Swaziland Country Guide

This Swaziland Country Travel Guide will tell you all you need to know about Swaziland. If you are more interested in events, attractions and things to do, click on the Swaziland Destination Guide and our local Swaziland Tour Ideas.

Check out the latest Swaziland features on YouTube.

Swaziland Country Travel Guide

Useful tourism information on this page includes:

 

Swaziland Visa requirements Top

Swaziland is visa-free for many countries of the world, however before travelling please check our page on Swaziland Visa Requirements - http://www.swazi.travel/swaziland-visa-requirements - which lists all those countries that are either exempt from visas or requiring visas.

We also offer information on where and how Swaziland visas can be obtained via the above mentioned link.

 

Swaziland Telephone Communication Top

The international dialling code for Swaziland is +268. Thereafter use the number required. There are no area codes of 0+'s used in Swaziland. Please note changes to numbers occurring in 2010 as listed further below.

To call internationally from within the country, dial 00 followed by the country code and phone number. Previously calls to South Africa were prefixed with 07+ and to Mozambique 06+, however as of the 1st Oct 2009 call calls out of Swaziland require 00+

Coin and card operated public payphones are available throughout most of the country, however much more useful is to buy a local SIM card for your mobile. Global roaming agreements exist with a limited number of international carriers. Check in advance with your relevant provider. The mobile network in Swaziland is MTN Swaziland, which has an impressive footprint covering almost every corner of the country.

Swaziland does have a number of active internet service providers, and internet cafes can be found in the major cities, towns, and in some hotels.

The postal service is run by a state-owned company (Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications - SPTC). Post offices can be found in all cities and towns and are usually open from 8.30am-4.30pm during the week, as well as 8am-11am on Saturdays.

Changes to telephone numbers in Swaziland (1st April 2010)

As of the 1st April 2010 all mobile/cell numbers in Swaziland will have a prefix of 7+. Previously all MTN cell numbers in Swaziland would have started with 6 eg: 6020261. The number will now be 76020261.

More changes

All landline numbers will now be prefixed with a 2+.

So 22xx-xxxx for numbers in the Shiselwini district

and 23xx-xxxx for numbers in the Lubombo region

24xx-xxxx for numbers in Hhohho district

and 25xx-xxxx for Manzini numbers.

 

 

Currency/Money Top

The unit of currency is the lilangeni (e - plural is emalangeni), which is divided into 100 cents. It has the same value as the South African rand, which is also generally accepted throughout the country.

Nedbank, First National Bank and Standard Bank (all linked to South Africa) have branches throughout Swaziland. Branch times are usually 08:30 - 15:30, Monday to Friday and on Saturdays 08:30 - 11:00. Traveller's cheques can be cashed in banks and most hotels. Tipping is generally expected, and is to the tune of 10 percent.

To check the current exchange rate, take a look at OANDA.com - The Currency Site.

Climate/Weather Top

Swaziland has hot summers and mild winters. October is the hottest month. Rain falls in the summer, from December to April, making the countryside green and lush. There are two major Swazi rituals that are worth seeing: Ncwala (first fruit ceremony) which starts the rainy season in late December or early January (according to the moon), and Umhlanga (Reed Dance) which occurs in late August or early September.

Click here to view the current weather conditions in Swaziland.

Embassy Locations Top

To view a list of Swaziland embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies within Swaziland, check out this link to http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

Keep fit - join a local time trial Top

Away from home, but still wanting to keep fit ?  Join a local Swaziland running or mountain-biking time trial and rub shoulders with local fitness enthusiasts. 

 

Swazi Slojo's 5km Running Time Trial

Every Tuesday night. Starting outside the Ezulwini Sun Hotel.

17h00 winter, 17h30 summer.

No fees or membership required. Just come join in.

 

Swazi Trails MTB Mid-weeker

18.2km off-road MTB route in the Ezulwini-Lobamba area

17h15/17h30 outside Mantenga Craft & Lifestyle Centre in Ezulwini.

Every Wednesday night from October to April.

Helmets compulsory. Unmarked route. An odometer-based route description is available at the start. Flashing light advised for early and late months in season.

No fees or payments - all welcome to join in.

Language Top

Siswati is the main language of Swaziland, although English is also widely spoken, even in rural areas, and is the official language for business. Siswati is similar to Zulu.

Public Holidays Top

Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Swaziland.

Alternatively use the following guide to Swazi Public Holidays:

2010

1 January -  New Year's Day. 
2 April - Good Friday. 
5 April -  Easter Monday. 
19 April -  Birthday of King Mswati III. 
25 April - National Flag Day. 
1 May - Labour Day. 
21 May - Ascension Day.
22 July - Birthday of the Late King Sobhuza.
Late August/early September* - Umhlanga, Reed Dance Day.
6 September - Somhlolo Day (Independence Day).
Late December/early January* - Incwala Ceremony.
25 December - Christmas Day.
26 December -  Boxing Day.

