645 Monday to Friday.

Crime

Crime remains a serious concern, and is the most serious threat to expatriate visitors and residents in Swaziland. Incidents of petty crime and, occasionally, violent crime, are most prevalent in the capital city of Mbabane and Swaziland's urban industrial center, Manzini. However, crime affects most other urban and rural areas as well. Swaziland is experiencing a serious crime problem that is recognized as such by both the public and the government. While urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, daytime attacks are not unknown. The presence of other people in the area should not be misinterpreted as an indication of safety. Many crime victims report being assaulted and robbed in the presence of witnesses. Travelers are cautioned not to expect assistance from bystanders to deter or respond to criminal attacks. Pedestrians are advised not to wear excessive jewelry or carry expensive items. All visitors are cautioned to be particularly vigilant when using ATM machines and should not display large sums of cash. Residential security is a significant concern for most residents of Swaziland. Security features, including lighting, window grills, alarm systems and uniformed guards are considered essential for ensuring the safety of residents. Burglaries and home invasions occur with alarming regularity. These criminals rarely operate singly, and are often armed. Auto theft, including carjackings, occur in both urban and rural areas. All types of vehicles are targeted, but there is a slightly higher rate of reported thefts of ubiquitous Toyotas and of four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles. The use of gearshift locks and/or steering wheel locks for parked vehicles is highly recommended.

Hotels

There are some good hotels in Swaziland, some of international standard, but it is necessary to book well in advance. There are also smaller motels and inns.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 268. Outgoing international calls must go through the international operator. Public telephones are available. Some hotels have fax facilities. Post office hours: 0800-1300 and 1400-1700 Monday to Friday, 0800-1100 Saturday.

Electricity

is a 220 volts AC, 50Hz. 15-amp round pin plugs are in use. Electricity 220/30 volts AC, ord=adDateTimeStamp;url=adCountryStamp;document.write(''); 50Hz; 15-amp round pin plugs are in use.

Plug Types

M

Food And Dining

Restaurants are found mainly in the larger centers and at hotels. Most serve international cuisine: Greek, Hungarian and Indian food is available. Food stalls in the local markets sell traditional Swazi meat stew and maize meal or stamped mealies and roasted corn on the cob (in season). There is a good selection of spirits, beers and wines. Traditional Swazi beer can be tasted in rural areas. There are no formal licensing hours.
Tipping:
10 to 15 per cent of the bill is customary in restaurants and hotels.
Nightlife

In the main centers of Mbabane and Ezulwini Valley, there are nightclubs and discos, some with live music and cabaret. The main attraction in Ezulwini Valley is the casino at the Royal Swazi Hotel. There is also a cinema there.

Entry departure requirements

* Please see visa section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months upon entry required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following:
(a) 1. nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan and the USA for stays of up to two months;
(b) 2. nationals of the EU for stays of up to two months* (except nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia who do require a visa);
(c) nationals of Commonwealth countries for stays of up to two months (except nationals of Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh, Belize, Brunei, Cameroon, Dominica, India, Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tuvalu and Vanuatu who do require a visa);
(d) nationals of Iceland, Israel, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Turkey, Uruguay and Zimbabwe for stays of up to two months.

Note

* 3. Nationals of Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Portugal ca also obtain a visa free of charge upon arrival and may remain in Swaziland longer than two months, at the discretion of the Immigration department. Nationals of the UK may also remain in Swaziland for an undisclosed amount of time.

Types of visa and cost

Single-entry: US$27 Multiple-entry: US$41 (three months); US$65 (six months); US$100 (nine months); US$103 (12 months).

Note

Transit passengers should consult their carrying company when making reservations for up-to-date advice on whether a visa is required.

Validity

Three to six months from date of issue for stays of up to two months each. Applications for extensions should be submitted to the Chief Immigration Officer in Swaziland.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Application form. (b) Two passport-size photos. (c) Fee. (d) Valid passport. (e) Proof of means of support during stay. (f) Letter on headed paper confirming that the visitor holds return or onward tickets. (g) For all visitors except tourists, a letter of invitation from a Swazi national or for business trips, a letter from applicant's company giving details of the business and confirming the financial responsibility for the applicant.

Working days required

One or two unless authorization is required, in which case the application could take several weeks.

Temporary residence

Apply to Chief Immigration Officer if staying longer than two months in Swaziland.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

E20; children under three years or age and direct transit passengers are exempt.

Embassies

Kingdom of Swaziland High Commission in the UK

20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB, UK
Tel: (020) 7630 6611.
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 0900-1630, Fri 0900-1600 (by appointment only).

Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland in the USA

1712 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tel: (202) 234 5002.
E-mail: [email protected]
Most visits to Swaziland are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Travelers are advised not to drive at night along the N4 and other isolated roads, as there is a risk of being hijacked, and livestock and unlit, parked vehicles pose additional hazards.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/swaziland

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Swaziland.html

Currency

Lilangeni (SZL) = 100 cents. The plural of Lilangeni is Emalangeni. Notes are in denominations of SZL200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of SZL5, 2 and 1, and 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. The South African Rand is also accepted as legal tender (E1 = 1 Rand) although coins are not accepted.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of foreign and local currency is unrestricted.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1430, Sat 0830-1100.

Currency exchange

Visitors are advised to exchange Emalangeni back into their own currency before leaving Swaziland.

Credit cards

American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other facilities which may be available.

Travellers cheques

Widely accepted. Several banks will exchange travelers cheques, but to avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take them in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Bhunya453+ 4 digits
Big Bend364+ 4 digits
Hlathikulu217+ 4 digits
Hluthi227+ 4 digits
Lobamba416+ 4 digits
Ludzeludze548+ 4 digits
Mahamba237+ 4 digits
Mahwalala472+ 4 digits
Malkerns528+ 4 digits
Mankayane538+ 4 digits
Manzini506+ 4 digits
Maphiveni373+ 4 digits
Matsapha518+ 4 digits
Mbabane406+ 4 digits
Mhlambanyatsi467+ 4 digits
Mhlume313+ 4 digits
Mpaka333+ 4 digits
Ngwenya442+ 4 digits
Nhlangano207+ 4 digits
Nsoko303+ 4 digits
Pigg's Peak437+ 4 digits
Sidwashini422+ 4 digits
Simunye383+ 4 digits
Siphocosini482+ 4 digits
Siphofaneni344+ 4 digits
Siteki343+ 4 digits
Tshaneni323+ 4 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Reasonable dental care is available in the capital - Mbabane. Avoid treatment elsewhere as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed

Medication Availability

Supplies of international medications, mainly from South Africa are generally available from both the hospitals and private pharmacies in Swaziland

Blood supplies

Local blood supplies should be considered as unsafe, unless they are marked as having been supplied by the Blood Transfusion Service of South Africa

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are limited throughout Swaziland. The Mbabane Clinic in the capital, though small, is well-equipped and well-staffed for minor procedures. For advanced care, foreigners often choose to go to South Africa where up-to-date facilities and specialists may be found. A helipad is available at the Mbabane Clinic, or medical evacuation via fixed-wing aircraft is available from Matsapha airport. Most prescription drugs are available or may be imported from South Africa.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Snakes, including poisonous species, are common in Swaziland, especially in the bushveld. (The South African Institute for Medical Research is a major supplier of anti-venom for Southern Africa.) Heavy mist, which blankets Mbabane and other places in the highveld several months a year, can make driving hazardous. The wet, murky weather also tends to aggravate respiratory conditions.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: unlikely to be a major health problem for the traveler (with the exception of malaria as noted). Plague - occurs Relapsing fever - occurs Rift Valley fever - occurs Tick-bite fever - occurs Typhus - occurs (mainly tick-borne) Food-borne and water-borne illness: these diseases are common in some areas, particularly amoebiasis and the typhoid fevers. Cholera - occurs Hepatitis - occurs Schistosomiasis - prevalent in all streams, ponds and lakes below 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although no cases have been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends from May to October.

Entry requirements

Cholera: None. (Contrary to published requirements, the U.S. Embassy reports that proof of cholera vaccination is required for travelers arriving from infected areas; however, this policy may not be consistently enforced. Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) HospitalP.O. Box 14 Manzini

Media

Press: The English-language newspaper in Swaziland is The Times of Swaziland.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

 

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