Note

* The annual dates of the Umhlanga and Incwala ceremonies vary from year to year and are announced at relatively short notice (one to two weeks).

Religion Top

Approximate breakdowns of religious denominations are: Zionist 40% (a mix of and Indigenous Ancestral Worship and Christianity), Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 10%, and Other 30% (including Jewish, Mormon, Anglican, Methodist, and Bahai).

Geography Top

Although it has some moderately sloping plains, you will find the vast majority of the terrain mountainous and hilly, especially along the borders of the country to the east and west. The north-west of the country actually boasts some small patches of montane rainforest.

History Top

In terms of history, it is hard to go past Swaziland. There have been human remains and artefacts of early hunter-gatherers dating back 100,000 years. Agricultural evidence has been discovered from around the 4th century. Various tribes and chiefs ruled the area until King Sobhuza I founded the Swazi kingdom during at the start of the 19th century. After this time is when white people began to inhabit the region. At the conclusion of the 2nd Boer War which ended in 1902, it became a protectorate of the British, gaining independence in 1968, and returning to a ruling monarchy.

Location Top

Swaziland is small landlocked country that lies in Southern Africa, sharing borders with Mozambique (105 kilometres) and South Africa (430 kilometres).

To view a map of Swaziland, check out WorldAtlas.com.

Passport requirements Top

You must ensure your passport is valid for at least one month past your intended date of departure. Your passport will be stamped on your arrival in Swaziland.

Nationals of most countries (including United Kingdom, USA, Australia, Canada, and EU countries) do not require a visa to visit Swaziland.  A tourist or business traveller may visit Swaziland for up to 30 days, with an extension of a further 30 days possible through application at the Ministry of Home Affairs. If staying longer than 60 days, then an application for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) is required.

The Ministry of Home Affairs can be found in Mbabane:

Postal Address: 

Ministry of Home Affairs
P. O. Box 432
Mbabane
Swaziland

Physical Address: 

Ministry of Home Affairs
Inter-Ministerial Office Block
Ministry of Home Affairs &  Ministry of Justice Building 
Mhlambanyatsi Road
Mbabane

Telephone Number: 

(+268) 2404 2941/5
(+268) 24045880/1


FAX Number:  (+268) 25514060

Email: fakudzee@gov.sz

 

See our Swaziland list of visa requiring countries and visa excempt countries further below under "Visas"

Note: please that requirements do change from time to time and that it is your responsibility to ensure you check all Swaziland visa and passport information, as well as entry requirements with your relevant consulate prior to travel. Our consultants at Swazi.travel are available to assist when needed.

US citizens that need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, canApply for a New US Passport here.

People Top

Almost 90 percent of the population in Swaziland is indigenous Swazi people, who have managed to retain their culture. However, they have begun to be diluted under the influences of foreign cultures. The rest of the population are made up of Zulu, Tsongo-Shangaan and European people. The Swazi people have a dual monarchy approach in that there is a Queen Mother and a King who rule in unison. The succession to the throne is not hereditary.

Health Top

Swaziland has the unfortunate and sad label as the country with the world's highest rate of HIV infection, recently passing Botswana. It goes without saying that you should not have unprotected sex anywhere, but especially not in Swaziland.

It also has the surprising claim of having one of the highest rates of lightning strikes per capita in the world, so take care during storms!

There have been instances of malaria and bilharzias in some parts of Swaziland, but be sure to see your doctor before traveling to ensure the most current and up to date health information.

Tourist Information Offices Top

Swaziland Tourist Information can be accessed at the following local offices:

 

Ngwenya Tourist Information Office

Ngwenya border post - main buiding

tel #: +268 24424206

office hours: mon-thurs 08h00-16h45, Fri 08h00 - 16h00, Sat 09h00 - 13h00

 

Mbabane Tourist  Information Office

Cooper Centre office #2, Sozisa Road.

tel #: +268 24042531

office hours: mon-thurs 08h00-16h45 Fri 08h00 - 16h00 Sat 09h00 - 13h00 

 

Ezulwini Tourist Information Office

Mantenga Craft & Lifestyle Centre

tel #: +268 24162180

office hours: 08h00-17h00 7 days a week

After hours assistance: +268 76020261

 

Electricity Top

Swaziland runs off a 230V/ 50Hz system with power supplied by the state-owned Swaziland Electricity Compnay (SEC). Most power is sourced from the South African grid, however agreements do exist with Mozambique for power supply as well.

A small proportion of Swaziland's electrity is generated from hydro power sources at Maguga Dam, Ezulwini, Dwaleni and Magaduza.

General Information Top

Population: 953 000 people (2007 census) - population growth stagnant
Total Area: 17,363 square kilometres
Capital: Mbabane 
Time Zone: Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +2 hours

To view the current time in Mbabane, visit TimeAndDate.com.